“Mirror, mirror on the wall…”
With that, the evil witch asked for a co-conspirator in her self-admiration.
How many times and in how many ways have I asked the same question. If not actually, at least something along those lines.
I watched my video yesterday and while I was proud that I was taking my first steps on this journey, I was also sickened. There it was in High-Def, and image i could not escape. THAT is the reality of what I look like. I don’t think it was the camera that added the ten pounds to me, I believe the fault lies with Dr. Pepper, Chips, Twinkies, second-helpings, a lack of discipline, and a break from reality.
If you go in my house you will find no mirrors that extend much below chest high, except in the bathroom. Oh, I frequently check my hair, my face, my collar but seldom “all of me.”
You know I always told people at family events “Don’t take a picture of me” and “I look awful in pictures.” I always blamed it on not being as photogenic as those others; those ‘pretty-people.’ But the reality for me, and for most morbidly obese people, is I didn’t like how fat I looked in pictures. I did not like the reality of having to face my obesity in undeniable full color. Reality can be cruel.
So, I did as most people do. I wore vertical stripes, strategically placed bright colors, wore primarily muted tones or dark colors. Who am I kidding? You can paint the Grand Canyon black or stripe the canyon walls vertically all day long, you still are not going to reduce it to a pot-hole.
It’s funny, and kinda sad, but I remember the times that I stood in front of a full length mirror thinking literally, “You know, if I stand this way and you see me from the front, I really don’t look all THAT big?! What lunacy! I am sure that a psychologist would tell me that it was a lie based on self-preservation, but the reality is my self-preservation was/is killing me.
The mirrors, the photographs, the video all of them will only speak to you if you allow yourself to see and hear what they are really saying without filtering it.
Too often we treat them as if they are carnival mirrors, wildly exaggerating reality. We either see things for less than they are or as exaggerated. It is fun in a carnival fun house, but it is a dangerous game in life.
What if I had listened when the mirror had told me I was 10 lbs overweight, instead of “sucking in”, focusing on how good my hair looked that day, or blaming it on the unavoidable “freshmen 10”, “getting married”, “Reaching 40” or any other excuse?
What if I had refused to listen when the mirror distorted and told me, “You’re fat, nobody is going to want to be around you like that.” “Nobody takes you seriously. For Pete’s sake, you look like Junior Samples.”
In the bible we are warned in the book of James not to be as one who stares intently into a mirror at their own reflection then walks away forgetting what we have seen. But rather to gaze into the truth and accept what it says. Those who do so will be blessed in all they do. This is true of spiritual things, it is also true of dealing with obesity.
We must accept the TRUTH about what the mirror, the pictures, and the videos are saying about us without distorting the image, carnival style, to be bigger or smaller than it is.
So many times I have looked in the mirror and focused on what I wanted to see, or filtered it through the images of a more athletic time and dismissed what I was gazing on as an anomaly or fill my self full of negative self talk that drove me to the kitchen.
More recently though, the reality would be overwhelming. In those times, I would just resign. I would tell myself there is no hope. I can never go back, I’ve let it get to far out of control. I would tell myself, “Who are you kidding? What difference does it make what you wear, it’s gonna look like a tow-sack anyway.” Of late, except for special occasions, I allowed myself to look somewhat slovenly. Because “it didn’t matter.” Or, I just hid from people at home to avoid the looks and stares.
Those are lies! That is not what the mirror is saying. The mirror does not deal in opinions or in distortions or feelings. Mirrors only know reality.
Today, this is what I know is real:
- I can deal with reality.
- I am overweight; morbidly obese.
- I have failed, I am not a failure.
- It is not hopeless.
- I have established a beach-head and I am strong enough today for this fight.
- I cannot win tomorrow, but I can win today.
- I can refuse to accept any distortion, positive or negative.
- Today, I am thinner, even if imperceptibly, than I was yesterday.
This is what the mirror is saying. As to “who’s the fairest of them all?” Does it really matter as long as I am the healthiest that I can be? No more Mutual Admiration Club meetings in front of the mirror in the mornings. From now on, let me look and pay attention and deal with it honestly.
Juice on. Join the Journey.