There’s a girl in the mirror
I wonder who she is
Sometimes I think I know her
Sometimes I really wish I did
–Girl in the Mirror Britney Spears
It’s rare that the words of a teen pop star would reflect how I am feeling, but today Britney spoke to me. I have been attending a gym recently, to add more regular cardio to my workouts. I haven’t spent much time on the actual floor of the gym where the elliptical machines, treadmills, recumbent bikes, etc are housed. I have been attending the classes. The classes appeal to me in a couple different ways. One, they vary, so it’s not like doing the same dvd workout over and over again. Two, there are other people in the class and I am not about to be the person who quits and walks out mid class. That’s something I do when I am at home. Since taking these classes over the last few weeks I have found there are a couple reasons the classes don’t appeal to me. One, I am uncoordinated and while I think I am the bomb in my head I am quickly reminded that I am NOT by my number two reason for the lack of appeal. MIRRORS. EVERY WHERE!
I catch glimpses of myself in these mirrors and I am shocked at how unlike the instructor my moves are looking. Even in the strength training classes, I find my abs aren’t pulled in quite as tight as I thought they were. If it weren’t taboo for me to stop mid class, grab my iPhone and snap a shot of myself compared to the instructor, there would be multiple shining examples included in this post. Sigh…
Thinking about how shocked I am by what I am seeing started making me think. A lot of thinking. Here’s a collection of those thoughts:
1. Why have I been avoiding the camera for the last ten years? The world sees me for who I am? What happens if I am included in a photo, or two, or 20, with family and friends? Hell, why not just be party to some fun freaking photos at my daughter’s birthday party? (And so, I participated in our makeshift photo booth. Which was really f*&king fun)
I look at these pictures and want to nit pic all of my flaws. Why? Not one other person has said a thing about those things I see. Most likely, I am the only person who sees them.
2. Why is it so hard to look into a full length mirror and just admire me for who I am? Why don’t I see how “bootylicious” I am, when I oh so very much so in my husbands eyes. I can’t see how pretty my eyes are because I am so focused on how fat my arms are. But as I was thinking of these things, I realized I have felt this way for my entire life. Even at 19 when I was running around on a stage in a corset and stockings (for a respectable play) I was afraid of what people would see and signed up for a gym membership. At the time, I even joked I was just signing up because of the trainer with the giant amazing muscle thighs. Really, it was my fat thigh insecurity.
3. The mirror is a reflection of who I see. It’s not really who I am. I am more than that person I see in the mirror. I just need to see the person I know I am. She peeks out at me from time to time, so I know she’s there. I won’t let that reflection bring me down. I am on a good path, and I intend to continue on.
I am a strong and loving mother of two gorgeous daughters. I don’t want them to feel these insecurities the way I have. I want them to always embrace who they are, as long as they are healthy about it! I want to encourage them in their hopes and dreams, and teach them that when they look into a mirror it may not always be what they expect to see, but there is more than just the reflection they see.