Pictures and Perception

My best friend called the other day, and something she said during our conversation really hit me hard. I’ve been thinking of it since then, and it is driving me crazy.

I can look in the mirror and think I look pretty good, but I see a picture of myself – any picture of myself – and my head screams to get the harpoon.

I can relate. Oh boy, how I can relate. Except here’s the thing – I think my best friend is gorgeous, even in her pictures. I have seen a few unflattering shots of her over the years. It happens. But for the most part, I think even in pictures she is a stunning beauty.

Wait.

People say that about me too. Of course, being a slave to societal impressions, I know they are wrong, because how could a fat girl like me ever be considered beautiful, even fully clothed and made up?

There have been a lot of stories in blogs and the news lately intended to make people feel better about their shape and size, but until society as a whole embraces healthy bodies at whatever size they happen to be, we’re screwed. And thus it is left to the individual to approve of themselves, no matter what they hear from anyone else.

Yoga is helping me embrace myself better. I’m reading a book right now (I’m not telling you the name until I’m done) that purports to eventually help me embrace myself better. And I am handling the mirror better lately than I have in over a decade, despite being at my heaviest right now. It’s all about attitude, and mine is slowly changing. That stupid mirror isn’t even my biggest barrier, though.

Old pictures are.

I look at old pictures of myself, reflect (pun intended) on what I looked like the last time I saw myself in the mirror naked, and curse myself for feeling fat “back then”. I was skinnier, had a flatter stomach without stretch marks, didn’t have armwings yet, my boobs weren’t as saggy, et cetera. Does it matter to my thirty four year old heart that I was YOUNGER at that point? Heck no! Age does things to bodies. I know I can do better, but if I’m honest with myself and look at my genetics, I will never be a skinny thing that looks astounding in yoga pants. But I can feel good in my skin, feel good in my yoga pants, and that is what I am trying to do. Care less about looking good, and care more about feeling good.

I wish I could tell you that I’m way better than I ever was ever day, but I’d be lying. I still think I’m ugly as sin some days, despite evidence otherwise. I’m on a journey, though, and even though I wish I could go a lot faster on this road I know speeding won’t get me anywhere either.

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Holy. Crap.

When I began this yoga journey, I didn’t realize at the time that my life is so full of win. Just for the fun of it, I feel like doing a quick recap of how awesome my life is and has become, then we’ll get to the meat of the deal…

  • I found the strength to leave an unhealthy relationship (what, I haven’t told you? Oops.)
  • I have regained flexibility and strength I thought was gone forever
  • I have found the energy to actually work on my attitude and self image
  • I have hit a year of not smoking
  • I have gotten my credit from in the 400s to around 650
  • I have found a house I want to put an offer on.

What??? Yep. I’m gonna buy a house! I am so excited right now. To be fair, we’ve been watching houses go on and off the market for over a year now. The first time we wanted to look, we found out that my credit was barely 500 by that point. I was heartbroken, as I had checked my credit with a popular free tool only to find out it was apparently wrong.

So I buckled down, got to work, and now we’re waiting for final prequalification to put an offer in on a house we absolutely love. I don’t want to jinx it, so I’m not telling you about it. But I WILL tell you that I love it, I want it, and I hope to heck that we get it because then I can tell you all about my home improvement projects I am already lining up!

I know that I can’t really blame yoga for the awesomeness that is my life, but I can sure as heck blame yoga for being able to SEE the awesomeness that is my life. Gratitude is so much easier now, and when I am having a crap day it’s not as crap as it was before I discovered gratitude. I understand what my friends have been saying all along much better now.

It’s an awesome feeling, one that brings tears to my eyes on a daily basis lately. I hope that all of you get to experience gratitude of this level regularly. You deserve it.