Until I saw that picture, I had no idea.
I mean, I knew I would need to order my matron-of-honor dress one size up (as usual). And, I knew I was already wearing a size 26, but didn’t understand what that really meant. I wasn’t in denial. I knew full well I was up-sizing my wardrobe more often than I should have been at full-figure specialty stores. Those stores had dressing room mirrors, and I saw myself in them as I necessarily self-modeled pre-purchase.
At home, though, without a full-length mirror, l rarely felt the need to review below the bust. Make-up made everything ok, except for airline seatbelts and movie theatre seats. Occasionally, I would back up outside the bathroom door to try to get a glimpse of the overall picture. I was mostly looking to determine that there wasn’t any non-existent-waist bunch-up. I didn’t need a mirror to tell me that if I could easily glance deep-down the 4x low scoop-neck designed more for a large and tall woman than a large and short one, so could everyone else.
For me, I just didn’t see it. The way we see ourselves every day, gives no herald of big change. Steady creeping leaves little to compare this week to last week, or even this month to last month. There was no step away interval, and I didn’t think I needed one, anyway. Until, that picture.
How did my mind play this trick on me for so long? I should have seen exactly what shown in a tri-mirrored, harshly lit, try-on cube. I should have seen it. I just didn’t.
The picture became my “Julia,” based on a 1986 Lifetime movie about (to simplify) a brain transplant. The first time the brain sees itself in its new body, it see what it expects to see: Julia. As a tall, beautiful model Julia models a nightgown gift in a swish. At the second turn, Julia’s brain now reports her transplanted body more accurately. The problem is that it is nothing like the body she had.
This isn’t at all the plot of the movie. The movie is more about dealing with the issue of two husbands who both believe she is their wife, with an after-thought warning to the beautiful people about what happens when they are no longer “beautiful.” But, the mirror scene is what’s stuck with me all these years. Revived by a few episodes of “The Swan,” it was enthralling to imagine being so unsure of your reflection that you must touch it.
Reality caught up to me in that picture.
I’ve had 10 years to wonder about this; and to try to correct it. I deeply regret that my dear friend’s wedding album features that creature I still don’t recognize as me. Of course, I know it’s me. I just never felt that way. Perhaps, because something more important over-rode whatever the mirror might have said. I had someone who loved me for my brain and my heart and what later became my soul.
I have just as hard of a time now believing “that was me,” as I do now knowing, “this is the new me.” I can pick up a size 16 pair of pants and without trying them on, based on the brand, know from experience they will fit. Yet, I hold them up in front of me, every single day before dressing, and am momentarily seized by three seconds worth of “there’s no way I’m getting even one leg into these” panic.
Even with the new picture, mirror-image reversed, I am the least comfortable I have ever been.
All that extra saggy stuff; yeah, I hate it.
Being able to buckle-in without an extender; yeah, I love that.
Missing someone who accepted me as I was; yeah, I’ve got to learn to accept me as I am.
Quote for the Week:
Enjoy This Week’s Discovery Links:
Who is Julia?: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R9nN9va4y_4
Misleading Mirrors: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/22/science/22angi.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0
A Picture of Who You Used to Be: http://www.lightsource.com/ministry/refuel-with-rick/articles/a-picture-of-who-you-used-to-be-14032.html