Someone sent me a picture the other day, that they'd taken of me. I was side-on to the camera. I couldn't believe the image I saw in front of me. I am HUGE! That was all I saw. How huge and broad and ungainly I looked.
You see, I was always skinny. I mean super skinny. The size 5 pants at the store I worked at in my late teens and early 20s were too big for me. I didn't have hips til I has about 22. I had barely A-cup breasts. And people commented on my skinniness. I think I learned that "skinny" was what I was.
And although years and pounds and pregnancy have passed, I came to the realization, after my reaction to that picture, that I STILL think of myself as that skinny girl. That is the image I have embedded in my psyche. So, when I see a picture of my size 12 (ish), mature, motherly, average body now, I find it hard to recognize as myself, to reconcile the image in front of me with the image in my head.
It's funny how the mind works these tricks. It's not so funny how miserable I felt looking at that picture of me, though it helps to view the experience in this light of an oddly warped body image and the resultant disconnect. I look at other women, the same size as me or more, and I think they look beautiful. Why can't I think the same of myself?
*Please note - this is not a cry out for help, or a fishing for compliments. Yes, I need to lose a few pounds and get in shape. No I'm not obsessed. But, I just thought this was a bit of a breakthrough for me, to recognize and acknowledge this disconnect in my inner and outer body images.