"I'm the heaviest I've ever been, I just can't do family photos now. I have to lose weight first."

Does this sound familiar? I'll be honest, I have said it. I have thought it. I have felt it deep in my core. I used to be a singer/dancer/actress who ran half marathons...and even then I rarely felt like my body was "good enough" to be on display in a photograph. Two kids and half a lifetime later, I sometimes don't recognize the body I see in the mirror. Have I let that stop me from having my photograph taken?

Yes. Yes I have.

And I have missed out. I have missed out on so much not getting in the frame with my kids, my husband, or even just for myself. I have missed out on celebrating who I have become over the years. Sure, the number on the scale has changed, but so have I.

The pandemic changed everything for our family, as it did for many families in 2020. My eldest son was diagnosed with Level 1 Autism right before school shut down. Over that summer I made the hard decision to shut down my business for the time being and homeschool my kids. What started out as something I swore I would never do turned into the most magical year with my children. When it became apparent that the kids would be going back to public school I asked my friend Stephanie to come over and document one of our homeschool days. I didn't want to forget how special and hard and rewarding it had all been

Our homeschool day captured by my incredible friend Stephanie of Stephanie Murphree Photography, LLC

My knee jerk reaction when I received my gallery was, "Oh my gosh, I'm so big!" (Maybe someday I'll do a blog on how this part of my psyche has changed over the last few years.). But then...

Then I looked at my children's faces. I looked-really looked-at my face. Sure, I weigh a lot more than I used to, and there are definitely lines of fatigue and age creeping in. More than that, though, there is joy. Joy that comes from struggle, from love, from hard work, from success and failure both. I see how my children look at me, and they are not thinking gosh, mom looks lumpy and round. They are looking at me with love and devotion and gratitude-and I see all that in my face, too. I could have missed all this if I believed the lie, the lie that I am too fat for pictures. The lie that how much space I take up in this world determines my value. The lie that I am not beautiful if I am not thin.

Headshots from my most recent branding session with the super talented Kylie at Focused Creative Photography

2 years later and I still weigh the same. My hair is shorter and I'm letting my grays come in. I am no longer afraid of getting in front of the camera. I have often thought, "I wish I had a picture of this" or "I should have had a photographer there for that" but not once have I wished away the photographs I do have.

What lies are you telling yourself that are stopping you from making memories? Don't let the lies become the memories. Live for the joy. Live for the love. And for goodness sake, get in the picture.