So let’s talk about this body image personality disorder I’ve got going on lately.
Before I went on vacation to Texas a few weeks ago, I was lamenting to one of my best friends (we’ll call her Daphne) about how I didn’t want to wear shorts because of my short, chunky, pasty-white legs. Daphne has known me pretty much my whole life and God love her, she reached through the phone and smacked me upside the head. “Jill, it’s going to be 100 degrees, you’re going to be walking around an amusement park and trust me, you will want to be comfortable. Go find some cute shorts and some sleeveless tops and get over yourself!” I took her advice and found a couple pairs of adequate shorts (not too short, not too matronly), some cute sleeveless tops, and Sweet Mother of Pearl I’m so glad I did. Texas was hot hot sweaty hot in mid-July and I learned to not care how I looked as I traipsed around the amusement park. In my shorts and sleeveless tops – baring jiggly arms and flabby thighs – not one single person cowered at the sight of me. Not one single person “mooooo-ed” at me as I sauntered by. The world did not shift on its axis because I chose to show a little more skin than normal. In fact, no one seemed to care or even notice. I took it a step further and stopped wearing makeup two days into our trip (what’s the point of putting it on when it’s going to melt off 30 minutes later?). By the end of the trip, I felt totally comfortable being bare-faced and exposing my legs and upper arms to the world. I put all of my self-consciousness aside and focused on enjoying my family. It was awesome.
So when our vacation ended and it was time to get back to the real world, I decided that maybe I should carry a little of that care-free attitude with me into my normal routine. Except…the fluorescent lighting of my office showed every scar, every vein, every bump and roll on my skirted lower legs and sleeveless upper arms. Trying to go with minimal makeup made me look washed out and haggard without the effects of natural sunlight on my face. So I went back to pants and long skirts and summer cardigans and a full face of makeup because my reflection in the mirror told me that I looked much better covered up and plastered over.
While I was on vacation, I adopted the attitude of “I am a woman – I’m supposed to be soft and curvy and luscious” but when I came back all of that softness and curvy-ness and lusciousness became something that needed to be banished ASAP.
There’s a part of me that wants to be okay with my body as it is right now (and let’s face it, other than a little extra cholesterol, there is not one damn thing “wrong” with this body) but then there’s another part that knows that if I could get this weight off, I would be and do so much more in my life. Everything I do or don’t do is clouded by these 60 extra pounds.
Some days I wake up and I think I look great – I’m comfortable in my own skin and I rock the day. Other times I can’t stand to even look at myself in the mirror – I feel so disappointed in myself that I let my weight go this far. I feel like I have let myself down and that’s a hard, hard feeling to reconcile. Twenty-three year old Jill would be really pissed at forty-three year old Jill – twenty three year old Jill had a very nice, toned figure and what’s worse is that I TOTALLY DID NOT APPRECIATE IT. *sigh* But that’s a post for another day.
I waffle back and forth between loving this body as it is and wanting to completely change this body into something a little more acceptable in my eyes. I haven’t figured out how to make the two sides coexist peaceably in my head. I appreciate my body, I am grateful to my body for all it does for me every day, but I just want to lose a little (okay, a lot) of the jiggle!! Is that too much to ask??? Apparently it is, because I haven’t been able to make that work yet.
So I continue to struggle. I know I am very hard on myself when it comes to what I see in the mirror, but I think it’s because I know I can do better. I know the potential is there, I just don’t seem to know how to unlock it. I need to find the key, except I have no idea what the key looks like. Maybe the key looks like therapy? Maybe the key looks like hiring a personal trainer? Maybe the key is just trying harder at what I’m already trying to do (eat less, move more)?
Gah! It’s enough to make someone crazy, right?!
I don’t have any answers right now. I don’t have a solution yet. But when I find one, I’ll let you know. Unless you find it first, then you have to share with me, okay? 🙂