I’ve been thinking a lot about body image and body sizes. I can’t help but compare myself to all of the women around me, wondering how comfortable they are in their own skin. I wonder if my own discomfort with my body is as evident as it is on some women’s faces. I wonder if I’ll ever get to a place of acceptance and comfort. Considering I’m 42, and it hasn’t happened yet, I’m not holding out too much hope…. just a little hope… a tiny space inside of my head that thinks it might still happen.
I probably need to work on fixing my disordered thinking first. I know something is wrong with my perceptions, but I’m not yet sure how to fix it. I see a woman and I think she appears to be about my size. I think she looks pretty good, doesn’t stand out too much in the gym, working hard, etc. Inevitably, in the course of becoming friends, I find out that she is nowhere near my size. She’s several sizes smaller. Every time it happens (and it happens quite a bit) I get a little shock. I’m confronted with the reality that I am clearly BIGGER than I think I am. I remember an exercise from 20+ years ago, when my eating disorder therapist had me draw a picture of myself. She said my arms and legs were accurate, but I’d drawn my core much smaller than it was in reality. That was a difficult exercise.
But wait… there’s even more crazy…
There’s another part of my brain that has the opposite problem. Sometimes I perceive myself as much bigger than I am. This is most noticed looking at pictures at least a few years old, when I was smaller. I look at the pictures and now, I think I look fine. Overweight, sure… but nothing drastic, nothing to make the Jerry Springer knocking down a wall and pulling out the fat chick show. When the pictures were taken, I was sure I was a few bites of away from getting Jerry’s call.
I’m left all confused and wondering if my brain is ever going to show me a realistic picture. Some mornings, I look at my double chin and I think it’s getting better. Last night, I was getting my hair trimmed and I couldn’t believe how BIG my chin was. Crazy-making, people… crazy-making!
It’s not like I can depend on other people for the truth either. People who love me see me through their filter of love, which makes everything better. People who are my friends would never want to hurt my feelings.
Have I confused you all yet? I’m certainly confused… and not at all comfortable in my own skin. I do know I feel great when I lift something heavy. I also feel great when I see a new muscle that I didn’t know I had. That tiny part of my brain that is still hoping to find body image normality is hoping lifting heavy things with great speed will get me where I want to go. Oh… and plan B is to start saving for liposuction. I’m getting rid of this damm chin any way I can!