Sometimes it can be one look in the mirror. Sometimes it can be the tightening feeling of a pencil skirt. Sometimes it can be that bloated feeling right before the monthly cycle. Sometimes it can be the fact that one hasn’t been on a date in six months. Sometimes it can be the wintry mix outside and the mood it brings.
But whatever it is, it’s not good. It leads to a feeling of failure, of powerlessness over the fate of one’s body. All of those negative, self-critical thoughts come flooding back, and no matter how bright the sun peaks through the blackout curtains, the darkness overwhelms the room.
People asked how it is I lost weight in the past year. My response was always “I don’t know.” A five-hour daily commute. A failed relationship. Depression. Disease. I tried to believe it’s because I finally had a good body image. I listened to my diabetes, and I stayed active (this mostly constituted walking a mile to and from the train every day).
Now somewhere in the six months since I stopped that commute (I now walk half a mile to and from work), I’ve gained ten pounds. It’s not a bad ten pounds. I’m more active now. I run almost every other day, and I actually cook vegetarian meals for myself. I’m in the process of giving up dairy. Maybe I’ve gained muscle? But the extra fat lingering around my stomach tells me otherwise.
What’s the Problem?
I’ve always given myself a 10-pound leeway during the wintertime. And I am getting older – maybe my metabolism is slowing down? I am one step closer to 30 next month.
The problem is me. When I look in the mirror and see that extra inch of fat or when I put on a pair of pants that used to be too big and can now barely fit around my waist, I cringe and sigh. I automatically think I need to stop hanging out in the 50 percent off candy aisle at CVS, and I should be watching my calorie intake, in addition to carbs.
Then I wonder if that’s smart. The last time I started counting calories I fell head first into a hole of eating disorders and insulin-reducing habits. That was four years ago. Surely, I’m beyond that now. But am I?
This is my Body
So I force myself to look in the mirror and see what others see: a great smile (when I actually smile), blue eyes that go on for days, eyebrows too bushy for their own good (an inheritance of my German ancestry), a clogged tear duct that has yet to dissippate, breasts that never grew past 15, and hips that make me a good candidate for child bearing (although I’m the last person who wants kids).
This is my body. It’s not perfect by any means. But behind those blue eyes, I see the eyes of my mother. Those dark eyebrows remind me of my father. I’m not planning to have kids, but if I ever do, those breasts will grow into it. And at least the clogged tear duct isn’t cancerous.
If I’m really going to be critical, I might as well point out the tube hanging from my jeans pocket, courtesy of Gizmo, my insulin pump. Curse the world for this blasted disease!
I’m still alive. I may have a chronic condition, but I’m still alive. It’s certainly put me through the ringer. Body image? Pish posh. I take insulin for goodness sake. Let’s enjoy being young for a while.