If a Picture is Worth a Thousand Words...
Then let give you my particular view.
This is how I look most days. Minimal make up, turtle neck or long sleeved "T", and some sort of scarf around my neck because, as most of you know, I am almost always cold. This picture was taken after I had shopped around, for several days, for new eyeglass frames. I found and purchased these frames at Sally's Optical Secrets and brought them to my optometrist's office for new lenses. You all are receiving a sneak peak. I just adore the detail along the side, don't you?
As I look at this photo, I see how fatigued I am and am making a mental note to at least wear some lipstick when I venture out! However, upon closer inspection I was taken aback by my particular body image. You see, I have been feeling quite pudgy lately as I have not been running or working out as I should. I blame the cold weather and this chronic sinus congestion for the lack of energy and motivation. And, if truth be told, I have gained some weight since September.
What I'm about to tell you is the god's honest truth: The reason this photo is a reality check for me is that, normally, when I look at myself in a mirror, I see inflated tummy, bulging thighs and the onset of a double chin. I also see wrinkles and frizzy hair with a lack of finesse or style. I focus on what I deem to be imperfections (skin, teeth, hair, weight, etc). When I dressed on this particular morning I felt as if my clothes were too snug. But now, in truly attempting to see what others see, I notice that my clothes are literally "hanging" off of me. I just asked my daughter...is this how I always look? She said yes. I'm stunned.
The reason this is upsetting is that, long ago, I battled a severe eating disorder. In college, I was anorexic and my weight was down to 90 lbs. I lived on cigarettes, coffee and beer. When I quit smoking and started to gain weight, I was appalled. That is when bulimic behavior entered into my life and I began to purge. Not by throwing up but through the heavy use of laxatives and excessive working out: I'd run in the morning, take an afternoon aerobics class, then run again in the evening. I would then abuse laxatives before going to bed. A vicious cycle developed that I was powerless to stop.
My wake up call was when I attempted to receive some help at the local eating disorder clinic. They wanted to admit me right away. Uh, no...I was single, supporting myself, and couldn't afford to miss work and be hospitalized for 2-4 weeks. It was quite a struggle but I took matters into my own hands. It took several years but during that time I found God and both my spiritual journey and journey to recovery began.
I can see now, through the new lenses of reality, that this eating disorder has a way of rearing it's ugliness and lies back into one's life. All it takes is a skewed body image and an unrealistic view of "perfection".
Please note: I am not currently demonstrating any anorexic or bulimic behavior. Just the skewed body image that can trigger the disorder to take hold. I also realize this post just touched the surface of the insidiousness of this disorder and maybe, someday, I'll be brave enough or comfortable enough to share on a deeper level.