Do I?
Do I?

I really want to love myself as I am, but I’m having a hard time.

The other day, I put on black pants that I hadn’t worn in ages and they were loose. Yay! Success follows after my dedication to exercising more, eating less, and eating better foods.

Then I got the photos back from my daughter’s bat mitzvah. And didn’t like what I saw.

Sure, I was a happy mom celebrating my beautiful girl. I also saw rolls of fat in my midsection, which completely obscured the sequined dress I was so excited to wear. My daughter had called me curvy when we bought it and said it looked great on me.

That’s not what I see.

What I see is a fat middle-aged woman with thinning hair and a too-round face. I may be smiling, but I’m not feeling it deep inside.

I know people love me for who I am not what I look like, and I wish I could join them.

“You’re gorgeous,” my husband says. “I love the way you look.”

That’s nice.

I wish I could say the same.

What will it take, I wonder, to truly accept my midlife body?

What needs to happen for me to accept myself as I am right now, right here?

How can I access and fully inhabit the inner beauty that is the Truth about all of us?

I do it for everyone around me. I don’t see their flaws. I only see their incredibleness, the reasons that I love them, the reasons I want them close to me.

Yeah, like most people look like him?
Yeah, like most people look like him?

But when it comes to looking inward, all I see is the outside.

This is a terrible journey, self-hate.

It’s a never-ending road that twists and turns in a forest of darkness. There’s no hopping off the path and diverting the journey to another direction.

Forget about how much my kids love me. Forget about the chemistry between myself and my husband. Forget about the fact that my leadership skills, my intellectual self-confidence, and my kindness radiate the Whole Package.

That’s what everyone else sees.

I’ll be honest. I don’t want to join Weight Watchers or another calorie-counting program that yes, I know, has great results, but which relegates you to a life of watching and recording and rigidly setting parameters for every morsel that passes your lips.

On iStock, this photo is tagged "healthy and beautiful." Healthy now means utterly thin. Skin and bones. I give up. I cannot compete.
On iStock, this photo is tagged “healthy and beautiful.” Healthy now means utterly thin. Skin and bones. I give up. I cannot compete.

I just don’t want to be so rigid with myself.

So why can’t I accept who I am at this moment and say, hey, that’s great! You’re living life to the fullest and embodying the results!

Apparently, 80 percent of American women don’t like¬†their appearance. More than 10 million suffer from eating disorders.

While history used to prize strong, full-figured women, as evidenced as recently as the mid-20th century Marilyn Monroe era, that was dutifully replaced with images of corseted women harshly modifying their appearances to meet a beauty ideal too often imposed by men.

I don’t get where it comes from. My husband adores me and finds me attractive and enticing. I feel the same way about him and he does not have a six-pack.

I read somewhere that we should take a photo of ourselves today and stow it away to gaze at in 10 years because then, we will look back on today fondly, reminiscing about how gorgeous we were.

Isn’t that incredible? We can’t accept ourselves as we are, ever, throughout time, yet we can forgive others their flaws without hesitation. Remarkable.

And sad.

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