Every week, if not every day, I read a post on somebody's blog that talks about how it doesn't matter what we look like. That if it weren't for the fact that the fat was detrimental to our health, none of us would feel so bad about how we look. And that while they wouldn't mind looking thinner, that isn't really the reason they are in this weight loss thing - their motivation and drive comes from a desire to truly be the healthiest they can. When I read those kinds of posts, I go away feeling bad about who I am. I feel shallow and question why I can't be more concerned with who I am than with what other people see when they look at me and what size my clothes are.
Admittedly, for me it is the driving force in my efforts to lose weight. While I of course want to be healthy, the thing that has kept pushing me has been the desire to fit into my clothes better, and to be able to buy smaller sizes and cuter clothes. While I wish that I didn't spend so much time worrying about what I look like, comparing myself to other people, and always finding myself lacking, it isn't something I have been able to overcome.
Take for instance the fact that I am going to get some bangs cut into my hair this morning. While this may not seem like a monumental decision or act, I have gone back and forth with the decision for a couple of weeks. See, I want some of those swoopy side bangs that are popular now. I have been growing my hair out for a couple of years now from its previous A-line, ceasing the endless straightening of my natural curls. As anyone who has grown their hair out knows, it often seems like you are waiting to get to the point where your hair is long and beautiful, and meanwhile you are just trimming it every couple of months. It changes slowly, and seems to look the same for months at a time. So I have reached the point where I want something to mix it up a little, something a bit different, but I am not done growing it, don't want to cut any length off, and don't want to color it because the upkeep is just too much for me and most of the time I like my natural auburn and gold highlights. So bangs seem like a good idea - a small change but something different and fun.
So decision made, right? Ha! Because see, my mind doesn't work on a linear level. It curves and climbs and dips and doubles back. Worries and fears jump out from their dark hiding places and interrupt the path of decision. What if the bangs look weird? I mean, I will have to straighten them each day to make them swoopy, and the rest of my hair is curly. Will that look funny? What if I hate them, and after all this time of trying to get my hair to all be long in length, I now have to start growing bangs out all over again? What if I just looked better without them and never should have gotten them? And on and on and on. (To which my husband invariably replies - "What if your arm falls off?" I imagine twelve years with my insanity is enough to drive a man crazy - he doesn't even try to calm me down anymore.)
I have asked friends and family their opinions, looked at endless pictures online. All for this seemingly small change to my hair. Well, yesterday I finally made an appointment to get the cut this morning. Decision made again, right? Yeah, I am going to go through with it, but last night I had this terrible dream that I had already cut them myself into fringe-style bangs, which looked horrible, and then the lady who does my hair looked horrified, and really couldn't do anything to help me, and I was just so regretful that I had ever touched them. I woke up this morning thinking I should text and cancel my appointment. But I am not going to. I am going to go and do this, and convince myself that no matter the outcome, it won't ruin anything, it isn't a drastic decision, and it is only hair. It will grow back if I don't like it. And on the flip side, I may come back from it looking like a movie star. Who knows?
Now imagine that all this craziness is applied to my body. Even after losing 50 pounds, there are still days where I find it impossible to get dressed and feel good about how I look. It is a downward spiral, all fed by things I was told as a young girl by a vindictive girlfriend of my dad's and an ex-alcoholic grandfather who still had an occasional mean streak. But today I will silence the voices and take a small step in the direction of believing in myself and my decisions. And hopefully come back with my hair looking more like this:
And less like this:
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