This past week, I saw someone who had not seen me in a very long time, and the look on her face was one that I have become accustomed to seeing. It was a look of shock and amazement as she glanced up and down, commenting on how good I look, and how much I have changed.
I love hearing things like this, but I also hate hearing things like this.
I love that people think I look good and that it’s very obvious how much weight I have lost since they last saw me, but it also really hurts me because I don’t think I’ve ever seen myself the way others see me. I can look at photos of what I used to be, and the number on the scale keeps changing, but the way I view myself doesn’t change quite so quickly.
Now of course, I know that I have, and I know that I feel so much better than ever before. My back doesn’t hurt daily, my feet don’t ache, and I have more energy than I ever used to have at any point in my teenage years.
But that doesn’t always register when I look in the mirror. Occasionally it will, and it feels amazing when I truly recognize that I look good. I just wish that it happened more often.
Most times when I look in the mirror, I see someone who needs to lose weight. Someone who is still fat, someone who looks bad, and someone who can’t control his appetite.
I know that it isn’t true, but that’s something that is going to take a long time to fix. Back in 2013 I first saw myself, and I think from that moment on, I haven’t been able to see anything else. I ignored how I looked for so long that when I finally realized what I had become, that image became permanently engrained in my mind.
There are still days when I hate myself and how I look. There are times when I don’t believe the things people say, and I brush off their kind and excited words. I don’t know what people are seeing, but it isn’t what I see.
I have always heard that people struggle with this who are anorexic or bulimic. They may be incredibly skinny, but that’s not how they see themselves at all. There was a time in my life when I didn’t understand this. How could they possibly see themselves as anything other than skinny? Well, I finally know how to empathize with this feeling.
I want to look at myself the way other people do, and I am sure that one day I will. For now though, I look forward to the random moments when I catch a glimpse of myself for what I truly am. It happens in the reflection of car windows in a parking lot, the puddles on the ground, or when I walk past a mirror in a store. I catch quick glimpses of the real me, and those glimpses are what keep me going.
I love encouragement and I love the things people say. I never want that to stop, and I long for the day that it feels more real to the one person that truly matters.