Seeing yourself blurry

Posted: 09/24/2012 in Uncategorized

So, I was in a bathroom stall at the ballpark last Friday…

which is probably not something you should EVER EVER EVER start a post with…but that’s where I was when I had this weird thought (again) – and I wasn’t doing anything weird in there or anything, just the standard. Inspiration is a weird lady sometimes. The stall was high-gloss black and as I was buttoning up my jeans (yay! button-fly!), I caught a reflection of my legs in the stall door and was caught off-guard by the image looking skinny back at me. Wow – my thighs look tiny in here. Maybe I should just stay in here. Was what I thought before I came to my senses and remembered I was in a public bathroom stall and trying not to touch anything.

Yes, getting in better shape and losing some weight has unlocked the kind of vanity that would actually have me consider taking audience in the public. bathroom. stall. because it made my thighs look skinny. I am that pathetic.

But then there was this fleeting thought – that I’ve had before –

That I have no idea what I actually look like.

Not really.

Once upon a time there was this horribly near-sighted girl. She had eyesight so bad that when she put on eye makeup, she’d have to lean so close to the mirror that occasionally she would bump the mirror and jab herself in the eye. In fact, she’d have to lean so close to the mirror that she couldn’t see her whole face clearly anymore, just a specific section of focus at a time. So she never got to take in her face – without glasses – as a naked whole – or anything other than her face for that matter. Also, her eyeliner was always uneven. She was me.

Until I had lasik at the age of 31, I had no idea what I looked like without glasses on – for me, they were an inseparable part of my image as if I’d been born with them. I never tried contacts. Even 7 years later I still reach up to adjust them when I am deep in thought though they are long gone. I saw my face – just my face – without anything else on it – for the first time the morning after my surgery – when I promptly went out and bought big sunglasses. And more expensive concealer.

At that time, I was pretty excited about finally getting to know what I really look like. I was finally going to be able to see myself the way other people could see me. Cool, huh? She lived happily ever after. The end. And her eyeliner was even ever more.

But…there’s always a butt…

Just over a year ago, I saw a photo of myself. I was getting fat. I knew I was getting fat. I felt fat all the time. No lies there. Except that I didn’t feel like I looked fat. Then, there was this photo. At the heaviest weight I’d ever been. In the history of my bad photos, this was the prize-winning bad photo. The one where you stop your world and say What. The. Fuuuuuhck. Not because it was justabadpicturewhatevah, but because when you look at it, you know it isn’t lying to you. You look WRONG. A thing that was confusing as hell for me. You see, I remembered getting dressed to go out with friends that night – and specifically choosing that top because it was forgiving. On that night, I thought I looked at least halfway to decent. Pretty, even. I didn’t realize that I looked like that photo of me. That really overweight photo of me. Egads! Who is that? With all the running and such, that can’t possibly be me! Oh, it was me.

I could see myself clearly in the mirror now, but I wasn’t seeing myself at all.

In the past 14 very sweaty months, I have watched a bit of that girl melt slowly away – glad to see her go. And yes, there are these weird, oddly-timed moments where I get surprised by the appearance of my shoulders or thighs looking healthy back at me in the public bathroom stall elevator door picture window side of my car mirror. I’ll admit to gaining some vanity – and I’m okay with it, because part of what keeps me hitting the gym is that I can actually see the results as much as I can feel them. I feel incredible! I feel like I look good. People keep paying me compliments, so I’m fairly sure I look better than before.

But I still don’t think I know what I look like. Something about looking at those magazine covers yesterday, air-brushed to be blemish-free, making me feel bad, brought that home again. That I really don’t know what other people see when they look at me, and I’m not sure I ever will.

First off, there isn’t a true, decent full length mirror anywhere in my life and I’m pretty sure I don’t want one. We all know there are skinny mirrors, fluorescent lit mirrors, darkly lit mirrors, funhouse bathroom mirrors,  3rd level of hell dressing room mirrors. Hair salon mirrors that make your hair look great right before you leave the salon and then check it in the car visor mirror only to start wondering what the don’t you just did to your do. Mirrors that jab you in the eye with your own eyeliner if you get too close because they’re thug like that. Mirrors are not trustworthy.

Cameras aren’t either. There are good pictures and bad pictures. If that awful one from 14 months ago helped change my life, then there was a picture from the Downtown Dash a few weeks ago where I was actually pretty vain proud of the way my body looked standing next to Nash & Maine (both long-leggedy skinny-minnies). Cameras lie all the time. Except for when they don’t. Cameras are some fickle bitches.

And the most basic of truths – no matter how much you roll your eyes at other people, you can’t see yourself with them.

I don’t really have a point to finish this with. It makes me feel sad to think about – discouraged – though I don’t really know why. People don’t walk around air-brushed & blemish-free, so I know I’ll never look like a magazine cover. Maybe I just wished magazine covers looked a little more like me so I could recognize myself in them just a little bit. But then that would look like the cover of Woman’s Day or Redbook and that would make me feel sad too…because then I’d be bad at crafting.

Maybe I just need to sing a few bars of “I feel pretty, oh so pretty” because you can’t feel bad about yourself while you’re singing that. You just can’t. Try it.

Or maybe I should be all happy that this just legitimized that I should focus on how I feel and looks aren’t important and beauty is on the inside of the eye of the beholder – which kind of sounds like it hurts. *sigh* I don’t know. Maybe I should just be grateful that I don’t know what I don’t know.

  1. CultFit says:

    Brilliant, simply brilliant!


Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s