This past weekend I had the opportunity to be a part of Snap! Orlando. My brother, Jason D. Page was a featured artist there and was doing live light painting portraits. I stressed for days leading up to the event, not because we would be working long grueling hours or that he would be under scrutiny from the art community and was hoping to be successful and well received. I stressed because I don’t look the way I want to right now. I stressed over what to wear. I hated everything in my closet and trust me I live alone and occupy three rooms full of clothes, every size ranging from 2 to 16. I have run the gamete of sizes over the years through my thinnest times and my biggest times. I am in between times at the moment. I hated myself. I cursed myself and judged everything about me. This event had NOTHING to do with me….but none the less, in the mind of someone who has struggled with body image and eating disorders her whole life, it consumed me. Well… two amazing things happened while at Snap!. First and foremost, it was a huge success. The venue was amazing, the artists generous with both their talent and their time. The volunteers who kept things going from start to finish couldn’t have been nicer and my brother’s work was very well received. Second, although I stressed tremendously, to the point that I didn’t even want to go because of my own appearance and fears that I would be under scrutiny, judged for not being thin enough, I lost myself to the experience and enjoyed being me. I started interacting with the people coming up to view my brother’s work and participate in The Light Experience and completely lost track of what I looked like. I watched women, much larger in size than myself, beaming with confidence and acceptance of themselves, seeing themselves reflected in my brother’s work, smiling and happy. For the first time I looked at the models that were there for the fashion/photo interactive piece and didn’t compare myself or hate myself upon seeing them. I saw art. I saw beauty. I saw potential. I didn’t even realize it had happened until the end of the second night, after talking with this incredible woman I met the night before. She had this uber sense of style and self awareness that somehow managed to come across as down to earth and approachable. It was refreshing and fun. We laughed, joked and managed to share some details of our lives in those few moments that are reserved for those close friends that guard your secrets. I lost myself to the experience and instead of hating myself for not looking a certain way, I saw art. I saw beauty and I saw hope.
Thank you Orange! 🙂