What do you see when you look in the mirror? Do you see who you really are or do you see who you used to be?
I pose this question because this is one of my struggles. I have to remind myself daily that who I see in the mirror is who I actually am. For so long I lived as person unhappy in my own skin, pointing out each and every flaw when I would look in the mirror in the morning. Now when I look in the mirror, I question if the person looking back is actually what I look like. My view of myself is still as someone who weighs 275 pounds.
It does not matter how much weight I have lost, the amount of clothing I have replaced, or the fact that my closest friends and family can’t recognize me from far away. I still do not see the drastic different that has taken place over the past few years. It is only after a minute or two that I have to remind myself that the person in the mirror is me, I just do not look the same. I have to go through a list in my head to recall what has taken place, how the various distances of running, strength training, and shifting my thinking has gotten me to this place.
This place where I am the strongest I have ever been in my entire life. Where I can do things I only used to dream about doing. Where there is never a doubt in my mind that something would be completely off limits based on my size. Yet, even though I know I am in a good place and in the best shape of my life, I can’t accept that when I look in the mirror. My image of myself is still of the woman who has low self-esteem, who is more concerned about presenting a fake self to the world, and who is limited by the size of her body.
The real question is, how do I go about changing how I view myself? How do I look in the mirror and actually recognize myself as the person I currently am today instead of who I was two years ago? I know that this is going to be a long process to accept who I am presently. And at times it will feel isolating, thinking that no one else has gone through this. But then I read bog posts or articles from women who are going through very similar experiences, and I am reminded that I am not alone in this struggle.
I’ll leave you today with this excerpt from Katharine Lackey, who wrote about her own body image struggles in Women’s Running last week: “It’s been more than two years since I lost the weight, and as you can see, I’m still struggling. But I know that someday—hopefully soon—I will accept by body as it is: a beautiful machine that has powered me through hundreds of runs and dozens of races.”
Until next time
-Be Fearless, Go Boldly