Before Picture

Maybe your life is awesome right now. Maybe it sucks. Maybe you hit rock-bottom and you don’t know what to do. That’s what happened to me recently-I hit rock-bottom. That part of a day where you just feel so beaten down and worn out that you don’t know what to do. When you realize that you haven’t been doing your best or trying your hardest and it’s all catching up to you. That moment when life punches you once too many times. As my dad says “the straw that broke the camel’s back.” But through this experience, trials and pain and general miserableness (of course I had a cold during the worst week of my life) I learned something very important.

Many of us, when things get rough, tend to give up. The end of a chapter seems so final. We end up saying things like “life sucks” “I hate this” and just generally asking the eternal question: “why?” Words you said play back in your head over and over again, every little mistake that led up to this massive failure, and you feel worthless, hopeless, incapable. This leads to either lots of tears or lots of shouting, depending on your personality.

I lost my job. I got sick. I failed two tests… all in one week. I felt awful, like the week was never going to end, and everything in my life sucked. But, after having given up studying for a test, I was scrolling through Instagram and found a photo. You’ve seen them. Those pictures of people who were insanely overweight, obese, and then you see them come out on the other side as petite, attractive women or muscular men? Yeah, those bodies you would be jealous of except for all the loose skin. Or maybe someone who was anorexic who overcame their obstacles and became a powerlifter. Those pictures. And it made me start thinking.

Every one of those people took a before picture. They took a picture of them looking fat or emaciated–these people in these Instagram photos took pictures of themselves at their worst. They hit rock-bottom and said “hey. I’m going to take a picture.” Now, I have seen my fair share of fat or scrawny or shy people. I’ve seen insecurity in people. And none of the fat, scrawny, shy or insecure people who I have seen were the kind of people who I thought would take a half-naked picture of themselves.

So what makes the “before-picture takers” different than any other fat or anorexic person? What makes them so comfortable with displaying their bodies while I, an only mildly overweight person, try my best to cover myself up? One thing is different. Those people looked in the mirror, and said “I am never going to look like this again.”

If you are feeling down, if you feel hopeless, lost, if life has hit you too many times, if you want to lose weight, if you want to get better grades, if you want to do anything to make your life better, go to a mirror. Look in it and say “I am a before picture.” Because you are. You aren’t over, this isn’t where you stop. Just because you’ve been overweight your whole life, just because you were a bad student in high school, just because people point it out to you doesn’t mean that you can’t change. You don’t have to stay the same, you have the capability to do amazing things. You just have to have hope. You have to know that you are not over. You are a before picture. What you will look like after is up to you.