I have a friend, Christina, who is an amateur photographer. Earlier this year she asked if I would do a photoshoot for her. Initially I declined. It’s already hard enough for me to see myself as anything other than fat and I didn’t need pictures confirming it.

But it got me thinking. Maybe it would be a good idea. This was a way to face this issue without the fear of rejection or other irrational social phobias that come as a package deal with anorexia. Christina already wanted to take the pictures and, if it would just be us, perhaps it would be cathartic. So I agreed to do the shoot.

In August that shoot happened. At first I was nervous – shaking, almost throwing up nervous. Christina was spectacular at calming me down though. She really was enjoying exploring my body with the camera – she was excited to do it. After a couple of hours it had gone from a frightening experience to a pretty enjoyable one. I’d honestly recommend it to anybody who knows a willing photographer.

And I even liked some of the pictures!

On the whole, it was very, very good for me. Christina and I hugged and planned to do another one later in the year.

Well, Saturday is the appointed day. I will be in St. Louis modeling for her. I thought I was less nervous this time, and I still think I am, but I think I’m more nervous than I thought I’d be. I’ve certainly been more excited than nervous building up to this week. But in the days leading up to this I’m really having to struggle to keep myself from exercising every 15 minutes. It’s this strange mix of uneasiness at the prospect of locking horns with my condition with the excitement at the possibility that, like last time, for a moment I may be alright with how I look. I cannot describe how wonderful that feeling was. It was like tasting pizza for the first time. I’m in better shape now, so I’m excited to see what Christina can do, but still…it’s my body that I’ve spent so many years hating.

But that’s life, right? Fear is what controls a substantial portion of our lives. Fear of embarassment, fear of pain, fear of hurting someone else. There will always be scary things trying to control us. Just think of where religion would be if believers were braver, such that the use of fear and/or threats of hell were ineffective tools. Fear is not only an assassin of the mind, it can snuff out a great deal of what life has to offer, replacing it with regret, without you ever being the wiser. If you want to reveal all the splendor available to your life, if you want to explore…then you have to fight fear.

It’s like my dad always said: bravery’s isn’t the absence of fear – it’s acting anyway.

Wish me luck.

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About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.