It began about a month ago. Every morning, after I am dressed for work, I do a once over glance at my attire using the full-length mirror hanging inside our closet door. It is just a spot check really. Making sure my buttons are in the proper button-holes; my shoes match my outfit and each other; no stray globs of toothpaste are attached to me.
It was completely horrifying to me to look in this mirror one morning only to see a short, squat, pot-bellied toad looking back at me. I couldn't fathom how this transition could have taken place without my seeing signs of it. Granted, I am not a skinny twig, but rather I would describe my build as athletic. The figure facing me in the mirror was the opposite of athletic. I mourned the image. I recalled how my son had patted my belly the night before asking, "When did you get so fat, Mommy?" I was stupefied. I had let myself go. My love of food outweighed my morning runs. I felt deflated...in a completely fat way.
Morning after morning my psyche took hits from the image in the mirror. I tried to embrace the belly, the boobs, the thick thighs. I tried to find outfits that would disguise my unpleasant metamorphosis. Nothing seemed to work. There wasn't a single pair of slacks, jeans, or capri's that could flatter my new figure. Every top seemed tight and every blouse seemed inflated by my expansive, barrel-shaped torso.
I took action. I upped my runs. I ordered a Pilate's DVD. I ate more reasonable servings. I bought pre-measured, single serving ice creams containers (really, why give up ice cream completely?). I replaced my Dr. Pepper with Crystal Light. Yet, my efforts were wasted. Every morning I was greeted by the toad. I was infuriated and dejected at the same time. My husband's assurances that he had no idea what I was talking about upset me. I knew he was being nice. Probably fearful I would sit on him and squash him in his sleep.
Finally, I reached my breaking point. I dressed with care for somber, family event one evening. When I opened the closet door for my once over the toad looked back at me. In an instant, I reached up and pushed the toad back with all my might. The door the mirror resides on, slammed into the wall. Take that you toad!
Then it clicked. I had noticed something when I pushed the mirror. It straightened. I looked more closely. I pushed the mirror gently with my finger. It straightened again. I watched my reflection as I straightened and released pressure on the mirror. Me, toad, me, toad, me, toad... I felt tears brimming in my eyes. Tears of sheer relief. I realized the mirror was warped. Warped from the hands of children shoving behind it to see if the world of the mirror was real. I literally jumped with glee. I raced to the kitchen junk draw for my 3M double-sided sticky strips. I stuck two behind the center of the mirror and pressed it firmly against the closet door. The mirror stuck; straightened. The fun house image was gone. The old me stood in its place.
I gained a new perspective from my many weeks with my warped mirror. I realized that I am far to hard on myself. I realized that I should continue my runs (and my new found love of Pilate's) for the joy I experience and not for a feeling of obligation to simply lose weight. I didn't like the me that obsessed about weight and food. I like the me that eats with gusto and delights in second helpings. I acknowledge that I want to have a healthy lifestyle for my benefit and to set a positive example for my children. But, I acknowledge that as I age, I will change. Some changes will be easy and some will be utterly mortifying. I will continue to apply my potions creams daily to combat or slow-down as much of the aging process as possible, but I won't deny that I will age regardless of my efforts. I will defend myself as much as I can without becoming compulsive. I believe as long as I can keep the toad at bay, I will be just fine.