If I close my eyes and imagine my physical body, a jumble of images tumble into my brain like memories of a movie I once saw. I see bits of me each morning and evening: soapy water cascades down limbs, breasts and belly, to feet. The dressing and undressing. The carefully applied make-up and tweezing of brows. And then this week I saw all of me.
I asked Mr P to take a full length photo as a visual reminder during this process of getting healthier, leaner, stronger. A walden-filtered selfie at just the right angle to highlight my cheek bones, it was not.
It was sobering. To see the size of my near-naked body. The REALNESS of it. The way my breasts sit round and upright, but my belly slightly hangs. The swell of my hips. The width of my thighs and the tops of my arms.
The 35 pounds/15 kilos of extra weight I am carrying is right there: every tired, sad, bored, lonely unconscious mouthful. The times I didn’t care enough to chop some veges and ordered in. The nights when a tub of taramasalata, a stack of toasted pitta bread and a bottle of wine constituted dinner. The bars of chocolate I ate in one sitting (in case it went off). The times I sat inside or took a cab or just did not participate in my life.
All the ways I didn’t believe I was enough, I am carrying with me every day.
The most shocking thing is that all I felt for that woman in the photograph was love. I do not recognise her as me. And yet she is the woman who can run non-stop for half an hour, who can sit in a bar till closing having laughed her way through a bottle of sparkling water, who dreams up imaginative ways to make salad, who made a large bar of Whittakers Coconut Rough chocolate last two weeks (seriously!).
My one promise to myself is to honour my body and get healthy, lean and strong. And the only way that works for me is with love and forgiveness and kindness. And the shedding of this weight is a slow old process, it will take me the rest of this year (has taken the best part of twenty five years). And it needs to take this time in part because there are lessons I still need to learn along the way.
I’ve come too far to give up now. But man, I am just so fucking ready for my outsides to match my insides.