What Are You Hiding?

Jan 20, 2015 by

What Are You Hiding?

All of us have photos tucked in a drawer. We bring them out at holidays for people to admire. But some of the photos aren’t so pretty, and they’ll never be put out for public display. These are the photos we keep locked in the drawer, hidden from sight. Why not throw them away? Because these photos contain the truth. Ugly as they are, we keep them to remind us of something.

 

The drawers can also be places in our minds. All of us have mental photos tucked away; secret memories of painful things from our past that we don’t want to remember, yet we can’t forget. These mental photos can be of events that happened, or arguments that passed between us, resulting in feelings of anger, resentment, jealousy, and revenge. These aren’t pretty feelings. But the truth can be ugly. It can hurt. It may be in our past, but it remains a part of us. And so the photos remain.

 

Kathleen at FarmSomeone once told me that readers turn to books searching for validation of their own feelings. No one wants to feel as if they’re the only one who’s ever felt that way. An author’s job is to open the drawer and expose the ugly feelings… to share the photos you don’t want the world to see. And so today, I’m opening my drawer. These are fat photos of me from 1973. When I was in high school, I weighed 300 lbs. I was a mess: physically and emotionally. When I look at these photos, I’m carried back in time, and immediately remember how people (especially the mean girls) used to laugh at me, snickering behind my back and whispering hurtful things. These photos remind me of the loneliness and hurt I felt… and how I kept eating, to take away the hurt. I hated people for laughing at me, but most of all, I hated myself because I couldn’t stop eating. Eventually I did stop, and lost the extra pounds while in college. It’s been 35+ years, but I still remember what it felt like to be fat. And when I was finally ready to open that drawer, I wrote a book, Fatty Patty, about the experience. No one except another overweight person understands what it is like to live in a world that worships thin.

 

Opening my drawer and showing these photos hasn’t been fun. It’s reminded me of a time in my life that I don’t want to relive. But by opening the drawer, by writing Fatty Patty, I exposed that secret past to the light of day. That experience helped me go forward. Now I keep these photos to remind me of a time long ago, and the person that I used to be. But I’m not that young girl anymore. I’ve moved on.

 

What about the photos you have tucked away? Maybe it’s time to think about taking them out of the drawer. It might not be as bad as you think. You’ll never know until you try.

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