Not too long ago I met a beautiful woman who decided to give my restorative yoga class a try. She had undergone gastroplasty and had lost a huge amount of weight. She commented to me that she wanted to get to know her ‘new body’.
That comment has stuck with me. Especially as I have lost weight and do have a new body. A couple of times I have had to do a double take in a mirror when I was walking by. Or I’ve looked closer at a picture or video of me to make sure it was me.
I don’t know what to expect when I see myself. Not yet.
I had Danni snap this picture yesterday as we were walking out the door for church. My brother gave us this coat 7 or 8 years ago. He got it from a translator in Afghanistan who decided the mission they were on was too dangerous for him and felt bad about ditching my brother, so he gave him this coat.
This was a ‘double take’ picture. I’m not sure what it was about it that made me look twice. It’s really not that great of a picture. But I like the ‘me’ in it.
We went for a walk through the Minnetrista yesterday. I don’t like those filters that make the skin look like porcelain. I like the ‘me’ in this even though wrinkles are there and my grey hair is frizzing like a champ, I like the calm joy that is coming through my eyes, and I love Bill’s smile!
I find as I grow older I’m not worried about the perfect shot so much as the real ones. The ones that have a story and show the emotions of the situation. Of course I still don’t want to look like a zombie or a mug shot, but I’m less picky now.
To tie this into the getting to know me title, I’m struggling a bit with that. You will probably think I’m off my marbles here, but when I look at pictures or my reflection I expect to see something else. I expect to see a thinner younger me. I expect to see my transformed body looking amazing! But instead it looks a lot like I thought it should have looked 40 pounds ago.
There’s a certain amount of acceptance that I’m lacking. I’m working on doing better, but it’s the automatic response – the one I have to talk myself down from each time with the self talk about how far I’ve really come. I’m not even sure where that initial disappointment in myself comes from.
I’m not writing this to get your accolades. I hear daily about how much better I’m looking from myriads of people. I’m writing this in case you can identify and you can know you’re not alone. How we see ourselves is a tricky endeavor.
I don’t think it’s just our physical appearance either. I like to think that I’m patient and loving, but I know if I’m cut off in traffic I become this:
Maybe we’re all a bit splintered. Maybe I’m not so unique. Maybe it’s wanting the better me while seeing the lesser me that makes me want to continue to improve myself.