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I'm not seeing what you're seeing

As I prepare for Thanksgiving, tonight a comment my cousin made to me last month kept coming to mine mind. I was together with tons of my family for my godmother's 50th Wedding Anniversary. Some of the siblings hadn't seen each other since their brother died. Others in the family it'd been more than a decade, maybe since my grandmother's passing in 1999. Although not everyone was present at the party, we did have a great time catching up.

My cousin was taking photos as everyone came into the party and had us put our names on them. After about 10 of the shots were done, she realized that there was a setting on the camera to make them lighter. It was an old Polaroid, so no adjusting after the shot is taken. I was one of the people who had to take their picture twice.

When I teased about having to take a second photo, she said "come on, you never take a bad photo - ever since we were little, you've always been photogenic." Hmm, I don't particularly love taking pictures these days, haven't for years because I don't particularly love the me I see when I look at them later. I think I should be different. But as a kid, I mean - I was cute. Just check out this little girl - with those glasses (people pay big money for frames like that now - oh, and my baby brother - he was pretty cute too!

And this one - with my grandfather. This photo is the only thing I have of my grandfather and it is a treasured memory still today. The original is in a frame in my parent's bedroom, and now in my bedroom.

But now as an adult I don't always see a picture as a representative of who I am, or more truthfully, who I want to be. I have this issue in particular when I look in the mirror. The reflection doesn't always tell the truth. When I look into the mirror, I see a broken little girl who is trying really hard to keep it together. A woman who wonders if someone will love her forever, or if she'll be single her whole life. A sinner who doesn't know how to stop doing the stupid things she does over and over again and just get over her need to be in control of everything. I also see all of the flaws. The extra pimple that just won't go away, the scars from when I had terrible acne and popping pimples seemed like a good idea. The left over stretch marks from when I was 50 pounds heavier. The remaining 25 to 30 pounds I'd just like to lose once and for all, but cannot get past where I am now. All of these things make up my reflection. I see me at my most broken, and truthfully, that isn't today.

Today I am strong, faithful, good at my job, 20% lighter. But I see that as just not good enough yet. When will it be good enough?

After Mass this week, I saw a friend who I haven't seen in quite some time. She knows about my struggle with weight and self-image. She also took me shopping when I needed a new wardrobe this year. She asked if I had lost weight. That sounds like such a lovely question to be asked, right? Whenever I'm asked, I feel so discouraged because the answer is no. She had no idea that I had stepped on the scale just that morning and it read a number 5 pounds heavier than last time. Granted I don't know how accurate that actually was - but it's there, staring me in the face. Those numbers that are not what I want them to be.

Instead of saying "thanks" - I said "actually I haven't and I'm really discouraged about it to be honest." Although that's not the safe or polite answer, it is the honest answer. 

So I resolved to do something different beginning Monday. Regarding food, I'm going to plan my meals ahead of time - tomorrow's my first day on the "real plan" recipe roulette. And I bit the bullet and purchased my favorite online yoga teacher's new "Perfect Body Yoga Program" - which seems like it wouldn't be what I need - but the name means that "the body you have right now is the perfect body - work from there." 

Week #1's mantra? "I am enough."

I. am. enough. I. am. enough. I. am. enough.

Even if I never lose those extra 25 pounds. I am enough.

Even if I continue to go to confession for the same sins of pride, being controlling, and selfishness. I am enough.

Even if I'm still living in this house as a sixty year old single woman. I am enough.

I. Am. Enough.

Cousin, it's true. You. Are. Enough.

and pretty cute too, although no sporting the stylish glasses I am
we can't all have everything, now can we!

one more, including the woman we get our amazing spirit from, Viola Francis!


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