Sunday, July 01, 2012
When you think of me, how old am I?” My mother asks when she phones me one day. There’s no good way to answer this. Ever the diplomat, I say: “Gee, Mom, why do you ask?”
She goes on to explain that she’s never minded getting older. She’s never seen herself as a number, not her age, or her weight. She can remember how she felt and thought at age twenty as easily as she can remember fifty or sixty. (Really?) She is just herself. However, that morning she looked in the mirror and what she saw startled her. When did THAT happen? How did she get so old? How could she not have noticed?
I know how she felt. I've been avoiding mirrors for years. And when I looked in the mirror I didn't like what I saw. I know what it’s like not to notice how I look. A couple of months ago I looked in the mirror and thought, when did THAT happen? How did I get so big?
This morning I looked in the mirror and I thought of that phone call. I really looked in the mirror. I could see changes. Not big changes, but, well, I’m a little bit thinner here and there. Oh, those crunches with a twist that I truly despise seem to be making a difference. I can see it in the mirror. I look a little taller, which means my posture is better thanks to strength training upper body exercises. My face is thinner. Even my legs and arms are thinner. It’s happening! It’s really happening!
Now that I’m actively involved in changing myself, my body image has improved. I am consciously aware of what I’m eating, how I’m exercising and how I look in the mirror. I’m still not at the point where I love everything I’m seeing, but I do love the person I see in the mirror.
As for answering my Mom, how do I explain to her that to me she’s not any particular age? She’s just herself. She’s Mom. And no, she wouldn't let me get away with THAT answer.