True Beauty: The Weight Of My World

This post has been churning in my head and in my gut for about two weeks now. I don’t want to write it. Yet, I’m compelled to write it. Maybe the writing will be part of the healing.

Reading this passage from A Holy Experience brought me to an all to familiar feeling.

Sometimes when I stand skin nervous, too exposed, before the hangers and the choices, his hands find the waist and finger around the bare that has stretched wrinkle thin six times and I cringe. He says it then in the light, what he whispers in the complete pitch with the door latch hooked close. I doubt that word beautiful from his lips and I shake my head and I regret hurting him, but I can’t help it. To accept it would seem a lie but he says it is his God-honest truth. Why do I argue?

The Feelings

The cringing, the doubt, the voice inside my head telling me it’s all a lie.

I feel it when John puts his hand on my waist leading me in to a restaurant or initiating a spontaneous dance in the kitchen. I feel it when my son tells me I’m beautiful in his most earnest heart-felt 4 year old way. I feel it when my daughter pats my stomach and says, “Mommy, you have a fat tummy, but I love you!”, as only 4 year old honesty will allow.

I feel it more when I am alone. When I have to get dressed, yet again. This never ending torturous process of dressing on a daily basis. The putting on and the taking off, over and over, trying so desperately to find something, anything that will not make me hate the obese image reflected in the mirror.

The disgust and the shame are overwhelming. It’s paralyzing. It’s restricting.

I hate to leave the house for fear of running in to people I know. Embarrassed at what they may think of me. What they may tell their spouses or friends about me.

I rarely socialize, even with my friends. The ones who have known me for years. The ones who know about this battle with my weight. The ones who have seen me gain and lose 40 to 60 pounds three and four times now.

I am so uncomfortable in this skin. I feels like it belongs to someone else.

And the feelings that accompany the weight are just as unbearable. They make me distant. They make me silent. It’s a gentle mix of apathy, hopelessness and nausea.

The Logic

Logically, my head knows this is not hopeless. It knows that what I am feeling is not to be trusted. It knows that I am beautiful to my son and I am loved by my daughter. It knows that John is telling me the truth, his truth, when he says I am as beautiful as the day he met me. (I am jealous of that 15 year old girl.)

Logically, my head knows that how I look physically is not important. It knows that where I am spiritually is the most important. It knows that regardless of what the scale says, or what anyone else says, God loves me and my heart and thinks I am His beautiful creation. This I know is true.

My head also knows how to fix this, how to change it, how to make it right.

My head knows how to turn around an obese BMI score of 31.5 to a healthy 24. Heck, I’ve done it multiple times. Last summer I was a size 8, the summer before that a size 4, and finally the summer before that a size 16, just like today.

The Struggle

What my head doesn’t know is how to stop letting the feelings control my actions.

At least for today.