Navigating the Disconnect

April 23, 2008 at 2:22 am Leave a comment

At the end of our off-roading adventure this weekend, one of the guys on the trip surprised me, as we were all saying our goodbyes, by commenting, “I also need to thank you.”  “For what?”, I responded.  “For showing me that old, fat, bald guys can still get beautiful women.”  I was shocked.  First of all, I wouldn’t characterize my BF that way, although he is, indeed, a burly guy who shaves his head.  But, more than that, I was surprised that this fellow saw me as a beautiful woman. 

Today, as I was walking out of work to head to a meeting, a gentleman said, “Mmm…mmm” to me as he gave me a once-over with a big grin.  Again, it took me completely by surprise. 

Part of the reason these things were especially unexpected is that I’ve been appalled by the pictures of myself that we took on our trip.  I look awful in them, and consequently, I think I look awful in the flesh.  In fact, the horror of these pics has been weighing on my mind, really troubling me the last couple of days.  Having seen how I looked out there on the trail, I can’t believe our off-roading buddy would find me beautiful.

There’s a disconnect somewhere, and I’m not sure how to navigate it.  I know the reality of how I look, and yet I receive compliments that are counter to that reality.  I can’t believe the compliments are true.  They seem to me to be merely kind words that various people felt inclined to bestow on me for whatever reason.  It was their day to be kind to strangers or something.  I know what I see in the mirror; I know the truth of those pictures.  Yet, there must be some truth to the positive feedback; it comes from too broad a range of people – in varying circumstances – to be completely discounted.

I’m not sure what to do.  I believe I have so much improvement to make physically, much of which cannot be obtained without surgery.  It feels overwhelming and discouraging.  I try so hard not to overeat only to be confronted by these flaws that won’t go away… and the knowledge that it will only get harder as I get older.  It makes me want to scrap the whole thing.  It makes me long for the early days with my ex-husband when we were two fatties who loved each other and ate without regard for pant size.

As usual, I will keep on keepin’ on, although sometimes I’m not sure why.  Fear?  Lack of money for a new wardrobe?  The hope that one day I’ll attain some sort of peace?  That’s it; I still believe, somewhere down deep, that one day, I will be at peace with my physical self, that I will see the beauty that others, however weirdly, seem to notice.  Maybe then the compulsive cravings will stop, too, and I will be okay with it all.  Let’s hope.

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Entry filed under: coping strategies, self image. Tags: .

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