“Where do you see Momma, honey?”
“No, silly. That’s Auntie. That’s me…See?”
After a couple more attempts at trying to reason with a two year old and convince her that the beautiful bride in the wedding photos was me and not her mother, it hit me. My sweet niece doesn’t know me to look like that. She just knows me FAT.
A sobering thought.
You see, kids have no agendas. They aren’t beating around the bush. They aren’t holding back as to not hurt feelings. They call ’em how they see ’em. To her, I looked entirely different than the woman in the photo. That was nine years and over one hundred pounds ago. Of course she wouldn’t recognize me. I’m not that person in the picture anymore. But it doesn’t mean I can’t be new and improved.
The sheer adamancy of her statement struck a cord.
A toddler just might change my life.
“You got a salad?”
The quizzical yet amused look on my husband’s face was priceless and disturbing at the same time. We were at one of our usual spots, not the wing place or the burger joint or the craft beer bistro, the other one where pizza with extra cheese and spicy sauce was the typical fare after a buttery bread stick snack. Extra napkins required. I was looking at the menu – that I could recite like the alphabet – and nothing looked good. Before I knew what I was doing, I blurted out “SARATOGA SALAD PLEASE” the moment the waitress came over.
I think there comes a time when your body and mind are both fried. Not only from the overdose of battered foods plunged into hot oil, but from the mental war waged on ourselves. Suddenly, you’ve had enough. You crave the taste of health. Your body wants to heal. Your head used to get in the way, rationalizing how one more order of cheesy bread won’t hurt, but now even your own brain can’t take your self sabotage anymore.
It feels good to let go of the inner struggle. To stop the munchie madness that keeps you fat. In the end, it’s always just a choice.
So yes. I choose salad.
I was getting all set and ready to go full on self-deprecation mode with this. I mean, it has been nearly two years since I last checked in. And probably about thirty pounds in the wrong direction. How would I know for sure? I’ve contracted scale-itis. It stares at me with that knowing, blank, LED screen when I enter the bathroom and have to turn sideways to maneuver between toilet and tub. . . but I’m certain not to make eye contact for fear of feeling shamed by an inanimate object.
We might lie to ourselves and think “it’s not so bad” as we burgeon out of stretch pants and refuse invitations to go places, afraid of not being able to fit into our jeans, but deep down we know the truth. At least I know my truth. I feel it in my skin, in my knees, in my inability to sleep well. I see it in the mirror, in disgusted looks from strangers, in the eyes of concerned loved ones too worried about hurting my feelings to say anything about the weight gain.
But the longer we hide, the worse it gets.
It’s easy to douse ourselves with loathing. What am I doing? Why can’t I get it right? I know better, what’s my problem? I HATE MYSELF!!! But that only gets us to the bottom of an ice cream carton.
It’s love we need. It’s love I need . . . from myself.