It’s not supposed to be important, but we all think about how we look. At times, I obsess over how I look – Do these shoes match my outfit? Do I look fat in this skirt? Can anyone see that little pimple coming up on my chin? A little self-care is good. Sometimes tight pants are a reminder to skip the cookies while watching TV. But other days, my tight pants affect my mood and my concentration. When those thoughts swirl round and round my head, and make me scowl in the mirror they are probably not healthy.
A couple of years ago, I had a running buddy who was struggling with her self-image. She was always asking if she looked fat. And she wanted an answer. Everybody’s version of fat is different – obesity can be quantified by the doctor, but every woman I know has a number on the scale, or an roll, or bulge that they see, and decide that they are fat.
I told her that when I looked at her I didn’t see her. It was the truth. When I first met her, yes, I sized her up – her cute Lululemon outfit, her neon running shoes, stylish haircut and figured out if I could keep up with this gal 10 years younger than me ( I couldn’t, but she pushed me). But months later, after sharing some long walks and talks about our lives, when I looked at her, I didn’t see her. I didn’t see the five pounds she gained or the five pounds she lost. I saw my beautiful friend, the one who asked me hard questions and sat next to me when I cried, the one who prayed for my ridiculous requests and cheered with me when I told her that we were moving back to Maryland (even though it meant we wouldn’t be running pals anymore). I didn’t see her as pretty, or beautiful, skinny or fit, I saw her as my true friend.
So when I’m looking in the mirror these days, and my zipper is straining, I want to be a friend to myself as well. I’m going to try to clear that scowl off my face, ignore the negative thoughts in my head, and just put on something that feels comfortable and looks good whatever shape I’m in. I have faith that when I’m kind and happy within, I can share those kind words and actions with others who will not notice my lack of waistline, they will see the beauty within.
Rajinie is the spouse of WGTS 91.9 Chaplain Kumar. She is the mother of three kids, and works for the public school system.