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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