Wednesday, April 26, 2006


Yes, as it turns out, I do have a face. And when I wear lipstick you can even see my lips. When I was twenty-eight, I remember a forty-something mom telling me how her lip-color had faded with the years. I thought that odd, but what do you know? It happened to me, too. Without lipstick, no lips.

So, you're saying to yourself, how did Mel come up with that photograph so quickly? You see, I am never ever in the family photographs for two reasons. One, I am always the photographer. Two, I am fat.

But you see, being fat has opened doors, which is ironic in so many ways. For instance, I have thought to myself, Self, you need to get yourself in shape so you can go to that writer's conference next year and kick-start your writing career! And I've thought, If only I weren't so fat, so many more opportunities would fall into my (no-longer ample) lap. And I've looked at Heather B. Armstrong's blog, "Dooce," and thought, Well, of course she's making money blogging. She's skinny.

See how irrational we chubby fluffy pudgy chunky fat girls can be? The internet is a wonderful thing, too, because no one has to see our outside and we can bypass those feelings of embarrassment and self-disgust and just put forward our best selves, the inner parts of us. I have been dismissed sometimes because being fat is like wearing a force field which makes you invisible to the human eye. Sometimes, this is good. Who wants to be hounded by the paparazzi, after all?

So, I'm fat. And my being fat has indirectly led me to this particular blogging job which has requested a photo.

And I have no photographs of myself. So, knowing that I'd need a photograph for my new blogging job, I decided I would spruce myself up and get myself to a photography studio as soon as possible so they could work their magic and hopefully, employ some airbrushing techniques to remove my double-chin and possibly fifty pounds. Which wouldn't be possible for days, weeks, months . . . who knows? Because, as the detail-retaining among you will remember, my husband is out of town, hanging out with his college buddies in Las Vegas. Yes, the pastor is on the loose in Vegas!

The email that came yesterday, though, asked for a picture now. Right now. As in hurry-up-send-a-picture-before-we-change-our-minds-right-now.

And there I am, wearing a shirt with gummy remains of a Triscuit smeared on my shoulder and not a drop of makeup on my pale face and no chance of leaving my house. I made a half-hearted attempt to locate an existing picture of myself, but knew deep in my heart that I don't have one I can tolerate. And using my old college picture or the one of me was a three year old simply would not do.

At lunch-time, I have a forty-five minute baby-free window because one baby leaves for a lunch break with his mom and the other hasn't yet arrived. I sprang into action. I smeared on carefully applied make-up, fluffed up my hair and put on a clean shirt. Baby number two arrived just as I finished glossing up my lips. I'm sure the baby's dad was shocked to see me in that condition, but what can you do? You can't always be a frumpy housewife, I guess.

I had one 13-year old keep an eye on the baby and my daughter, while I went outside with my other 13-year old. I dragged over a ladder, stood my son in front of the laurel hedge, and positioned the camera just so. Then I changed places with my son. I had him step up the ladder a few rungs so he'd be looking down on me, so I could tilt my face slightly up and thus, through the magic of posing, eliminate a chin. Hey, when you don't have special lighting and your own personal airbrusher, you get creative. (From now on, whenever I know there will be cameras, like at family reunions or holiday events, I am taking my 6-foot aluminum ladder with me, because, as it turns out, I don't look too bad if you are three feet above me and I'm looking up.)

He took about ten shots and I chose the one you see to the right as the best one.

And now you know the truth. I'm a fat blogger. I hope we can still be friends.

I'm kidding! Of course, you'll still be my friend. Because here's the best part about having a fat friend: you look thinner standing next to her.

Now, ten points to the person who comes up with an utterly delightful title for a blog chronicling the diet of a fat housewife. Okay, a hundred points.



Anonymous wendy said...

I have the same problem...I'm a fat blogger, too. ;-) I crop my photos so that they give the best impression possible. But then people meet me in real life and it probably scares them.

3:37 PM  
Anonymous Melene said...

You have kind eyes, very well shaped eyebrows and that shade of green looks great on you. And you are one of my most favorite bloggers and I'm really excited for you.

4:11 PM  
Blogger Never That Easy said...

Must run out and buy a ladder. Although I much prefer being the photographer, I know I will have to have some pictures that include me. This is vital fashion information that has not been passed on to me - &, since I lack anything resembling the fashion gene, would never have figured it out on my own. Of course, in a wheelchair, everyone is taller than me.... so, maybe I am not taking full advantage of this?

Congrats on your new job!

4:13 PM  
Blogger Julana said...

Hi Mel,
Nice to meet you in person. I've heard so much about you! :-)

4:30 PM  
Blogger Debra said...

Hi Mel--When I first saw your photo I realized that for all these months I'd pictured you in my mind just a tad older than your school photo you used to have here... Kind-of like an older version of that girl happily raising kids very near her age... Does that make sense? So when I saw your new photo I was, like, hmmm...who's that? Oh! That must be Mel all-grown-up. :) Anyway, here is another overweight blogger (my preferred way of putting it--heh). I, too, have often thought about how marvelous it is that we can blog and not be seen--and wrongly judged just because we look nothing like the pixies one often sees on magazine covers. Thanks for yet another delightful post! (P.S. Your new photo is lovely!) ... Debra

4:47 PM  
Blogger Islandsparrow said...

You're funny! I dropped over from Julana's and I'm glad I did! I'll be back.

5:09 PM  
Blogger oshee said...

I think I need to buy a ladder. Altho, I always just hide behind the camera too.
When I can't sleep after the kids are in bed, I like to play yahoo games. But unfortunately there are those who like to play more than just canasta at the same time. I keep swearing I'm going to put up the one picture I have of my full blown up self on my yahoo profile to scare away all the cyber freaks. I'm not yet that desperate tho. (oh and I keep telling myself, I can use that picture as my BEFORE picture for that ad I'm going to be after I lose all the weight LOL).

5:12 PM  
Anonymous Kismet said...

I just love you.
I could identify with almost every word of this blog....right down to the twin teens :)

Sadly, there are some chins that even looking up won't erase, trust me...I have them :).

when you gonna tell us about the new job? I am all antsy waiting to hear.


5:13 PM  
Blogger MissKris said...

I used to weigh 221 1/2 pounds and, honey, THAT is fat on a 5'7" frame even being a big-boned Swede, lol! Due to health issues brought on by stupid yo-yo dieting, laxative abuse, etc...I ended up in the hospital back in 1999 with severe erosive esophagitis. I HAD to change my eating habits and I HAD to lose weight. It was a real eye-opener for me, let me tell you. I detest pictures of myself, fat or skinny, but are beautiful.

5:52 PM  
Blogger red fish said...

Mel, you are beautiful inside and out.

6:12 PM  
Blogger Yvonne said...

Ok - I've looked at the picture several times - and read your post (which, by the way mentioned the "f" word WAY too many times) and I am still trying to figure out why you keep calling yourself that??? I'm sure in your mind you're thinking "well, I better say all this before someone else does" - but guess what? YOU ARE NOT FAT - YOU ARE MEL - THE MEL WE ALL LOVE - WHO IS A GREAT WRITER - THE BLOG WE ALWAYS READ EVERYDAY! That's it - just Mel. Cut yourself some slack, girl! And you better not ever use that word again to describe yourself! If you think you have been hiding your "real self" from us - you haven't. You have shared all the ups and downs and side to sides with us. And it's nice to put a face to the name - thank you!!

6:55 PM  
Blogger Sue said...

I think that most people don't enjoy seeing pictures of themselves, but I think you look wonderful!

6:57 PM  
Blogger Yvonne said...

Oh...and by the way I love love love your hair!!!

7:01 PM  
Anonymous SMIT said...

I think it's a nice picture. I can identify with the preference to be behind the camera. I've never liked my nose or my smile...and it's pretty hard to crop my FACE out of a picture. So I just take pictures of my kid because - frankly - she's cuter.

7:34 PM  
Blogger KMae said...

Heyyyyy! Great Shot! And vERy creative because YOU DON'T LOOK FAT AT ALL!! Good job.

If you ARE fat, it doesn't matter because there is so much love here for you, & thus I'm sure in your real world, too! Because you are kind.

As a kindred fat person, soon to be just regular after 8 mos & 37 less lbs at Weight Watchers - I am SO happy to see a picture of how you really look. Which is pretty, fun & smart!!! Blessings to you.

7:36 PM  
Blogger Judy said...

Let's see...when I posted a picture of me, it was only my eyeball. It's not fat. My lid is saggy, but not fat.

I left my house once and heard my daughter say to my son - 'is it a costume party and she's going as Tweedledum?'

Your son is an excellent photographer.

Now I have to go kill the image of the 'imagined Mel' that existed in my mind to make room for the real you.

8:26 PM  
Blogger blueyedtracy said...

Your photo looks great. I've enjoyed reading here for SO long, and I'm very excited for you and your paid blogging opportunity. You deserve it!

8:34 PM  
Anonymous Jamie said...

Love the photo. Very professional looking for a backyard informal "shoot!" My nose can take on unreal proportions at the wrong angle so I love the beauty of the digital camera and the DELETE and file immediately to trash can feature. ;)

8:39 PM  
Blogger Tiffany (aka said...

Great picture, thanks for sharing a bit of Mel.

8:48 PM  
Blogger Ginger said...

Tee-hee. I know that taken-from-above trick all too well. Nicely done, Mel. Will enjoy following your Big Adventure in Blogging.

9:09 PM  
Blogger Gina said...


You are beautiful.

Again, I am reminded of how much we have in common. I choose to overlook your voting registration status, and after that, it's all good!

I need to put on my thinking cap, because I am to embarassed to tell you the title that first came to mind.

9:45 PM  
Blogger ilovecheese said...

Hey Mel! You look great! Finally now we have a beautiful face to go with that brilliant mind!! Nice look lovely!
Alas and alack! Brain refuses to register that you are fat - therefore can't think of any title..

11:00 PM  
Blogger k said...

Yay for you! I'm so happy to hear that you're able to exercise your writer muscles and make a little coin doing it! That's great!

As for being fat? I think not. I prefer to think of it as suffering from Mad Cow.... I put on the pants I (think) I look like a Cow, I get mad.

I wish you the best for a successful future!

12:06 AM  
Anonymous mopsy said...

You look great! *Not* fat.

Finally, we get to see what you mean by "cocker spaniel" hair and just as I suspected I have it too.

I am so excited for this big open door in your life and I know you will make the most of it. It will be fun watching you!

6:06 AM  
Blogger Kendra said...

Being short and chubby, I can eliminate the use of ladders entirely. If I were a bit taller, I would have to purchase ladders, or stilts, for everyone I come in contact with -- I must eradicate the additional chins!!

Your picture is beautiful, but I'm slightly disappointed that your hair does not resemble a cocker spaniel. I was picturing wavy locks on each side with little red bows holding them in place. And lots of poofy, curliness on top, like the woman with 15 (or is it 16?) kids that they keep featuring on the Discovery Channel. Alas, I will love you as you are. One of these days, I may very well post a picture of myself on my blog. You are ever the inspiring writer...

6:29 AM  
Blogger Leslee said...

I only see one chin... you're not fat. Most of us could stand to loose a few pounds, but we still loves ya!

7:46 AM  
Blogger M3 (Mary-Mia) said...

When I clicked on your photo I thought "Hi Mel, it's nice to "meet" you." I guess because I've always pictured you so differently (based on the kid pic). You look great in your photo, by the way. You look just like me, or my neighbor, or my relatives, or any one of a million cool, normal, non-Heather-Armstrong supermodel-skinny, type of people.

9:09 AM  
Blogger jennifer starfall said...

thanks for reading me when you do. i read you every day (i have less people on my blogroll...), and i'm sorry i've been gone. i was... too sad.

and it's so nice to see you mel, and this entry made me cry.

because when i saw your picture, the first thing i thought was, "she doesn't look at all how she describes herself. she's beautiful."

11:42 AM  
Blogger Liz said...

you look fabulous! I'm not very creative with blog titles, but I think "Round Is A Shape" is kind of cute, if you MUST mention your weight in some way. But I really do think you're great looking, and your son is a budding photographer!

11:59 AM  
Blogger sallyrogers said...

You look great and it's wonderful to see you. I like you even more!

12:39 PM  
Anonymous jennie said...

I'm so impressed that one of your sons took the photograph! You are beautiful, Mel.

12:46 PM  
Blogger Robin said...

Okay, I really like contests so I have to blurt out what has come to my mind:

"The Incredible Shrinking Woman"

"My Lips are Sealed...Finally!"

"Tales of the Little(r) Woman"

"Momma's Got a Brand New Butt"

I'm sure I'll be back with more groaners! :)

I love the picture!

5:06 PM  
Blogger Reloaded said...

oooh - i'm going to have to try the look up / ladder thing to eliminate my chin


9:49 AM  
Blogger jenny said...'re purty :)
I thought you'd have short, short hair

Off to home depot, jenny needs a ladder...

12:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Go Mel! You have a sweet smile.

Hmm, name of a dieting womans blog?

How about:

"I'm losing it, in more ways than one".

"Mel: less calories, more filling"

5:00 PM  
Blogger Chewy Mom said...


Your picture is nice, and I think you look great!

When I posted a picture on my blog, an IRL friend said to me, "I need to use your photographer! That picture is great! It makes you look so skinny!" Ummm...thank you, I guess?? Maybe I was looking up, too. I don't remember.

11:46 AM  
Blogger elswhere said...

I just learned about that photo-from-above trick! Verry useful.

Everyone is right and you do look great. Also, "Well, of course she's making money blogging. She's skinny" is about the funniest comment ever about Dooce.

I have no good ideas for your weight-loss blog title but am looking forward to reading it.

3:03 PM  
Anonymous Gem said...

Oh, good grief Mel! My first thought when I saw your photo was NOT "OH MY GOD SHE'S SO FAT!", it was "Oh, so that's what she looks like, it's so nice to have a face to go with the writing! And she's so pretty, too!" Get over your fat self, girl, you are who you are, and we like you that way!!!

7:32 PM  
Blogger Life's Laundry said...

How bout....."Looking for the skinny"

Aren't we all?

It's absolutely positively awesome and wonderful that I came here today and found a picture of you :)

No one will appreciate your beauty like God and hubby.....but I'm a close second.
Don't forget :)

4:58 AM  

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