When you're 200 lbs overweight, you just become resigned to the fact that no amount of lipstick, or cute shoes, or clothes will make you adorable. In fact, I didn't realize how big I had gotten (until I saw the pictures) because I had just stopped looking at myself in the mirror completely. I'm not really sure when that happened--maybe somewhere around 290 when I decided to stop going on airplanes--so it was very strange to me when I started to see myself again.
Now I find myself marveling at my face, which has become "3-D" again. I like feeling that I have bones I didn't know I had (collarbones! hip bones! ribs!). I take more time putting on my clothes and matching my jewelry to them. In fact, my morning routine is ridiculously long now (complicated by the fact that I'm a slow riser anyway, and that it takes me a while to drink and eat enough to restart my engine) because I put on makeup every day--not just a swipe of sheer lipstick I can do without a mirror and a little mascara. I use EYELINER, which I had forgotten how much I love love love, despite requiring more time and patience than I actually have.
But here's the thing that I have come to call "The Adorability Continuum." When you lose a lot (but not all) of your excess weight, your self-image swings wildly back and forth. At one end is the side where you compare your new self to your old self (we shall call it the A side--A for Adorable), and on the other side is where you compare your current self to your ideal self (we shall call it the side that-shall-not-be-named, or the SNBN side). Depending on which side of the continuum I wake up on, my day can be very different. Let me break it down for you with examples.
When I swing to the A side, I am so freakin' cute I can hardly stand myself. I got talked into going to Old Navy by Goldilocks (even though I told her that nothing there would fit me), and I found a coat that actually fit! My first purchase at a non-Omar-the-Tent-Maker store! It's got a retro 60's vibe, fits very close to the body (in fact, I can't wear it over anything bulky still) and makes me look thin, energetic, fashionable, and (dare I say it) younger. This weekend, I got an adorable little winter cap to match, and let me tell you that I am super-cute in my new winter wear (I can't wait to go to some tree lighting ceremony outside to wear it). Even if it WAS the largest size that Old Navy had, I fit into clothes from a non-fat-lady store, and I look great.
Then there is the SNBN side. The side that only sees that I still have a double-chin and a really big stomach. The side that wonders if I'll ever get out of "plus sized" clothes, and points out that I'm still really a woman's 1X, and not a regular-size XL (yes, they are different). The side that knows that men still don't see me, and that to society I'm still just fat. The side that looks up the BMI chart to see if I'm still "obese" (I am, by the way). The side that knows that shopping for pants is still a horrible ordeal because not only am I still too big (all of my weight sits at my belly area), and now I have the additional loveliness of extra skin droopage, with a perpetual camel toe as a result.
So the pendulum swings back and forth, and I wonder sometimes if I can just slow it down. Objectively I know that I have achieved a lot so far with this, but objectively I also know that I still have so far to go. Today, I find that struggle exhausting, and I wonder if I will ever be able to settle in to my body, without being overly critical or totally self-centered, and just call it home.