Too many mental tabs open today.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Mirror, mirror

I'm not a big fan of mirrors. That's not exactly true, in the past I was not happy passing a mirror, I wasn't thrilled with the image staring back at me. I'm the same way with pictures, which is why I always preferred to be behind the camera. It wasn't just about the way I looked physically, I couldn't take looking into the eyes of the impostor directly in front of me.

During this past year I went through an emotional and physical metamorphosis. One is quite obvious and the other not so much. The irony for me is that people seem to fixate on the physical transformation rather than the emotional one, which to me was the most difficult, important and visible. If we run into people we haven't seen in a while I always get the same questions regarding my weight loss: How did I do it? Was it difficult? Could I write down the foods that I don't eat? While I am happy to tell them all the information they are seeking I am surprised that they never ask why I did it. It's not like it's huge difference, I went from being around 135ish to 110, I was always an average weight and wore a size 6. I had a few extra pounds that I wanted to shed but made no huge effort to do so. Eliminating certain foods from my diet made me healthier, not eating junk food as a comfort and dealing with what bothered me made me slimmer. The weight loss was really just side effect of the spiritual journey I took to get back to myself. Why is it the one thing that people cannot stop talking about?

D, K and I went to a party on Saturday, a good friend of ours (and the best man at our wedding) was turning 40. I was happy to be celebrating this milestone event but I knew that we would be seeing people who haven't seen us in a while and the inevitable weight loss questions were bound to occur. I knew this was going to happen based on my wardrobe choice as well, I wanted D to have some nice arm candy for a change, my outfit might have been a bit much for a backyard party that started at 3PM. Whateves, that's how I roll now. I was right. Not that this part really bothers me, I mean people telling me that I look great (how bad did I look before??) is always nice to hear. They see the transformation that took place on my body but keep missing the one that took place in my soul. One friend even asked, with great concern if everything was OK. After about 15 discussions on the evil of carbs, mostly said with a glass of wine in my hand (the only bad carbs I try to consume), I had a few converts who wanted to get ready for beach season. As the day turned into night I finally heard the question I had been waiting for all this time: "So why did you do it?"

It felt so good to tell someone the truth about my journey and how I needed a personality make-over. I told this friend, LC, that I had become a stranger in my own head and I didn't like it, I talked about how great it was to confront my fears and win. To do things that I have always wanted to do and say but never had the guts. I would have shown my tattoos but I didn't think dropping trou was a good idea. It also felt good to hear that I looked happy, that meant more to me than hearing anything else. D and I also had a very personal discussion with a friend about the realities of marriage and how to avoid going down the same path that we did. A year ago we have not done that, we would have heard stories about someone's troubled household and walked away, only to say how thankful we were it wasn't like that in our house (it was).

In the past, D and I would go to these parties and separate at the door only to join each other in rounding up K to leave. While we didn't spend the entire day joined at the hip, we did spend time together enjoying the party as well as each other. It was nice to pass each other and share a smile or a touch, to share looks that meant "I love you" instead of the usual "Can we get the hell out of here already?"

So yes, I lost some weight and my body has taken on a different shape. I look better and dress to show it. People are amazed that it happened so fast and it seems so easy. What they are really seeing is the physical reaction to an emotional process, they notice that my hips are smaller but they also have to notice that a smile has replaced the usual scowl. They have to notice that I am genuinely happy and more relaxed, how could they not see the difference in the way D and I interact with each other? I have many answers to that question. The main one being that we (collectively in this case) need to know that other people are unhappy, it validates our own strife. D and I were probably role models in that arena. Now we are showing off a different reflection, one that takes lots and lots of work. I guess now I understand why people fixate on my weight and not my happiness. It's relatively easy to shed pounds, it's extremely difficult to shed the past and all it brings to your present and future. I'm proud of the work D and I have done, it shows in mostly all we do now. D used to say that I did this for me but I think now he realizes the real reason. In fact yesterday I told my friend LC that I actually did it for D, who then went to tell D that he was a lucky man. He had no idea how right he was.

I think now when people ask me how I lost weight I'm going to tell them the truth:

I stopped living in the past and the pounds just slipped away.

Now when I walk passed a mirror I can actually look into and not cringe when I see my reflection. This has nothing to do with the 25 pounds I lost but the 25 years that no longer drive me.

Eat your heart out Snow White!


  1. I really look forward to your blog. Thank you, thank you, thank you

  2. Good for you! you have undergone an external manifestation of an amazing INTERNAL TRANSFORMATION!!!

    I love your blog---I relate to so much of it!!

  3. When I lost weight after my 2nd divorce I thought people were going to send me to rehab. I was stopped at work with looks of concern asking if I was okay. The words "anorexic" and "eating disorder" came up so many times. I told them I started running marathons and they thought I was insane. Still.

    But I get you, girl. I really do.