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Things Are Not Always What They Seem

I know that most people, especially women, are very hard on themselves. We are definitely our worst critics, and I'm one of the biggest offenders there is. When I tell people how awful I feel about myself and that I feel masculine or like a man in drag, they are always very shocked. Several people have told me they think I am very feminine which really shocked the hell out of me. When I walk around in public or even down the hall at work, I am very self-conscious and feel frumpy and embarrassed to be seen. But people always tell me they don't see that at all. They say I carry myself very well and would never know that I wasn't confident. When I tell people how much I weigh, they say they don't see it. And when I look at myself in the mirror, I know I'm fat, but when I see myself in pictures, it's even worse than I thought.

When I look at my daughter, all I see is beautiful. To me, she is truly the most beautiful woman in the world. She has the perfect hourglass body. But she doesn't see it. All she sees is cellulite and fat. When we go shopping, she stands in front of dressing room mirror making horrible faces and berates herself the whole time. It hurts me to hear it and honestly, it's extremely exhausting to listen to it. Now I know how everyone around me has felt for the last 25 years. And I apologize to all of those people.

On my birthday, my daughter said she didn't have any shorts that fit her. I went to my drawer and pulled out my Levi's my mom gave me on my 21st birthday. They're my sexy short shorts and I keep them as my goal shorts. When I wore them, I thought I was so fat. I was always so embarrassed to wear them in public. As I took them to her room, I felt very emotional. I handed them to her and felt butterflies in my stomach. I waited anxiously as she pulled them on...and they buttoned...and they fit her. My eyes teared up. I can't even say why. I'm not sure what was going on inside except that maybe it was finally a piece of concrete evidence of what size I actually was back then, back when I thought I was a whale. My daughter, who has the perfect body, fit in my shorts perfectly. Which means, that's the body I had back when I was 21. And I had no idea. I was just flooded with emotion. It's one thing to see yourself in the mirror, it's another to see yourself in pictures, but to see, physically, what size you were at one point and have a solid comparison, was very eye-opening. All that time I spent loathing my body and hating myself when I could have been proud of my body and loving myself...what a waste of life. And feeling that way just caused me to gain weight. What if I had just accepted myself and loved myself back then? Could I have avoided a 100 pound weight gain? Maybe, maybe not. But why couldn't I just love myself the way I was? Ever? My husband told me that just proved how warped my vision of myself has been my entire life. My poor 21 year old self. I feel bad for how mean I was to her.

My daughter sent me this link the other day. http://www.upworthy.com/2-people-described-the-same-person-to-a-forensic-artist-and-this-is-what-happene?c=bl3 It made me cry. I thought of myself. I thought of my daughter. I thought of my sisters. I thought of my mom. I thought of my friends. All of us who see ourselves as fat or ugly or repulsive or worthless or undeserving or all of the above. While the rest of us look at the others and just see beautiful and feel so helpless and frustrated that she can't see how gorgeous she is. I realized I wasn't alone in the way I felt about myself. But it also made me very sad to know that so many of us spend our lives focusing on negative, ugly thoughts instead of just being happy.

 My daughter, Lexy, in my hot shorts with my niece, Erin


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