I try not to look in the mirror often. As little as possible in fact. At this point in my life, with three small children, the sad truth is that I am pretty sure I have, at one time or another, gone days without actually looking myself in the mirror. I know. Bad. Brushing my teeth? Yes. Every day. Without fail. But I close my eyes while I brush. No joke. That or run out to see which kid is hitting who or breaking what while I try to reach my farthest back teeth and order children around all at the same time through a bubbly toothpaste filled mouth before having to run back to the sink to spit. I know. Bad.
The truth is I can’t stand to look in the mirror, and I don’t relate to the image it portrays either. That women in there, she isn’t me. She ate me up or something and I’m stuck inside her belly rolls and chin fat and cankles. She has smothered me really. Or at least that’s what I tell myself when I find one excuse or another to stay on the couch or sew silly dolls instead of go to the gym or take my husky Yukon on a walk. My legs, my real legs used to do amazing things. In fact they were always one of my best qualities.
At 6 feet tall my legs were always long and lean and toned with chiseled calf muscles that carried me from high school and college sports through my final athletic feat, a marathon. 26.2 miles. The proudest day of my life. One I would never have been able to achieve without those beautiful calves. And without my mom’s well-meaning incredulity when I told her I wanted to run one. I’ve never been much of a finisher, so her doubt was well founded, but I’ll be damned if I’m going to let someone tell me I can’t do something. And so I did. And my mother was my greatest cheerleader and ally through the training process. She’s good like that.
But that’s when this fat lazy old lady with wrinkles and lumps and blotches started to swallow me up. She was sneaky that one, moving in little by little. She kept telling me I deserved to let my body rest and recover just a little bit longer after that marathon. After all, I had worked hard and deserved a little rest, didn’t I? Just a little longer?
That was 9 years ago. Between then and now I got married, moved across the county to California, had three kids cut straight out of my belly, moved again to Texas where it’s just too damned hot most of the time to exercise, took up sewing, and that was that. Now those beautiful calves are lumpy cankles. The knees are surrounded by layers of soft stuff. What is that soft stuff? My legs have never had soft stuff before!?! The scar on my belly is one thing I never feel self-conscious about. Mostly because I can’t see down there over my baby belly. Nope, not pregnant again, just never stopped looking like it. Maybe I just want to trick my body into having that healthy baby glow too?? It doesn’t work, FYI.
I think I'll go sew a doll...