I read the other day that, in the age of Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat, social media venues that have launched a whole new “selfie” industry, our society is breeding more and more narcissists. Wikipedia, that font of all knowledge, tells the story of a young man named Narcissus:
“In Greek mythology, Narcissus (/nɑːrˈsɪsəs/; Greek: Νάρκισσος, Nárkissos) was a hunter from Thespiae in Boeotia who was known for his beauty. He was the son of the river god Cephissus and nymph Liriope. He was proud, in that he disdained those who loved him. Nemesis noticed this behavior and attracted Narcissus to a pool, where he saw his own reflection in the water and fell in love with it, not realizing it was merely an image. Unable to leave the beauty of his reflection, Narcissus lost his will to live. He stared at his reflection until he died. Narcissus is the origin of the term narcissism, a fixation with oneself and one’s physical appearance and/or public perception” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narcissus_(mythology)).
Having been a social worker, clinical and otherwise, I can professionally attest that to be diagnosed a narcissist takes a lot – and I mean a lot – more than being obsessed with one’s physical appearance and/or public perception. When I left social work, I gave away my DSM (diagnostic manual), so I won’t go any further than that. But I will say that, as so many others, I do get tired of seeing selfies…
…unless they’re mine. Oh, I have become a selfie queen. When I started losing weight 2 years ago, I discovered that I’m kind of cute! And I really liked seeing my new, thinner self on screen. Since then, I have mastered the art of manipulating light and angle and facial position to successfully camoflage jowls, multiple chins, and wrinkles. The power of retouching is harnessed in a cell phone and is mine for the clicking!
My selfies are GORGEOUS…and they hide so much:
- days when makeup is too much work to deal with
- moments when my dazzling smile is overwhelmed by stress and tears
- 30 pounds of weight gain
Yes, I have gained 30 pounds since last September. That’s roughly three pounds a month, and it’s a whole lot easier to put on than to take off.
This ticks me off, because it had been coming off so easily. Already being gluten- and caffeine-free, it seemed I could eat anything as long as I hit my bike and kept up with my walking and yoga.
There’s a big difference between 45 and 47, however; we won’t talk about the hormonal shifts that have commenced in just the last few months. We can talk about being middle-aged and in grad school again, the hours my backside has been stuck to a chair instead of on my bike, the stress of a new position that brought it’s own cortisol-inducing situations, and my growing addiction to SUGAR.
Well. At least it wasn’t 50.
And, my Heavenly Father, with His inimitable tender mercy, crossed my path with another woman whose midlife looked an awful lot like mine. As had her waist. She shared with me what she’d been doing to shed her own midlife baggage, and inspired me to do the same.
My life is, for the most part, an open book, so I’m going to post my Day 1 photos and, every now and again, I’ll share how my journey to optimal health is going. Unlike my myriad of adorable selfies, these photos are raw and uncensored: nothing hidden, nothing retouched – just an honest reflection of the state of this temple, which is now undergoing some serious remodeling and long overdue maintenance.
Here we go – front view:
Aaaaaand side view (just breathe!):
I’m 47 years old. I started my first diet when I was four. I remember the nurse who told my mother to only let me have one piece of toast, rather than two. That was the start of my battle against my body.
The body that God Himself crafted for me, I tried to destroy – fad diets, bulimia, overexercise – I tried it all. And the one time I seemed to be losing weight effortlessly and naturally – two years ago – turned out to be a trauma response. Life isn’t traumatic anymore, so it came right back.
But something has changed in the last two years, the two years I’ve been nestling into the God who loves me and calls me “daughter”: I’ve come to truly love myself.
Which is why I can post my fat pictures. Because even though this temple in which I reside is very unhealthy right now, it is still beautiful because it houses a princess. It has carried me, sheltered me, protected me [I also won’t go into how fat can be quite the protective mechanism]. It has walked and biked and danced and sang. It is worthy of my respect and my love. Not in a narcissistic, obsessive way, but in a let’s-give-you-what-you-need-to-thrive sort of way. It’s time I gave it that respect, that love in return.
If I hadn’t seen my friend’s Facebook post a few weeks ago, about her own amazing journey to health, I would still be stuck. As it is, I have taken my first step on my own amazing journey, surrounded by encouraging and inspiring people who walk with me.
What a tender mercy!