We had our office Summer Staff party yesterday. I received an award for 10 years of service. I struggled with what to wear to the party which was being held at the local gardens. You know, summer dinner party at the gardens... cute summery sundress, comfy sandals... Well, the weather turned cool. I looked in the closet. I tried on a couple dresses... too snug. I didn't want to go shopping. I decided on a pair of black slacks and a top. Nothing real dressy as we were going from a day at the office directly to the party. When I got dressed, I thought I looked pretty good in my bathroom mirror which only shows me head and shoulders.....
I went to the party. I read all the comments people made about me in the booklet they put together. I was touched. Words like hardworking, efficient, understanding, kind, leads by example, excellent at solving issues, solomonesque, makes it a better and positive place to work... and on it went. When I was called up to get my award, they said more nice things. Wow, was this me they were talking about? I saw the marketing people snapping pictures. I sucked in my gut. I got my award, said my thank you's and returned to my seat. Wow! I felt good!!! They RESPECT me!
It was nice to have a moment in the spotlight.
We ate dinner and after, the group from the Grand Rapids office got together for some photos. I am short so I always get stuck in the front row. They snapped some photos and then I saw it. Me standing in the front row next to all the little, skinny girls. Me with my belly roll hanging out (gee, I thought my top concealed that a bit better than it did). Me with my round face and round body to match. I felt the shame and guilt start to creep in.
I shouldn't look like that. The blinders fell off and there I was standing naked in the spotlight! All those good feelings melted away like butter on a hot day.
I got home. I had visions of that picture being posted on the firm internet site. UGH. Really? Gosh, why didn't I look better in the mirror. Why didn't I wear a solid color? Why didn't I hide in the back row? Go get a bowl of ice cream girl, it will help.
NO! The ice cream is what got you here! It took a few minutes. I didn't like what I saw in that photo - but you know what? That is me. The people I work with, they see that person every day. They see the fat roll I think I cleverly conceal. They know I am overweight. They think I am just fine regardless. It's me who likes to hide in denial. Why can't I find acceptance of myself?
I struggle with food. Food IS my drug. I hide from life with food. The more I eat the larger I become. The larger I become the more I feel like I need to hide.
Well, there I was.... naked in the spotlight. Everyone knows. I know. The game is over. No more hiding.
Yep, that's me, on the end of the front row in the yellow print top. Not one of my better photos! We all have one of those, don't we? I wasn't going to share it.... but I felt it was important that I did.
You see, I am not alone. Even the skinny people have one of those photos. However, I am not in denial either. I have some work to do to become a healthier person.... inside AND out!
What is important isn't that I was naked in the spotlight. What is important is what I do about it. I can run off stage and try to hide, conceal and feed the shame. Or I can walk proud and DO something to change myself. I can be kind to that wonderful person they were talking about.... and I can hold her hand and help her find her way so she doesn't have to fear being naked in the spotlight ever again.
This morning the alarm went off. I hit the snooze 3 times. I didn't want to go to work. I didn't want to see those pictures floating around the office. I wanted to hide. The fourth time the alarm buzzed, I got out of bed, put on my walking shoes and got on the treadmill. If I showered quickly, I could still get in two miles before work.
No more feeding the shame. It's time for it to melt away. I am going to continue to do my part.
Ohhhhh, and lastly..... it is national dog day, which happens to go hand in hand with my Walking Wednesday's, so I will be scratching my dog's tummy and then putting the leash and hitting the trails. He thinks I'm pretty wonderful too. Someday I hope to see myself the way others do!