This is the first time I’ve put “before” and “after” photos of myself together; I’ve been resistant to posting them for a long time. Maybe it’s because it feels a little snake-oily or Pinterest-y, as in, “look at what this chick did to her body in 30 days or less” (and it wasn’t 30 days or less).
Maybe it’s because I worry it sends a message that the woman I was in the race bib photo is less-than, or that I was constantly sad or frustrated because I was about 40 pounds heavier; and that the woman I am in the jacket with the cinched waste is happier, sparklier, and has it all figured out.
Be it known to all who enter this blog post that the race photo was taken at a just-rolled-out 7:30 a.m., while the sassy-plaid-jacket photo was taken as I was dashing out the door to the Princess Di exhibit at a downtown museum (with ironed hair, Bobbi Brown makeup, and the hot-cha-cha boots).
What I know for sure is this:
– I ran that 5K in less than 30 minutes that morning and it felt awesome to let my legs climb those Cherokee Park hills.
– My little brother (that’s his hand on my shoulder) was with me and he is also one of my dearest friends. It’s also a safe bet that I was laughing my ass off with him that day because he’s one of the top three funniest people I know.
– I was trying to take care of myself and my body, but I was continually pushing myself further down the priority list after my family, household, bills, school, clinic and all of the other balls (chainsaws) women try keep in the air at the same time. I hung in and rallied when I could, but I was really starting to feel more tired and sluggish as the months went by. We are worth far more than hanging in there all the damn time.
– I love that black and white jacket and the dress that goes with it in that “after” photo. My knees cannot withstand the pounding of running on pavement these days, but they are still strong and take me places. And help me dance.
– The “after” me has a lightness of body, but that doesn’t make me immune to sinking into old patterns and lines of thinking that leave me with a heavy heart at times. Thinking I should be able to push and thrash my way out of the depression I grappled with in December because I’m a therapist didn’t feel light at all. It felt heavy and dark — until I remembered the true love I have for myself and asked for help.
It’s always a work in progress — a growing, shifting, baffling, and thrilling life in progress. January is traditionally a time of resolutions and renewal, and if it’s lasting change, it’s always a new day and chance to learn something about yourself.
If you are not at peace with your body and food, maybe it’s time to meet yourself at the corner of compassion and and curiosity instead of trying to harass or even loathe yourself into submission. Has it worked yet? It didn’t for me, either.
The clients I work with around weight issues learn that they are far more precious than a quick fix. I stand strong with them through the flailing and resistance (and swearing) they cling to when they want to pin all of their worth to a number on a scale that isn’t moving in one direction quickly enough.
I also just love the hell out of them until it seeps through the phone or across the room enough that they proudly surrender to themselves. It’s only then that the tools, food journaling, and self-coaching start “working” and it stops being about befores and afters and being good or bad. That’s when you can really get on with your work in the world; because that consciousness is true love.