Lady In Hiding

When I have someone take a photo of me I always ask them to take it from the waist up. The same goes for videos. I hate showing my whole body. I have lived years and years in the scrutiny of others so much that I decided why put myself out there to allow myself to be hurt by the ones I care about. Social Media didn’t exist when I was younger.  The only way to share pictures was by having the film processed and sharing them or a Polaroid. As I grew older and computers became more available to us, we shared via email. I have always loved Photography and through the years I became exceptionally good at capturing the best of nature, people , Places and animals.

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It became easy for me to hide behind the scenes because I always had my camera. If I was the one taking the pictures then there was no need for someone to take a photo of me.  It was normal for me to have my camera everywhere I went. I have thousands and thousands of pictures. Not to long ago I asked a friend to take a video of me while I was singing. I asked him to be sure to take the video from the waist up. Later that evening I watched it and my heart sank because my hips and bottom were clearly visible in the video. I was disappointed. My fiancee takes photos of me all the time showing my whole body, I get upset with him and ask him please don’t post that or share it…. he will simply state it’s his photo and he has no problem with the way I look.   Wow, that man really does love me. He loves all of me.

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I often wonder when I started to become so self conscious. when did I start hiding? I am pretty sure that it started when I was still married to my ex. He was the kind of guy that like to keep me hidden as well.  I never met his friends, never went to his work, never to a office party… and when we did run in to someone he knew I could tell he was ashamed to be seen with me.  A few times he made sure I knew it. I was ashamed of myself too. When we would go grocery shopping, he went one way and I went the other. I became so conditioned to this way of living that even after we adopted children, I hid from their friends and the kids parents, it was a never ending cycle of shame. Through all of it ,  I really don’t hate him.  I don’t get angry anymore at what i went through then.  I just wished I would have loved myself more than I did during those years.

Now I am in a place where I now have to grasp the fact that I am this way because this is how God molded me.  I don’t have to fear eating something and feeling really bad about it… I can quit being angry at myself. Now my anger turns elsewhere. It turns to all the doctors that I visited and begged for answers, pleaded in fact. It goes to all those people out there that didn’t want to take to the time to know me without casting judgement.  Going out to restaurants was hard because I worried about whether I could sit in their chairs, because if  they had arms on them… I couldn’t fit in them usually.  It wasn’t just dining out that was problematic, it was everything… going to peoples homes, sitting in the front seat of cars comfortably, doctor’s office waiting rooms….  the list goes on and on and then there is Social Media.

Having a social media account has its pros and cons.  I love the fact that am able to keep up with all my family members, friends from high school, my kids.  I am blessed everyday to send messages and receive messages, post pictures and share with groups and create groups.  IT really has been nice, all the while I have stayed hidden behind the computer and the lenses of a camera.  I couldn’t dare let my grade school and high school friends see all of me because I was, in my mind …3 times larger than I was in high school.  With Social media comes the sad side of things to.  Like when you hear of a friends passing away by someones post… or the cruelty and harsh words of a stranger that just so happens to take a photo of you while you are dining out with friends and plasters it all over the internet calling you names and thinking that they are funny when in fact they should be ashamed of themselves.

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I am learning now that there will always be someone out there that will have something bad or negative to say.  People are just that blind and oblivious to others and what they are going through. Until they walk a day in my shoes or any other lady that has been diagnosed with Lipedema, they will remain clueless.  I didn’t realize just how much I had these types of people hurt me and affect me until I started writing this blog and wanted to share pictures… I never noticed how often I hid behind everyone because I didn’t want to show myself as I really am.  I found lots and lots of photos from the waist up, even with my children… some how all these years I managed to hide.  I don’t want to be that person anymore. I want to start accepting myself as I am. I know that learning all that I have this far, I can’t really stay angry at myself…. I can’t expect miracles and I can’t hide because my family needs me. It’s about time I let the world know that YES  I am a very large woman, but I am also a large woman with feelings and I am learning to love myself and if you can’t open your eyes and see me without prejudice then keep walking by because I don’t care anymore!  I don’t eat with you, I don’t live with you and I don’t owe you any explanation and further more… you don’t deserve it.

Awareness comes from speaking out, it comes from sharing, it comes from putting it out there for all to see. Awareness comes from being educated and teaching,  it comes from listening and learning.  I am still learning. I am still speaking for those who feel just as I do.  Those ladies that struggle with everyday activities just as I do, the ones who for many years couldn’t understand “why me?” ….. the ladies who drain their savings or whose families do all kind of fundraisers to help them get costly surgeries to help them have better qualities of life…. the ladies who hid behind the cameras or whose heart races at the thought of meeting someone new,  or running the opposite way when someone stops in for a visit unexpectedly….. We are all human, we are all learning and we are all praying that someone cares just enough to say  ” what can I do to help you make more people aware?”……………

I would simply say ” you can start by sharing my blog with others “

I am no expert. I just want to help as many ladies as I can. I want them to know that I share their heartbreak.  I am ready to learn as much as I can.  I want to take pictures

and be OK with myself without worries of what others will say.  We are our biggest cheerleaders ladies.  Hugs and blessings to all.

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2 thoughts on “Lady In Hiding

  1. Shelley, I think you are one of the most beautiful women I have ever met! You are strong, charismatic and such a joy to be around. You have conquered so many obstacles in your life and still managed to walk on and walk tall. I admire that about you and always have. I can’t wait to read the next blog. A few have hit home and a few so far have shown me what I already know about you and that is that YOU mamm are without a doubt one beautiful, strong, hell of a woman! Write on girl!

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