Fat Photos

I’m heavier than most women I know, but I don’t shy away from the camera. If we’re connected through social media you know that I take selfies by myself and with friends. I share full body shots, and I’ve been known to rock photos in my swimsuit too. (See my Instagram account.)

Yesterday my long time friend, Tammy, posted about our favorite author’s article in Good Housekeeping. Jennifer Weiner and I have never met (life goal,) but the woman understands the inner workings of my mind. She’s been writing books that make me laugh, cry, dream and hope for years, and she opened up about avoiding the camera in first year of her daughter’s life.

I have beautiful friends who avoid the camera because they don’t like how they look, and I know women who will take 20 photos of themselves before they find one that they don’t despise. (I’ve been guilty of that countless times as well.) It’s hard to be happy with oursevles when we’re engulfed in a culture that says we shouldn’t be.

I’m obese…blah, bah, blah…I know. It’s hard to forget, as I have to live in my own skin everyday, but I refuse to allow my size to have bearing on whether or not I choose to live my life or take a photograph.

I went back to school at 30 years old to pursue a career about which I am passionate. I moved across the country and thrived in the biggest, most intimidating cities in America, I sang a solo in Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, and I took on an entire industry in the hopes of making a positive impact for myself and others. I don’t back down from things that scare me, and I will not back down from capturing memories with loved ones.

I think it’s important to recognize our own value. I’ve learned that the hard way, and that learning process never stops. I put effort into how I look, what I wear, etc. I take pictures from flattering angles, and I pose with my big, cheesy grin.

I’m not saying that we shouldn’t care about how we represent ourselves; I’m saying that I don’t want to live as a slave to this unrealistic ideal that we measure ourselves and our happiness against.

I love myself whether you think I should or not, and I’m going to continue to make memories and photograph them when I feel like it because I love looking back at the little moments that make life so special.

Do you shy away from photos because of your weight?

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15 Comments

  • Reply
    Tabitha M.
    July 22, 2015 at 4:57 pm

    I do not, I may place my kids in front of me to hide my stomach but I still take photos. My mom is naturally thin and always has been but she hates photos of herself, the first family photo I have is when I graduated college. She has made more of an effort since I took an interest in photography because I frequently tell her that my future grandchildren and great grandchildren will never know what she looked like at a certain time period. Photos are memories that are there forever.

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    • Reply
      Kenlie
      July 23, 2015 at 11:21 pm

      I think that’s one of the reasons it’s so important to me. When I look back at the few photos of my grandma, Daisy, I don’t think about her size, I think about what it would have been like to know her. I think about how you could totally tell she was my grandma and that Aunt Janice looks a lot like her. My mom does too. I wish there were more photos of her around, so I make an effort to be sure that I have photos of my family and myself.

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    • Reply
      Shelly D Butler
      July 31, 2015 at 6:19 am

      Your amazing and a huge inspiration thank you for sharing your stories. I’m down nearly 60 lbs and want to be down 100 I’m doing good so far. I had to step back a little from a injury but want to head back to the gym spp bad.Thanks for your words they mean a lot.

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  • Reply
    Mike
    July 22, 2015 at 7:30 pm

    Hi Kenlie. Sorry I haven’t been around much lately. I have been so busy.
    Thank you for posting this. It is such an inspiration to me. To answer your question, yes, I do shy away from the camera, not so much because of my weight but based on the fact that I don’t like looking at myself in photos or in the mirror. I’ve been told that I am ugly (and in some cases, even stupid) and just hearing such things is enough to make me want to go run and hide. I’m very self conscious (but not vain) about my appearance. I care about how I look and how I appear to others, the latter not being very positive about it.
    But after reading your post, I’m making a choice to not listen to what other say or worry about what others think of me. What do they know, right? God created me unique, just as He has all of us and we all don’t have to look like models to please other people. We can be who we are and be proud of it!
    I really admire your courage and I like what you said in that you don’t back down from things that scare you. That is the kind of courage that I need to accomplish what I must accomplish in life and not worry about how others will react. I will not be a slave to other people’s opinions. I am going to be me! And as such, I am going to practice smiling more as those who are nice say, or have said that I have a nice smile. And when I look in the mirror to practice (Yes, I practice smiling), I see that they are right. I believe that this will be one of the first steps in coming to love myself more and see myself as a victor, not a victim.
    Thanks Kenlie! As always, your blog has inspired me. 🙂 And speaking of smiling, your smile is beautiful! Keep on smiling and I will do the same!

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    • Reply
      Kenlie
      July 23, 2015 at 11:23 pm

      I have no idea what you look like, Mike, but I can safely say that you’re an attractive man. Your words and your heart paint a picture of something beautiful. Forget anyone who says otherwise because I’m right. 🙂

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  • Reply
    David
    July 23, 2015 at 4:29 pm

    I’m definitely guilty of taking 10-20 selfies before choosing one that’s acceptable to share. And don’t want to make you jealous… but I’ve met Jennifer Weiner, and she’s very nice! I got to interview her for a few minutes as part of my job a few years back. 🙂

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    • Reply
      Kenlie
      July 23, 2015 at 11:25 pm

      I take all kinds of selfies, and I definitely like to use the most flattering ones too. I took my own advice today though, and I posted fun moments on instagram with my nieces sans makeup. I posted the first ones too. Ha

      Um, you’ve met almost all of my others favorites, so I’m not surprised by this one bit. You’re a rock star like that, and I’m really happy to hear that she’s as nice as she seems to be on twitter. 🙂

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  • Reply
    Jewel Reddick
    July 23, 2015 at 9:35 pm

    I do shy away from taking pictures because of my weight. While reading your story it felt like you were in my head. I’ve the same way for years. But I do refuse to accept obesity as my fate. So inch by inch I strve to love me as much as I love my family. And by the way your smile is beautiful. Keep smiling. And keep striving. You’ll reach your goal.

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    • Reply
      Kenlie
      July 23, 2015 at 11:26 pm

      “So inch by inch I strive to love me as much as I love my family.” Wow…that is powerful. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I’m going to reflect on whether or not I do that too.

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  • Reply
    Erin
    July 23, 2015 at 11:44 pm

    I shy away from the camera, but not because of my weight. I just have always hated being photographed (but I do post some selfies if I’m feeling bold). I am an introvert so having “all eyes on me” aka the camera makes me panic. I would much rather be the person taking the pictures!

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    • Reply
      Kenlie
      July 24, 2015 at 11:54 pm

      That’s totally understandable, Erin. I like your perspective..

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  • Reply
    Christina@LoveYourselfHealthy
    July 24, 2015 at 1:38 pm

    For a long time, I ran far, far away from the camera. Over the last year, I’ve gotten a lot better and now I actually WANT to be in photos! I realized that if something ever happens to me, I want my kids and husband to have something to look back on.

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  • Reply
    Daisy
    July 28, 2015 at 11:37 am

    I always want to hide in photos, but God is drawing me out this year. In the spring, a friend and I were at a local landmark in crazy wind and our selfie had my hair going straight up in the air. I didn’t like how I looked in the photo (shirt slipping off my shoulder or something) but my friend convinced me to post it. It immediately had 10 likes in a minute and ended up being the photo with the most likes ever on my facebook page. You’d think – lesson learned, but no. Last week I was at an event for a friend moving away and we were all youth leaders. Spouses were invited. I posted the photo without the spouses because I was hiding behind someone! then someone asked why I didn’t post the spouse photo. I hedged my answer because I didn’t want to admit I didn’t like how I looked in it.. (someone had me up front and there I was!) but that photo… it immediately got tons of like but the real lesson I learned was that I was taking away from my friends who were moving away and the spouses who were invited to the event. So I’m learning to give up my fear of how I look…after all, people see how I look every day! It’s just me who sees myself on camera once in awhile!

    🙂

    This post will help me just post fun photos and not worry about how I look. I hope!

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  • Reply
    Shelli Bennett
    July 31, 2015 at 12:16 am

    I generally don’t like photos of myself. But I became a grandmother for the first time seven months ago, and I want photos of myself and my grandson together for the memories. Some are good, some are bad. Some look bad initially, then I go back two weeks later and wonder why I fussed. 😉

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  • Reply
    Suzi
    July 31, 2015 at 3:25 am

    Photos? Oh good lord no! I can’t even stand to look in the mirror. All my mirrors are from the neck up. I only wish u was as fast add I was when I first thought I was fat.

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