2002–2012: Ten years and 60+ lbs. difference. Where will I be in those last 70 lbs.?
Everyone has body issues…everyone. It’s deeply rooted in middle school and lasts all of our lives. Even my mom is feeling it at 57, apprehensive to friend someone because she doesn’t want them to see her bathing suit photos. (Sorry for the shout out, Mama. You’ll likely fuss at me for mentioning it, but hey! You’re the beautiful mother of three children. I love you, and you are gorgeous.)
I cannot remember a time in my life where I looked at my body and didn’t feel like I was staring in the mirror at someone who wasn’t me. Sometimes I would catch a glimpse of me peeking out, but for the most part, I have always felt like I was a turtle living her life in a fat girl shell.
Every day I struggle with letting that turtle out, or rather, not feeling like a turtle at all. I want to look in the mirror and say, “Hey! That’s me! Finally. I’ve been waiting my whole life to see you!”
This is not to say that I discredit loving yourself as you are. I’m a firm supporter of loving yourself at any size and shape, loving your life and who you are…but I wasn’t loving who I was because of my weight, and I never saw myself when I looked at the girl I was on the outside.
It’s been a fear in my health journey. What if I fail? What if I can’t show the world who I’ve always felt like I was inside? What if I heave away on this journey just to wind up a year from now exactly where I was? I would feel like I had let everyone down. I would feel like I had let myself down. That fear can often lead you to quit. Yes, yes, it’s circular logic, but the fear of failing can often lead you to fail. So can the fear of success.
I am almost more scared of succeeding than failing. I’ve failed before. I’ve dusted myself off, poked along, tried again, and I’ve failed at that attempt, too. But I have never, 100%-succeeded at reaching my healthy, ideal weight, and the thought of getting there is terrifying.
What will I be like? Will I be different? How will people treat me? Will guys look at me differently? Would a guy still love me if he saw me at 100-120 lbs heavier?
And the answer? It doesn’t matter. What matters to me is being me: being happy, healthy, vibrant, intelligent, funny, and confident. But most importantly, what matters to me is being able to look in that mirror and recognize myself, to see outwardly that strong, determined, and most of all, healthy girl I’ve always felt was inside me, struggling to break free. I want to look in the mirror and see that.
I’ve recently joined (re-joined, actually) the Flickr group 365 days. Goal? Take a self-portrait every day for a year. Since I have seven months and 70 lbs. to go, I thought it would be a really interesting project to look back on. And through the last thirteen days of this project, I’ve noticed something really amazing…I can see myself shining through in every photograph. I feel beautiful, I feel strong, and most of all, I feel healthy. I’m looking in the mirror every morning and see me, and I’ve never felt happier. I can’t wait to see me all the time.