Don’t Look Down

You know how that’s what they tell people who are afraid of heights?  DON’T LOOK DOWN.  If you look down, you will see the reality of where you are, and you will be in danger of falling.  So just don’t look down.  Well, that was the phrase that came to mind one night as I was taking my shower.  Yikes.  Its scary looking down.  ALL my extra weight is right there in the middle.  All the battle scars of being ‘morbidly obese’ for so many years.  Looking down makes me want to give up because I KNOW it won’t get any better.  It can become less volume, but it won’t get better.  So I told myself DON’T LOOK DOWN!  It actually makes me laugh every time I think of this now.  Which is basically every night in the shower.

Whew!  There’s been a ton of ‘body image’ talk out there in blogland.  I don’t know if it is spontaneously accidental, or if one blogger makes another one think about the topic.  It does seem to be somewhat spontaneous.  I actually thought about this post a long time ago, but was only motivated to write it after reading several other bloggers’ thoughts on body image.  Here are the links to their most excellent posts:

PJ talked about the strength she has developed in spite of being older than some and in spite of not losing all the weight she would like to.  The changes being made in our bodies are not all visible.  You can’t always see muscles in us women, and for sure you can’t see stronger joints, clearer blood vessels, and lower blood sugar!  But that doesn’t mean these changes are any less real or less important than the more ‘instant gratification’ of a thin toned body (available to only a very small percentage of the population.)

Lynn and Jill talked about learning to accept the ‘imperfect’ body that you have and coming to love it.  Here’s what I said about that in my comments to Lynn:

I deal with the imperfection in a couple of ways. I really do love the way I feel so good and so strong climbing up and down hills, and bringing in firewood and stuff like that. And I make myself look in the mirrors at the gym and appreciate how good I look instead of criticizing all the imperfections. And, since I am 55 years old, I make myself think about what I would have looked like at 55 had I never been overweight–it’s not that different.

But the truth is, I still don’t like the way parts of me look, especially without clothes. But as a favorite part of the Bible says, ‘isn’t life more than food, and the body more than clothing?’ Yes it is, and I am so very grateful for that.

Here is a ‘real’ picture of me, at 55 years old, and 155 pounds.  I asked my neighbor to take a picture of me and Noah.  When I saw it I was disappointed.  I thought, ‘darn it, he concentrated more on making Noah look good than making me look good.’  And I wasn’t going to publish it.  But in the interest of continuing to learn to accept myself the way I am, I will share it with you.

BTW, Shelley, those are Coldwater Creek jeans from the thrift store, and they just happen to have just the right waistline (for me) to minimize the ‘bulge.’  Shelley talked about the problems created by the media’s artificial altering of body image and how it plays tricks with our minds, and she also talked about how choosing the right clothes for our body type can minimize the ‘imperfections’ we see.  And in regards to my ‘horror’ in LOOKING DOWN, I will say that this is something I have done very well with–trying on lots of different styles of clothes and finding what looks best on me AND makes me comfortable.  Because it doesn’t matter how many people tell me I look good if I don’t think so myself.  Most days I think I look darn good in clothing, and I am not afraid to LOOK DOWN!

11 thoughts on “Don’t Look Down

  1. So funny, Debby – my thoughts were, in this order:

    Damn, she looks good!
    She does not look anywhere 55.
    Whoa – Noah had quadrupled in size!

    I’ll have to try on some Coldwater Creek jeans – thank for the tip. Oh, and along with “don’t look down” I’ve discovered “don’t look behind you” – got the shock of my life in a dressing room w/triple mirrors…my thighs are a mess!

    • Shelley, I think you are my new BFF–thanks for the compliments! And for the laugh–‘don’t look behind you.’ I am still chuckling about that one. See, there is an advantage to shopping at Wal Mart and thrift stores–they can only afford a single mirror HAHA!!

  2. yes Noah looks good, but so do you!!! I think you look very NORMAL.

    Oh and thanks for the linky-love! Sometimes it just really irks me that women (myself included) can get so hyper-focused on how we look, that we forget that we have value for who we are. I feel the need every once in awhile to remind everyone they are awesome no matter what size they are. 🙂

  3. really good post! And I think I mostly keep my eyes closed in the shower. Or I am busy looking to see if the shower walls need scrubbed and therefore not looking at my belly wrinkles!

    Do you watch What Not To Wear? REALLY helpful about clothes and body types. And thank heavens with live in this day and age of bras! Great bra does wonders. Although I often yearn for a corset. I am sure I would hate how it feels – but often wonder how much it actually pushes the girls UP.

  4. Thanks Vickie. I can’t stand to close my eyes in the shower–watched too many horror movies, I’m afraid.

    I don’t have a tv, or I’m sure I would watch that. Might try to get it on Netflix. Yes, I agree on a good bra. And I am loving my expensive good sports bra. Have you tried a body slimmer–I love them under my dresses. Not quite a corset, but they smooth out all the bumps. I don’t actually think you have too many bumps left.

  5. My first thought on that photo was how happy you look and how beautiful and *green* it was where you live!

    I actually study myself in order to learn to accept those things I wish were different. Either I have to make them different (through diet, exercise, or surgery) or I have to accept them as they are and love them as much as I love any other part of myself.

    Your lower half does so much for you. It moves you around all day, it walks Noah, it does your running. It’s strong and competent – so I say look down and give your legs a big thank you!

  6. I agree with Miz – you look so happy and confident in this pic!

    Great post. We can choose what to focus on. And it will make a huge difference in our attitudes!

  7. Thanks for the ‘linky love’..oh, If I could look as good as you do at 55. You look outdoorsy and fit *and it is very green there.. OH, and I love Noahs “hair” ..he has this little wispy white afro look..that is so cool. Kind of like Dandelion fluff.
    I’m new to the thrift store shopping, because I was too big before. It amazes me to go there and buy name brands, some never worn. May be the only way I ‘afford’ certain brands. And I recently bought my first new pair of jeans in like 10 years at Walmart recently..they have a tummy control panel. 🙂

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