Thursday, July 7, 2011

Mirror, Mirror

I just want to preface this post. This was not easy to share. While I am 90% the kind of person to just chuck this in the air and get on with it, there's 10% that is screaming at me... "what the hell do you think you're doing?" 90 weighs more than 10 - so 90 wins.

Body image feels different to everyone, I get that. Weight feels different. How we feel I think is intensely personal. I am merely sharing my feelings, I hope that that is all it is seen as. I'm not trying to offend sensibilities. This is just me, being me and being straight with you all. The fact is, I dug myself into this hole, I have to dig myself out. Although it was much easier, and tastier getting in this hole. Ha!

You know how some doctors display a molded thing of fat and disgustedly you ask, "what the heck is that?" They explain, "that's just five pounds of fat." Welcome to my version of - below are pictures of 140lbs. Enjoy. Hope you didn't eat anything. heheh

Last April (2010) I weighed 147 lbs. I am only 5'3" and maybe a quarter inch or two. My driver's license says I'm 5'5" and that I weigh 118 lbs - now I was wearing heels at the time, and I was 18 when I got that license. I was 122 lbs when I got married. I never gained the freshman 15. I don't recall having ever been on a exercise/diet regime. I didn't have to watch what I ate. It was a great life.

March 2010 -147lbs +/-, probably + 
(please note the belly flop, and the stretchy yoga pants I wear to the gym normally)

Last year I gained a ridiculous amount of weight when I went on a crazy baking, cooking binge. It was good food. Always from scratch, always the freshest, best ingredients. I live in California - food just is better - the only place that has us beat is Hawaii, who wins that hands down. So I gained... a lot of weight. It wasn't like it snuck up on me - I was consciously, perhaps subconsciously enjoying my food, and tasty treats ... a bit too much.

April 2010 - still 147 lbs +/-  (notice the same pants - for the gym!)

For a food lover like me who loves the play of flavors, tasting something new, and exotic, sometimes comforting... it is hard to resist. There are simply so many recipes, a myriad of food to savor...there isn't enough of me to try it all. Oh, but I did try to taste it all.

Hanging out in my hometown of Cupertino with my sister, brother and our parents. 
The cousins got to splash outside the Cupertino Library. Beautiful library.

So what happened?

I felt... uck. St-uck, g-uck, m-uck, d-uck, b-uck? Okay, the last two were for fun.

If you know me - I am pretty damn confident. I, frankly don't give a rat's ass what people think. (because we all know that those that get their skivvies in a knot aren't worth your time)

I love this picture.

I do, however, care a lot about what I think (perhaps, a trait of every blogger). I could feel all that extra weight on me and it felt miserable. Like an extra sweater or two that your mom makes you wear when it's cold outside, but it's not that cold and you're just itching to get it off, because it's a knitted sweater out of wool, but you can't because your hands are stuck in these bright red mittens.

I knew I had to do something. So I started exercising, regularly (sporadic exercising doesn't quite do it). I stopped cooking/baking like a madwoman. I started to work on getting back to what I felt was comfortable, what I knew was me.

I know many people worry about how they appear to others. That's not me. For me it's all about the crazy woman living in my head (there's more people, but that's another post). I blame her for all the inappropriate jokes and expletives that occasionally pop out of my mouth... willingly.

September 2010 with my lovely friend the greek goddess 
(even my Boden dress can't hide it from me, and I am wearing make up here.)

Right now, I'm at 135 lbs. It's not where I want to be, yet. It's an improvement. My husband shakes his head when he hears me frustrated with working on my weight/health - and tells me I don't need to do it. He then compares me to other people - which, while I understand he's trying to be kind, supportive, etc... he just doesn't understand it's not about comparing myself to others. It never has been. It's about comparing myself to the image I see in the mirror.

Granted this can be complicated as, depending on which mirror I look at (the gym, my closet, my bathroom, or any shiny surface), the image can still be distorted. 

So what do you do?

It's easy for me to say thank you to people who compliment me - but what runs through my head as I thank them? It's usually an immediate dismissal of their kind compliments.

So who, or what do you trust?

 October 2010-9th Anniversary. 
I can't remember how many lbs. But I can see it. (make up occasion)

Don't get me wrong. I have my moments. Fleeting moments where I'll think - "dang girl... you're looking sassy today." Quite often, I think, "dang girl... we still got a lot to work on."

Which is why I don't have a problem running around all day, every day without a stitch of make up on my face. Not because I think I am naturally gorgeous, blah, blah. But because, I don't like the feel of make up every day, and I don't care what other people think of how I look. I like to look clean, decent and happy - but unless it's Church or a special event, occasion where dressing up is required, I just can't be bothered with it.

Beauty - is complicated. It's hard to pinpoint. I know I have my own issues to work out, with the girl in my head. I think I prefer my brand of crazy, to worrying about what others think of me.

June 2011 140lbs. 
Look how different it looks from a picture taken just four days after, 
when I went dancing with my friends, below.

A few notes. If by few, I mean... several.
1. I've never had a guy, in my entire life seek me out. Which is probably why I enjoy stories where the male simply can't resist his desire for a woman. Let me amend that, never had a guy that I found attractive/had a personality that I also wanted to spend time with seek me out/ask me out first. Don't ask me why. I have no idea. Maybe too quirky? But man, don't we all love being fiercely desired? Mr. Firth-Jackman-McAvoy text me. (heh)

2. My first kiss was at 19. It was... not what I expected, imagined, nor wanted, and it was a lot more wet, sloppy and goopy than I thought it would be. That first kiss was not a good one. However, subsequent kisses with other people, and my delicious husband were scrump-diddly-uptious. I love kissing. I have kissed four guys in my entire life.

3. The only times I've been hit-on (that I can remember, significantly) were after I had been to the gym, still in my sweaty gym clothes, in contacts, and stinky. I don't get it. Pheromones? If so, folks, I have just given you a secret potion. (post edit: also, I should mention I was married, and had two children... where were they when I was single???)

4. I am far too gifted in the thigh muscle department. Also the "baby got back" trunk too. Neither of my parents have this. I have spent much of my life trying to decimate them. Wish me luck. Also, my legs look much better upside down. (I am always looking for tips to shrink them... they are mostly muscle - so how do I shrink them - tell me!)

5. Earlier this year I was at the gym trying to get advice on eliminating my sexy thighs. Two instructors, at two different times asked me how much I weighed - when I told them I was 140 lbs at the time, they both had the same reaction. Stunned silence, then mumbly, verbal recovery. They told me I needed to run. I hate running. Hate it. Unless zombies want to munch on my brain, why do I need to run? I'd much prefer to kickbox their brains out.

6. The truth is, I miss my lithe body. I wish I could go back in time and tell that girl a couple things. First, you feel/look fantastic. Second, do your old self a favor and start an exercise regimen. Starting in my mid-twenties sort of put me behind the eight ball. I'm making up and paying for it now.

7. When I go exercise and my daughters ask me why - I tell them, that I exercise to be healthy, strong and it makes me happy. I don't explain that it makes me happy after I kill myself at the gym... but they'll learn that when they're older. Endorphins rule. For now, all exercise is fun for them. I work really hard not to talk about how "fat" I feel around them. I am not always successful - but I am trying not to warp them.

 June 2011 - taken four days after the picture above. Still 140 lbs.
Crazy huh? I'm the second from the left, fyi. (make up occasion)
Stuff like this totally messes with me in my head.

I wrote this post for my friend, the greek goddess. She's working on putting together ideas for beauty.

I wouldn't say I am beautiful. I'm too modestly Asian for that. I will say that I'm beautifully quirky. I do believe that. I don't have a face that lends itself to the proclaimed, agreed upon beauty. I have my moments of shine. I know I am aging...because the calendar says so, but I don't feel it, or see it. Or am I unwilling to see it? I do find some in my hair when I have to get it highlighted because more white hairs are showing up. But I just don't feel my age. I don't know if time has bent, but I feel like my 20s were just yesterday. Today, I just happened to have two little girls, growing up in mere seconds before my eyes. I suppose that's why, since I don't feel old - I don't feel like I should "act" my age. Maybe that offends people - I don't give a damn. It makes me ridiculously cheerful and full of energy. Perhaps that's the secret of life. Teasing, tricking our brains to act the way we want, not what the world dictates we ought to be.

You're welcome, that's two secrets I've shared with you. 

Maybe we really can... become what we think about. Maybe true happiness is simply living and defining the life, and all those other conundrums, like beauty, the way you, and you in your head want to be.

One of my favorite quotes all through high school and college was by Helen Keller. "The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be touched or even seen, they must be felt with the heart."

Perhaps, I should answer myself... "you", when posed with the question, "who's the fairest of them all?"

Taken from my closet's mirror. July 2011 137/135lbs...and counting... down I hope. 
And for those of you that do care... I don't care that you get to see my messy closet. *grin*


Bonus Features:
A post on beauty that I love. By a great man. You should read it. You should share it. We should all commit to doing a better job at being gentler on ourselves. I'll need reminders. I am forgetful like that.

A post I enjoyed - I love the idea of tailoring clothes to fit our different body types. I would love to have my own, inexpensive mind you, tailor. When I was at BYU studying broadcast journalism, buying suits for on camera work was a pain. In fact, it was what I thought was a oddly proportioned body that messed a lot with the woman in my head. I had to buy a size 4 suit jacket and a size 6 skirt/pants. So I could never, ever buy a complete suit set. Or if I did, the top would be too big for my tiny boobs. Now they're tiny, and deflated. But they're mine. They're glorious for providing an endless supply of milk. I missed my true calling as a nursemaid.

These last couple days I've seen articles on the vainest cities - funny as I was working on this post for a couple weeks now. "You're so vain... you probably think this song is about you, don't you..."

ps. I shared my weight. Do you know how big that is? (pun, intended) Now, don't go spreading it around. Ha!


Greek Goddess said...

Thank you so much. You're wonderful. I'll be posting my essay soon, too. For the record, I think you are gorgeous. "Girl you're amazing, just the way you are." It's an intensely complicated subject. I've learned a ton in my research. I'll be emailing you once I get my thoughts together. Once again, thanks for sharing and being so open and honest about it all. D.

Nicole said...

Thanks. i needed that!

Vivian said...

I feel every way. The weight gain, the thighs, the working out, being hit on. We think we see perfection in other people. oblivious to the fact that they have their other crosses to bear. So while my body is not perfect I rather have that imperfect than let's say my children's health, or my mind, etc. You look GREAT. Happy to see you get out and dance, too. I would join you if we lived close :)

Queen Scarlett said...

Greek Goddess - all because of your fascinating questions.

I have a quote my friend Sally gave me - it sits next to my computer:

"Do not wish to be anything but what you are. But be that perfectly." Working on it! ;-)

Nicole - You're welcome - I don't comment often, but your pictures are fabulous. Teach me! ;-)

Vivian - Girl, I'm all about the dancing. Too bad we don't live closer. I miss my BYU days of hitting up Club Edge/Omni on latin nights. I swear my hips are part latina. Caliente!

I agree - I'd rather I have to deal with my crazy body than have to deal with anything for my kiddos/hubby.

Thanks for commenting ladies - it's so nice to know who's listening.

Christina Lyon Maughan said...

I relate on so many levels.

Your comment about men and your relationships with them totally cracked me up because that exactly describes my past dating life.

Just a dumb reminder, but don't obsess about your weight. BMI and crap like that are simply that-crap! Very few people can maintain a 20 yr. old body for the rest of their life and still be happy. Working out, being strong and healthy are so much more important than a number. AND, I am saying this because I too have been worrying about numbers on a scale, but damned if I don't feel great and have more energy than I've had in 17 years!

The moral of that lecture is- go a little easier on yourself.

Your blurb also inspired me to finally start working on my thoughts about beauty. I hope they turn out as fun and coherent as yours! ;)

Queen Scarlett said...

Christina - you are right - we can all be easier on ourselves... or is that how I got here. HA!

I totally get the BMI/scale numbers aren't the only things to take into consideration... but girl, I need to lower it so I have enough padding to enjoy food ... on occasion. Need to break the habit of indulgence. ;-)

There have been times, I wait, after I've visited the loo, naked, for those three numbers to show up to determine if it's going to be a happy or grumpy day.

Maybe this is what happens to type As who realize you can't control things as a parent... so we work on goals like this. Who knows! Too many thoughts on this topic.