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Mirror, Mirror on the Wall

Today instead of looking at things as stupid or marvelous, I searched for beauty in simplicity.

At lunch, I trekked off to Pilates. It’s always a good workout, but also centers me in ways that a spin class can’t touch.

As I thought about stupid vs. marvelous and twisted into one of the seated moves, I caught my reflection in the mirror that stretched the length of the wall. I saw a beautiful woman – not fat, garish or any of the other negative terms I often attach to my body, but someone sitting up tall taking care of her body and soul.

I have to admit there was a moment when I wondered if the Y had placed mirrors along this wall that were meant to flatter. I glanced at the woman next to me, but her reflection looked no different than what I saw in the flesh. Instead of chastising myself for thinking the likeness was not the real me, I thought about what that woman brought to my world as if we were two separate beings.

For just a moment, I looked at her in the mirror and saw me – strong, independent and yes, beautiful. I wondered why I didn’t let myself cohabitate with this woman more often, and yet wondered what might happen if I talked to her on occasion.

It’s been a long time since I looked at my reflection and saw the real person. After first losing 100 pounds, the mirror image looked strange, foreign, unreal. From time to time reality and reflection converged, but quickly splintered leaving me squirming for answers.

When I was at my heaviest, I knew I was overweight, but I never thought I was THAT big, and when I was at my thinnest, I always compared myself with large farm animals. How can I find some peace in all of this?

As I talked to my counselor last week, she asked if I had been overweight all my life. I quickly said yes, but then realized it might not be an accurate statement. I can look at old photos, and remember thinking I was fat, really fat, but the faded Polaroids don’t reflect that either. There were certainly times when my weight fluctuated as a kid, but now I wonder how much of this mindset centered on reality.

I do need to take charge of my recent fluctuation. It scares the hell out of me, and I never want to go back to the woman hiding beneath an invisibility cloak, but today I saw something else, something worthwhile, something simply beautiful.

How closely does your reflection in the mirror match the image in your mind?

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3 Responses

  1. I just had to comment… I have an interesting dilemma. There is visually something other than my body size which is a sore spot for me… drastically thin hair So, even though I can look in the mirror and be extremely proud of my weight loss, I still see a balding head staring back at me. I hate it because it makes me feel like I will never be truly comfortable with the way I look, no matter what I weigh.

    I want to cry when I see a photo of myself taken from the side or from someone taller than me. When I look straight into the mirror at myself, the thinning is not *as* obvious, but to everyone else and at all other times, it is VERY obvious. I want to feel good about the way I look, but the expense and *fakeness* of a wig make me uncertain that I want to wear one. I just don’t know. I’m trying to decide whether I want to be happy with what I have or try to change it and risk appearing like I obviously wear a wig. I’ve been to nice wig shops, but even trying on a $300 wig still looks fake to me. Maybe it’s just because I’m not used to myself looking that way. Ugh.

    Sorry to ramble. This was your post, after all. :)

  2. That’s a tough one. I don’t have any knowledge about this. I think thinning hair is a harder thing for women to deal with than men…not fair.

    I do know someone who got the hair implants, and they look great. I have no idea what they cost, but they look totally natural.

    Bottom line though, I think we all need to figure out how to be happy in our own skin. I’m not sure yet how to do that, but I’m going to keep on trying.

    I think it is more about a shift that needs to happen mentally. I just wish it was easier.

  3. Learning to see ourselves beyond our bodies is a tough nut to crack. I sometimes wonder if I’ll ever get completely “there.”

    But we keep trying, right?

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