Over the past 9 months, I have worked really hard to lose weight and have lost about 20 pounds. This was my personal goal. I began taking better physical care of myself after receiving some disturbing, not life threatening news about my health. Ironically, the news I received had nothing to do with my weight, but I took the news as a wake up call to start taking better care of my physical-self.
I have never thought of myself as ugly, but I have always been overweight, and to be honest, I have questioned my attractiveness for the majority of my life. But this new-found commitment to lose weight was not in an effort to increase my attractiveness, my desire in all honesty was simple. I have back issues, and had been diagnosed with high blood pressure in the past. I’m not getting any younger. It was just time to get healthy…or at least time to get healthier than I was 20 pounds ago.
As I began to lose weight, I felt good about fitting into clothes I hadn’t fit into for quite awhile; I felt good about completing workouts (including jogging!); and I just felt good about accomplishing a goal. But…
Several Sundays ago, (on Palm Sunday to be exact), I decided to take a few pictures of the “new me.” Well maybe not the new me, but the lessened me. I realized I hadn’t taken any full body pictures of myself for awhile, so that Sunday, I decided to set up the camera and take a few.
The dress I had on was a blue fitted dress I had bought some time ago, but never had the guts to wear. My hair was in bad need of a relaxer*, but I managed to straighten it out enough for it to look decent. I wore my “princess” jewels, which are stone replicas of the Princess Kate/Diana engagement ring. My makeup was carefully applied to complement the entire outfit…
I took a look at the picture. Not bad…compared to the last full body picture I took a few years ago where I looked like a squash…it’s pretty okay.
I took a few more. Click…click…
These are okay. My double chin looks a little smaller. I’m never going to get rid of that double chin.
Now that one looks good…but wait, I still look huge. Is this how weight loss looks on me? Is this what I look like to other people? Ugh! It doesn’t look like I’ve lost any weight at all.
And what’s up with the background of these photos? I better not put these on Facebook or Twitter. Everyone will know that I keep a junky house…Oh and my hair looks awful, look at how it’s sticking straight out in the back…and what about my nose…
I had become aware of what I was doing. How in the world did I get so good at picking on myself? I went from saying my pictures were okay, to picking at every little detail. When did I get this idea that I need to look a certain way…that I need to look perfect?
It wasn’t always this way. One day recently, I was reminiscing with my mom on Easters past, and she told me when I was about 2 or 3 years old, she had me all dressed up in my Easter best for church when a lady at our church said to me,
You sure are a cute baby.
To which, at 2 or 3 years old, I replied,
I know it.
I laughed out loud with my mom. I told her, I’m really trying to get back to that “little girl.”
My mom said to me,
Good. Because that little girl is YOU.
Next I will talk about how I emotionally responded to this recent discovery about my issues with perfection as it relates to body image.
*Relaxer-A relaxer is a type of lotion or cream generally used by people with afro textured hair, which makes hair less curly and also easier to straighten by chemically “relaxing” the natural curls. (Wikipedia)