Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Weighty Issues, Part 2: The Mirror.

What happens when the Real Life You meets the Mirror You?

You get to see what everybody else is lookin' at. The crooked nose. The rounded tummy. The cellulite-laden thighs. That zit on your chin looking like Mount Vesuvias.

But contrary to popular belief, mirriors don't offer us perfect reflections of ourselves. There is a disconnect between our actual image and our perception of that image. That disconnect is why I can see a girl nearly identical to me in stature and I can consider her absolutely drop-dead gorgeous, while my opinions about my own body are less than favorable.

That's what I've been trying to explain to my friends all these years... It's not the weight. It's not the size, or the shape. It's how it all looks on me. How it feels to me.

For girls who struggle with body image, looking at our bodies in a bathroom mirror can be like looking at them in a fun house mirror: everything you're seeing does exist in the Real World, but the proportions are inaccurate.

It's that distorted perception that can keep us from being completely happy with ourselves.

I know some people are going to read this and think, Okay, easy fix. So you and like, 90% of the female population see yourselves as bigger/shorter/taller/smaller than you really are. Just alter your perceptions. Beauty is relative.

It's so much harder than that. It's hard to let go of a self-perception that, while maybe inaccurate now, was so prominent for so long.

In fourth grade science, we learned about adipose tissue. Fat cells, obviously, store fat. We learned that although one can lose that stored fat, those fat cells never go away. They just empty out. A male classmate of mine turned to me and said, "That's too bad for you, Grace. Did you hear that? Fat cells never go away."

I feel like an overweight body sometimes doesn't go away. It just empties out. And it leaves behind this imprinted memory of what you've looked like. What you've felt like.

And - it is true, you know. Beauty is relative. So what if your standard of beauty isn't matching up with your physical appearance? What do you do then? I guess you change. You change either your appearance, or your mindset. And I'd prefer a little of both, to be completely candid.

Sometimes I read what I write here and I want to delete it and shrug it off like it never mattered to me. But I just want to be honest with myself and express myself somehow. A lot of what I'm sharing here I've never shared with anyone but my closest friends. And, I want to make it clear that I'm not just writing about this because I need to be flattered with compliments about my body. I don't need that. That Mirror Me needs self-approval, and no one but Real Life Me can give that.


Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for sharing this. I struggle so much with the same issues. Although friends tell me I'm beautiful, occasionally, I don't believe them. In fact, I feel like a ginormous, hideous creature. Anyway, I pray that you start to see the real you. The GORGEOUS, vibrant Grace that we all see. You really are a beautiful person. It is truly amazing to see how beautiful someone can be both inside AND out, and that's what we all see when looking at you.

Grace said...

Wow, thanks so much for your compliments and encouragement; it really means a lot to me.

While I'm sorry that you've been dealing with body image issues, I'm glad that you've found a bit of relation in or perhaps consolation in this post.
This is my second post of this nature and I'm still finding I have so much to say, but it's not easily put into words!

I want to say to you that because you can take the time to leave such a kindhearted response to my post, your true inner beauty is already so apparent to me that I'm sure that you are physically beautiful as well!
Thank you again and I'll be praying for you, as you deserve to see the truth, too.

<3 Grace.

CupcakeSniper said...

How true that is. There comes a point that peoples words mean nothing, because the Mirror you can't see that. Only the Real You, as you say, can change that. With God's enormous help of course.
See if I was to see you, I would never think this would be a problem for you, because I see no flaws in you.Gosh the mirror is mean! >_<
It's a big liar!

Thank you for writing this..part of me felt like showing it to my hubby and saying...this is how I feel. The way you wrote it into words and expressed it was perfect!

You are beautiful, inside and out, and you are the type of girl, that other girls can look up to. I thank you for your honesty and words of encouragement!

<3 Lex