Weighty Matters

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If Only . . .

on June 27, 2012

Raise your hand if you’ve ever been overweight and heard, “You have such a pretty face.  If only you weren’t overweight.”

Raise your hand if you’ve ever been on the receiving end of any statement that ended with, “…. if only you weren’t overweight.”

Raise both hands if the “if only” part was ever conveyed silently, with a rueful headshake and an implied “tsk tsk”.

I bet if I could see through the screen there would be a fair number of hands raised.

I’ve heard it or seen it implied numerous times over my life.  I cannot remember a time that it didn’t make me cringe and feel absolutely horrible about myself.  It must still bother me on some level or I wouldn’t blog about it now.  Honestly, I don’t know what triggered this topic.  I swear I haven’t heard this lately.  Maybe it’s just that I look at my changing self and have no concept of myself in terms of pretty or cute or attractive or . . . not.  I don’t have a frame of reference.  I simply do not know.

To be honest, if someone compliments me on facial beauty, deep in my heart  don’t believe them.  Even the most sincere person doesn’t penetrate the filter.  It’s like I’m always listening for, expecting, or automatically filling in the “if only”.

A few months ago, a man I know socially in town called me.  He learned from his wife and mutual friends that I’d had weight loss surgery and wanted to offer me support and encouragement.  “You’re in the club now,” he told me.  He had wls a few years ago and he had lots of great advice and suggestions.  He then said, “You were always pretty, but you’re going to be a knockout now.”

I was gracious and thanked him, but that didn’t stop the little voice inside that tells me, “Nope.  Don’t believe it.”

This isn’t a plea for those of you who know me or who have seen my photo to tell me I am.  It’s more of an exercise in embracing my features and body no matter where I am.   I’m really working hard on overcoming the “fat eyes” syndrome I wrote about a few months ago.   I don’t look at my face and think, “Smokin’ hot, baby.”  *snort*  As if I would.  Instead I study it and try to honestly note the progress.  Cheekbones are a little more evident and a jawline is beginning to emerge.  I’m not as puffy and I think I’ve lost at least one chin.   I look at my arms and legs and can see that the muscle definition shows now that more of the flab is gone.

I have more trouble seeing marked changes in my torso and butt.  Although there is less overall mass, they’re still so huge.  The photos help.  So do the smaller clothes.

In the long run, I don’t know whether it matters if I am pretty and can accept myself as such.  It does matter, however, that I recognize and truly accept the improvements in my body.  Skewed perception and fat eyes don’t do anything positive toward supporting my recovery.  Sooner or later, there isn’t going to be a need for anyone to add “if only you weren’t overweight” in thought or spoken sentence.   So, when someone offers a compliment akin to, “You have such a pretty face”, I’d like to be able to accept the words without flinching internally.  I’d like to believe them.

 

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3 responses to “If Only . . .

  1. Tracey says:

    Mary, When I read your opening lines my thought was “yes, but the ‘if only’ is often my own voice in my head.” I say it to myself, whether others do or not. That is what has to stop. I’m just not sure how to change the tape.

    Thanks for being my canary!! HUGS

  2. Mary says:

    There is so much loaded language for females. Why is being pretty so important? Even our baby talk tends to run along the lines of “he’s so strong/smart, she’s so pretty.” I’ve been guilty of it myself, and I’m semi-aware of it.

    As for rude comments, nothing has been said to me so bluntly, but nevertheless I understand how you feel. Indirect comments are painful enough.

    Egads

  3. Skye says:

    I hear you. I’ve had rosacea since I was 12 or 13 and until I had laser treatment several years ago, it was as red as a really bad sunburn, except around my eyes, so it looked like I’d worn sunglasses in the sun. I got the “you’d be so pretty if your face weren’t so red” or the “have you been out in the sun?” comments so many times I wanted to commit mayhem. Now that my face is more pink than red (I could use a few more treatments, but it’s light years better), it’s still hard for me to see beyond the pink or to think that people do. It’s still not easy to accept if someone tells me something nice about how I look, but not as difficult to do so as when my face was so red. I think that as you begin to see yourself more and more clearly, you will be able to see what you look like beyond the weight or lack of it, making it easier to accept compliments from people and believe them.

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