Body Image · Changes

There’s a Girl in the Mirror

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)

Sheriff Panelli ready to nab the Pink Cowgirl Bandit!
Pink Caps Guns, that’s how we roll.

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.

Yup 🙂

4 thoughts on “There’s a Girl in the Mirror

  1. Ok, when I was in Tahoe earlier this week I was thinking about you while on a hike. I was thinking how amazing this journey has been for you AND your family(especially your girls). I am witness to this amazing confidence that has surfaced in Riley, and the sheer joy on the face of Zoe(she is smiling a lot more from what I can tell). That, my friend, is an incredibly profound result of you wanting better for yourself. WOW!!!! That’s what Oprah would call an, “AHA Moment!”

  2. I totally relate! My husband could not want me more if he tried, but when he tells me things like that I laugh like he just told a funny joke. My kids have never seen me this “thin” (seriously- I just hit the 240s and I was 260 when preggo with Jack!) and yet I constantly criticize myself for not working hard enough or fast enough or putting cheese on something. And the pictures, oy! Posting pics of myself in a sports bra and shorts helped me come to terms with that, pretty much, but I am always the one taking pics so there are not many of me, and when Rich does take some I delete about 99% of them. Someday my grandkids are going to look through family albums and wonder why Granny Jenn never went on any outings. “Oh, she was there, kids, she just deleted every record of it.” It’s like I’m a burned agent.

  3. Let’s not get over it, let’s process it, and come through it, and grow in many ways from our journey. It has served you well up to now, so you are on a new path now, with a new and fresh perspective….Your article shows your awareness, and as you become vulnerable, and share with he rest of us, you can see and hear your own strength, and courage…Your amazing! I love that you are being kind and accepting to yourself ..<3

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