When Hanlie posted a comment on my last entry on Father’s Day about how she’d not seen a “before” photo of me, I started thinking about what “before” implies.
When you lose weight, it’s natural for people to want to compare what you looked like before and what you look like now. Heck, I love seeing how people have transformed physically. In this context, “before” is about what’s changed and “now” is about what’s different. But when I looked at some of my “before” photos, I realized that there’s much more going on in them than just me being fat. There’s a lot of “now” in the “before”s.
This was taken the night my daughter Carlene (now 26) made dinner for my husband Larry and her grandmother and me. She was going to college, living in our basement apartment, and learning how to cook. She made chicken and crescent rolls and a salad, all of which turned out great. Gave her a lot of confidence. I no longer have all that weight on my bones, just as we no longer have that table and those chairs, Carlene has different dishes, and I’m sure she no longer owns that shirt. My husband had a lot more hair then and he wears different glasses. But we’re all four still around, still family, still cooking and laughing together.
This photo’s very difficult for me to take in because…well…there’s so much of me to take in! It was taken Christmas Eve 2003, and I remember seeing my dad out of the corner of my eye standing up to take a photo and thinking, ‘Crap, I hate when he does this. Can’t he see how fat I am? I hate having photos taken!’ all the while trying to concentrate on playing my flute.
Looking at is as a “now” photo, I see my beautiful flute and think about how much I still love music and still love to play. I see Larry playing his guitar and think about much he still loves to play. There’s nothing “before” about that.
It was raining buckets when this photo was taken. It was the night of daughter Cassie’s last marching band performance at the last football game of the season. All seniors and their parents were recognized in a little ceremony on the football field. I remember, again, hating having a photo taken of me in my size 3X coat, but being so happy for and proud of my daughter. Now, while I don’t wear a 3X coat anymore, I’m still happy for and proud of my daughter (I think we still have that umbrella somewhere, too.).
Playing backgammon with my dad. And Dad, if you’re reading this, practice up because I’ll be home in August!
Hanging out after making lefse with my Aunt Shirley. Still make lefse, still love hanging with my aunt.
Four years separate these photos. What makes the one on the left different from the one on the right is the hair, the weight and the fact that we now have two grandchildren and a son-in-law, we live in a different home, we drive different cars, and we exercise regularly.
What makes them the same is the love and respect we had for each other then is the same that we have now. My weight changed nothing about Larry’s feelings toward me or our relationship.
I’m sure most of us still cringe a little when we see “before” photos. But when you look beyond the physical and see the constants in the photos, they become easier to digest.