Looking in the mirror again

If you know me, you know I almost never allow my photograph to be taken, and when I do, for posterity or because someone badgered me to the point of crying, I invariably hate it. I don't think I ever did take good pictures, but in the last few years they've gotten really dismal. You know, I was putting on a few pounds due to hypothyroidism, which are super-hard to take off, even once you get on some meds. Then I got pregnant, and on came more pounds, and more body shapelessness. And you know, I have a little cooking habit that doesn't help matters either.

These are things that are very hard to talk about when one is not joking around. I can say to my friends “Oh, you know, fat girls can’t wear that stuff, haha ho ho.” Or, “Those clothes are made for Barbie. Heheh.” But you know, I once looked like Barbie. And once, I could wear “those clothes.” And I’m none too happy that these days, I can’t. I’m none too happy to see myself in those photographs and realize that I’m not the person I think I am or want to be. So I choose not to have my photo made.

But it’s harder than that. Eventually you have to stop looking in the mirror, as well. You don’t want to spend too much time getting ready because it feels futile, and plus, who wants to spend an extra fifteen minutes in front of the dreaded mirror? And you complain that you don’t have anything to wear and blame it on the fact that you’re a rigid budgeter, but you know it’s also because shopping is just too hard, and no fun, and nothing looks right, and it’s just depressing to pick out pants in “that size.”

So instead of focusing on fashion or hair or new makeup ideas, you look to other ways to make yourself feel good about who you are. You think about decorating your house. It’s easier to make your home beautiful than yourself. You painstakingly dress your kid every day, because really, who’s looking at you anyway, when you’re schlepping the world’s cutest kid around town? You cook elaborate meals, because then people will understand why you’ve put on pounds. I mean, who could cook that way and NOT gain weight?

And you tell yourself that it’s the thyroid disease, and that’s true, but only partially so. And you tell yourself that you like to cook your husband food that he likes, and it’s a big part of your marriage, the meals you share. And you tell yourself you recently had a baby but let’s face it that was a year and a half ago.

You get jealous of your friends with more flexible jobs and more time so they can focus on themselves and you tell yourself it’s JUST NOT YOUR FAULT.

And you remind yourself that you write a weekly cooking column and “full flavor” is part of your schtick. And all of that is true, but at the end of the day, it still rings hollow.

And you join a gym but realize you hate it (again) and that you don’t have time for it and don’t want to make time anyway, because then you’d miss those few precious hours with the baby and WHO WOULD COOK DINNER?

So on you go, avoiding mirrors and pictures and hoping your husband really does love you for your mind and winning personality, and thinking that soon you’ll find the right way or you’ll get your medication right or your doctor will come up with a wonder plan that will help you miraculously shed these pounds without having to make yourself and your family suffer.

I’ve love to end this post by telling you that I have new resolve, that I have a plan and I WILL STICK TO IT, but I know myself too well to make any grand or sweeping gestures. However, I will say this. I’m getting very honest with myself about the situation. I’m forcing myself to look in mirrors, and I resolve to let people take my photo more. Not a lot more, but a little more. And I’m going to shop. For clothes that fit me. This size.

And then, hopefully, I can start to make steps toward making changes. I’m not sure what or how, but I know this: I can’t go “cold turkey” and I won’t be running a marathon soon. But I will start to adjust, and eat more fruit and vegetables, and less bread. And then from there we’ll see what happens. In the mirror.

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