I look at myself and while the body in the mirror is mine, the shadow that follows me while I’m walking isn’t. The woman looking at me in the mirror and in pictures can’t be me (can she?). She looks so tiny. I mean, people in the “regular” world would laugh at my version of tiny, but really she is (to me). Mirrors and pictures now perform a normalizing function –before, they served mainly to torture me. I’d dash past mirrors or silently suffer their mockery if I couldn’t avoid them. Pictures were particularly cruel; even on my best days or in my best ensembles, I’d think: I don’t look like that. There’s no way I am that size. I carry my weight well, that’s just a bad angle…
Here’s the crazy thing: I know it’s me in the mirror, but I don’t know this me. I haven’t been this weight since jr. high – when I was shorter. There was a giant gap in time between being mandated to get weighed in school/for the doctor then and the end of high school (maybe even college). I am pretty sure I avoided the doctor for a good three if not more years in that time. I didn’t want to get on a scale, and I certainly didn’t want anyone assessing me without clothing on. [Yes, I was willing to pay the price if there was any strange ailment that befell me.]
Now, I know something for sure: pictures and mirrors tell the truth. At this stage in my losing weight, they’ve actually helped my brain to get past plateauing or “feeling” giant. [Yes, I can still have those days.] In recent pictures, I marvel at myself. My face is so narrow, my body is shrunken. The mirror says: “hi, you’re way smaller” (when my brain is saying, “good god we need to walk another 72 miles to avoid gaining weight again”).
What’s reflected is partly mental – and I know that – but the things that used to haunt me are now the same ones keeping me motivated.