Mirror, mirror

My neighbors, who happen to be a saintly young couple, deserving of all the world’s blessings for their gracious tolerance of the pesky toddler antics that our flimsy common-wall does nothing to protect them from, are currently out of town.  In their absence, I have been taking care of their saintly feline, unenthusiastic beneficiary of the clumsy adoration of said toddler.

While scooping out a generous helping of a crunchy substance that my neighbor assures me passes for cat food, I happened to notice that they have a full length mirror.  I am ordinarily savvy enough to know that nothing good is likely to come from a direct encounter between myself and any mirror.  Ignorance is functional.  But today something told me that I was being silly and perhaps it is time to just suck it up.

And so I faced my nemesis.

Yikes.

I have put on a considerable amount of weight in the past year or so and it has distributed itself in the most unflattering of ways.  The drastic changes in my reflection are without question a sucker punch to my vanity but they also serve as a massive obstruction in the already windy road to reconquering my sense of self, a reminder of just how far away my “before” is.

I can’t remember feeling this ill at ease in my own skin since my tween years, struggling to adapt to the havoc that puberty wreaks on an adolescent girl.  I would have expected a little more resilience by this point in my life.

For now I’m trying to take all this as a reminder of the better parts of my former life that I should fight to retrieve: the long walks, the healthy food.  I am perfectly content with the knowledge that no diet will restore me to the person I was before all of this began.  As I sort through all the pieces of my life, new and old,  I remain hopeful that I have the power to build something functional using the better among them.  But sometimes I am reminded that some of my favorites may be so damaged as to be simply unusable and I must learn to let those go. To adapt and move on.

Oh yeah, and to stay the hell away from mirrors.

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4 thoughts on “Mirror, mirror

  1. Esperanza

    Goddamn you are a good writer. Have I mentioned that before? I’m sure I have. You’re a damn good writer.

    (Sorry for the expletives – awesomeness brings out the sailor-mouth in me).

    Ah full length mirrors. Never a good thing, in my opinion. The only mirror that can do more damage is the magnifying kind with the light around it. Those things will inspire me to wreak all kinds of havoc on my poor unsuspecting skin (which isn’t even that bad these days).

    I remember when my dad took a movie of me and Isa when she was about six months old and then PLAYED IT ON HIS 52″ TV. It was horrific and I was mortified. I believe that is when I started to consciously want to “do something” about my remaining pregnancy weight. Six months later and it’s all still here, evidently it has no plans of leaving either.

    I struggled for so long in my own body. So, so long. I’m sure you’ve read on my blog about how I was lucky enough to learn at one point (really learn, the hard way) that looking like I want does not necessarily make me happy. Since then I’ve been relatively free of the horrible feelings about my body I once had. Not to say I don’t look at it many times and sigh, or didn’t wish it looked differently. I do. But I no longer let my happiness reside in the size of my stomach or thighs (both of which remain significantly bigger since my pregnancy).

    I’m sure you know all of this, you are a very wise woman indeed. I guess it just made me think of it. I hope you find peace in your own skin. I hope we all do.

  2. …”just how far away my ‘before’ is” …how perfectly put.

    *Indulges in brief fantasy of TV show wherein people who have been through great sorrow and major life changes get a tasteful and not at all exploitative physical and psychological makeover*

    I currently have a chest full of work clothes that I can’t wear because they are, you know, WOOL, and not good for nursing, and that I also never WANT to wear again, because they belong to professional me, and they’d fit my psyche about as well as they’d fit my body. I love the notion of assembling a more perfect union from the pieces currently on hand –if keeping the good means keeping some of the bad, so be it. In the meantime, yeah, let’s avert our eyes, and try to both get a long walk in today.

  3. What an amazingly well-written and beautiful post. It’s so eloquent and describes so many things I’ve thought in the past but could never express in words.

    I know so many of those feelings, but you will rise above them and you will find the strength to do the things you want and need to do (in that order). Everything takes time.

    It also reminds me of my favorite Scot Adams quote, “Everything in life starts small and gets bigger except for bad things. They start big and get smaller.”

  4. Pingback: Control (A Little Song By Me and Janet Jackson) « Eggs In A Row

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