This morning I looked in the mirror and I almost didn’t recognize myself. I saw stretch marks I had never seen before, wrinkles I am most certain came overnight, and holy moly grey hairs everywhere. On top of that everything looked thicker. The visual was not pretty in my eyes. Have I let myself go?
I stewed on this in my mind for the better part of the day. First I thought: it’s time to diet, I have to shed these pounds, I look awful. Call me vein if not liking what I saw in the mirror fits the bill! And the gym! It’s time to throw myself back into the gym, and work to get down to my ideal weight. That’s it!
Planning in my head, I will eat two hard boiled eggs for breakfast, mid morning oatmeal, a small salad for lunch, carrots for a snack, and a salad for dinner. I’ll make time for the gym at least four or five days a week. No excuses! Overtime, stressful days at work, family time….excuses. Not gonna have it, I convinced myself I will do what it takes.
I was already feeling the exhaustion from the plan with the reflection in the mirror still vivid in my brain. Although it took an hour to admit, If do these things, I wouldn’t be happy. I would run myself down. No matter how much progress I saw, I would resent my schedule and eventually rebel against my own plan.
I went on about my business of cooking dinner, prepping some breakfast burritos and a meal for later into the week to make life simpler. I find a lot of time to think while cooking in the kitchen. Of course my thoughts quickly went back to the reflection that looked back at me this morning. But my analysis slowly began to change from disgust to a more fair and realistic view.
When I was in my 20’s I weighted in at a meager 110 pounds. I was skinny as a rail and couldn’t gain weight if I had to. But then something happened. Not overnight, not even in a year; It was life. Life happened. Then life of an adult mom.
I am a proud mom of three beautiful humans. The first one left me with some beautiful stretch marks. Each line represented the fact that I carried him in my body for 9 months. For 9 months his existence and his survival depended on me. The marks left on my body don’t even come close to the marks he has left on my heart.
The cellulite came with my second human. Being pregnant with whole having a toddler meant I was exhausted. Carrying her required more rest and less moving. She tried to come into this world too early. Because she needed me to protect her a little bit longer, I couldn’t be as active. Hence the arrival of the fatty gel. So now, when I think about the way that cellulite made me sick, I recall being more than willing to slow down my entire life to give my baby girl a shot at one!
My baby, last born, brought on the weight. I was a little older when I got to carry him and we were a very busy household of four already. Our meal choices became things we could get an 7 and a 5 year old to eat. I worked full time, and then we were beginning the world of youth sports. Ball field concessions were my friend. Fat is evil, but for each pound I put on, they could never amount to the laughter and joy my baby boy brings to my world.
As for the wrinkles, grey hairs, and stiff joints….they are all here to remind me that I have lived, loved, and lost. I have worried, cried, cheered, and felt pride for all of my kids. For each late night, soccer match, baseball game, football hit, breakup, makeup, party, and milestone, I have a mark.
I walked back into the bathroom, stripped my clothes off and took another look in the mirror. This time, the person looking back at me was more familiar. She was older, and physically looks different. But I began to see memories, a history, a mom.
I will probably still work on eating better. I will probably try to hit the gym a few days a week. But I will not make it the priority. Healthy is good, and I want to be healthy for years to come, but for once, that is now my why. Not to look thinner, erase the wrinkles, or burn the cellulite. Those things are there to remind me of the important roles I have played and I will now start wearing them with pride.
Starting today, I’m going to live a little healthier but I’m going to also proudly live in my skin!