Note: I am having a good body week so this post will be filled with unicorns and kittens.
I looked at some photos online the other day (reacquainting myself with my facebook page which I have neglected for this lovely blog) and I realised how amazing perspective is. I was a hair model in April, which had me wearing an elaborate hair style, pretty dress and shoes and parading down a catwalk while hair dressers oohed and aahed. I had some friends take a whole lot of photos of the weekend and I felt good. Good not great, because I was constantly looking at the other real models and comparing myself. I am not a model. I’m a normal chick with a normal body. But the whole time I was there, I was paranoid that someone would suddenly look up and realise that I was too big/not pretty enough to be there and throw me out. In short (because yes, I am short), they would realise I was an IMPOSTER!
So when I originally looked at the photos, all I saw was the fat. The fat on my arms, the fat on my legs, the way I was so much shorter than everyone else. I saw all my flaws and could not really appreciate the beauty of the day.
This weekend, looking at the photos, ALL I saw was how gorgeous I looked. I couldn’t believe that I looked so good. Now I’m not trying to sound like an egotistical biatche here, but I seriously looked good. The dress they had me in was a hot pink halter dress that emphasised my waist. The hair was HUGE but awesome in a fun way and all I could remember was how fun it was.
What’s changed in 3 months? I began to love my body, to appreciate my body and to realise that, while I am short and will always be short, while I have chunky calves and can’t change that, my body is GREAT. It’s healthy and it’s strong. The only part of my body I don’t like? My lungs. They’re scarred and damaged and they don’t allow me to live without worry. But the exterior? It rocks.
When you think about it, nobody else notices the flaws if you don’t point them out. If you make them an issue, they’re huge. Those chunky calves I hate? Only I notice them. My flabby arms? Aren’t REALLY so flabby and anyway, nobody else even sees them. Only me. And now I don’t even see them.
I’m not advocating blind ignorance but it’s amazing what an attitude adjustment can do for your perspective. Charlotte at The Great Fitness Experiment got me thinking on this (seriously, if you don’t have her bookmarked, you’re missing out). How do we create body confidence? And I do think it’s about body confidence. I’m not saying I love everything about my body, but I love my body in general. I’m all about improving bits and pieces (stronger arms please) but when I walk around, I feel good in my skin.
I have no tips or tricks here though. It’s taken me a while and it’s an ongoing process. There are times when I have mucho hate for the bod. But it really generally figures on the internal stuff – the lungs which make it hard to breathe, the lack of energy, the constant coughing. The external stuff doesn’t let me down and I love it for it.
I love my mother. I really really do. Please don’t think otherwise. But as I spend more time with her after 8 months apart, I realise how I react around her and how her issues got me where I was when I started this whole weight loss and fitness journey.
My mother hates her body. She may say otherwise but I know she does. Every body part is a defect, something to hide. A few years ago (pre-weight loss), I bought a dress – very cute to the knee in white and green – and I tried it on at home. Her response was that I should return it and get a dress that covered my knees because “knees are ugly”. I got angry and refused to return the dress. BUT I never wore it. EVER. It stayed in my closet and I looked at it wistfully every summer but never wore it. Because my knees were ugly.
Fast forward to this morning. I’ve learnt in the past year or so that shorter skirts look BETTER on me (ie I don’t look like a midget) and I have a really cute white peasant skirt from the Gap. I’m wearing it this morning when the parentals come over and my mother is sitting in the living room while I’m making them tea. She looks at my legs. Notices my bruise (I bruise a lot – I’m clumsy!) and then says
“Oh, you have a huge bruise on your knee!”
Me: “Um, no, that’s just my knee”
Her: “Are your knees always that dark? I think it’s the gym. You’re probably doing something to make your knees bruised“
(What the hell does she think I’m doing at the gym?! Crawling?)
I scoffed, I laughed and then I went to check my knees. And then I remembered. These are her issues, not mine. I’m learning to love my body and I can’t let her bring me back to the mirror and back to examining which body parts are to be hidden today. Knees are knees. When you think about the work they do, they’re frigging works of art!
My new mantra: I am not my mother’s issues.