July 15th, 2016
I stand before the reflective surface, studying my form as it looks back at me, in all its nakedness. I cringe at the folds of flesh that spill out of everywhere- from my belly to my rounded thighs; my hips are so wide they could fit a steamboat between them.
My face! It can give a helium balloon a run for its money. Just look at those puffed-up cheeks and the double chin. Argh! Cutting out sugar didn’t help one bit. That face is set in stone, carved from cellulite that won’t melt, even if I were to take a liposuction tool to it.
Shame consumes me as I watch myself, unable to bend and touch my toes. Why are those things so far away!?
This is why I hate mirrors. They show me everything that’s wrong with me. Every damn flaw, every scar, every freaking curve that ought not to be there, grins, gloats and triumphantly preens as it stares at my discomfort.
Slowly, almost as if I’m in a nightmare that won’t let up, I stretch my arms above my head and watch helplessly as the abdomen doesn’t tighten. Nothing inches towards ‘taut’ but I can feel my shoulders cry out in pain, so I lower my hands to my side and stand there, soaking in the sight of a miserable and unloved body.
Sniffling, I pull on my pyjamas, nudge them over the curve of my waist, stretch the drawstring tight, gasp and loosen it so I can breathe again. One last time, I glance at the mirror. It doesn’t change what I see.
That night, I cry myself to sleep.
September 12th, 2016
Panting after a walk that lasted 24 minutes and consumed every energetic cell in my body, I stand before my nemesis once again, after I peel off the layers of clothing drenched in my sweat.
I see almost the same sight that I shrank away from, two months ago. But today, it’s different.
Today, I see the stretch marks that snake across my belly, criss-crossing from top to bottom, left to right, making patterns that can be mistaken for ridged grooves in a waffle.
I see the hips that bore the weight of an 8-pound baby for nine months and the same hips now smile in triumph, ten years after I pushed a screaming kid out into the world.
Thighs that overflow with flab are now seen as a strong support system. They hold up a woman who broke her personal best record for walking 3 kilometres in under 25 minutes today.
The abdominal fat hasn’t magically evaporated but I can now tighten the muscles, marginally.
And today, I smile as every bit of skin looks back at me from that reflection on my dresser. This is me, all me. It’s the me who couldn’t bear to look at herself two months ago. It’s the me who now realises that there’s a wide chasm between fit and trim. That woman in the mirror is grinning, so wide that the face bulges outwards in a chuckle. And I don’t cringe at the sight anymore.
I’ve fallen in love again, with this body of mine, and am doing every damn thing in my arsenal to make sure it’s well-oiled and running fit every day. The path’s challenging but well worth it.
Walking everyday has helped shift an important thing: not my weight, but my perspective.
Mirrors don’t lie. They just show you what you want to see.
Tonight, I’ll sleep with a smile on my face.