Looking In The Mirror

When I weighed 40+ pounds more than I do now, fashion usually meant disguising my body to hide all of the lumps and bumps. I didn’t like how I looked and so I never put a lot of thought into what I wore, other than does this hide as much as possible? Loose clothing, baggy t-shirts, stretch denim – the less skin visible, the better.

Now that I’m within 10 pounds of the “normal” BMI range (wow, does THAT feel weird to say!), I’m trying to re-evaluate what I wear. I know I need to dress better, in both home and work settings.

When I come to work during the day for meetings, I’m expected to wear business wear. I see my peers dressed in beautiful tops and either fitted pants or skirts, and I envy them for looking so good. I have yet to purchase a button-down top because I worry that when I sit down the buttons will bulge from my belly sticking out. And skirts are completely a no-go – I can’t imagine letting my coworkers see my bare tree-trunk legs.

Here’s the real problem: I still have a disconnect between my eyes and my brain. I look in the mirror and all I see is fat. A lifetime of criticism from those close to me has left me incapable of seeing myself as anything other than a fat girl. I keep telling myself that it’s not so bad and I used to be so much heavier, but my brain still interprets it as jiggly upper arms, big belly and thunder thighs.

I still feel my 5th grade teacher poking my belly and saying I’d better have a growth spurt soon with a belly that big. I still remember kids teasing me for my large thighs at the 8th grade pool party. I remember a family member telling me I should focus on losing weight rather than going to grad school, as losing weight was more likely to help me find a spouse someday.

I’m haunted by even darker moments from earlier in childhood, moments that remain buried deep in my memory, but I now realize were likely contributors to my desire to hide myself from the world with a layer of fat.

I’m working against a lifetime of psychological abuse. I’ve distanced myself from the worst offenders, but it was too late - my subconscious adopted the worst of their weapons and wages war on my psyche daily. I didn’t get fat because I lost track of how many doughnuts I was eating – I mean, I DO love food, but food addiction alone can’t explain why I’m unable to visualize myself at a healthy weight.

But progress comes in small doses, and I’ve already shown a lot of progress to lose nearly 50 pounds in a few years. The internal sabotage clearly isn’t as strong as it used to be, and while I may never be able to completely silence the negative self-talk, I can work on tuning it out.

Last weekend we attended ComFest, and while there I suddenly felt the urge to buy one of the dresses I saw so many others wearing. Aaron encouraged me, and so I did buy it and wear it around the festival all day. (Although with denim capris – I didn’t have any shorts with me, and it was too short to wear without something underneath.)
I still don’t like what I see, but I’m willing to concede that it’s getting better. After all, I spent an entire day wearing a dress with my full arms and shoulders bared, no support garments underneath, and didn’t feel all that awkward.
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  1. Liz@thisfullhouse says:

    Seriously, Christina, you look AWESOME!!! I am so proud of you and ALL that you’ve accomplished and, well, you should be, too :)

  2. Sweets-you are beautiful and I love the dress you are wearing and your hair is up!! It looks great!

  3. tofuforyou says:

    You look AMAZING. Those voices with their negative self-talk are nuts – you have done incredible things over the last few years, while juggling work and motherhood. Lady, I am Impressed!

  4. Anonymous says:

    You look beautiful! You were always beautiful, this is just the outside catching up with the inside.

    Lynn P.

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