The first one is a practical one. I didn't realize it, but I avoided the camera for - apparently - the past five years. The pictures I do have I did the old put-the-kid-in-front-of-me-so-nobody-can-see-my-body trick:
I avoided candid shots; I didn't want to be captured in an unguarded moment, before I could arrange things for maximum concealment.
The second reason is that it's emotional for me to look at the Before pictures. I've written about it a lot, but I really didn't have any concept of how much weight I had gained. I chose not to see.
I'm not a vain person. I'm not hung up on looks. When I look at the Before pictures I remember how happy I was, how good I felt to be sober and free. Seeing how much more I weighed doesn't change that for me.
What I feel is a pang of sadness. The pictures are irrefutable evidence that denial is a powerful thing. It's not that I knew I weighed too much and didn't care (like I claimed), it's that I really didn't have any idea that I had a problem. With weight, with food - any of it.
It's okay, though. I know, now, that I don't grow if I don't face painful truths. I don't grow unless I have the guts to look problems in the face, stare them down and make changes.
I remember getting these pictures back - both are from my trip to Bermuda for my 40th birthday - exactly one year ago. When I saw these pictures last July, I felt a pulse of fear when I saw what I looked like, and then I mentally slid the truth to the side. I quickly went through the pile of pictures and selected a few that didn't show much, that caught me at a flattering angle. I didn't look at the ones that showed the truth. I found a couple of these pictures, unedited and ignored, in my computer:
I'm learning how to pay attention to my gut reactions; I practice keeping my finger on the pulse of fear or avoidance. I'm trying to pay attention to unconscious thoughts, those thoughts-beneath-the-thoughts, because I want to be conscious; I want to be aware. The truth is far scarier when I'm hiding from it.
Because once I face the truth, I can do something about it. I can set myself free.