Somewhere around 1988 I passed through my current size (18ish) on the way up. I had thought myself to be shockingly fat since my 7th grade year (so about 10 years earlier), when I went from 96 pounds to 126 within the space of one school year, a fact which made the school nurse jokingly ask, as she weighed me and marked my chart, if I'd been "eating rock soup." She was a great lady and I just KNOW she wasn't trying to make me feel like a water buffalo...but...well, that's how I felt, despite the fact that the gain really came simply from the fact that my body changed from "child" setting to "woman" setting that year. You grow curves, you gain weight. Duh.
That was just one of two conversations that left big, bad marks on my self-esteem. The other was much less innocuous, less than a year later and still about 126 pounds: I walked across the room without a stitch on toward a boyfriend (who had no business seeing me in that condition, but that's a rant for a whole other day) , trying to be all "come hither" like the ladies in the books I shouldn't have been reading (another rant trail we won't pursue just now) and he looked me up and down regretfully and said, "You look better with your clothes on."
So it comes out to be pretty ironic that I'd use the word naked in the name of my blog, knowing my extreme discomfort with the state of naked, at least in the literal sense. I'd MUCH rather bare my emotions and thoughts than my bod (and this is your safe refuge in knowing you'll never click over here and see Actual Naked or Near-Naked Photos - EVER.)
So back to 1988: I've always been a reader, and something I read told me that if I'd just learn to love my body as it was, that was the key to getting my weight under control. It was a magazine article, and it suggested standing in the buff in front of the mirror daily until one learned to love the image.
I tried it. A number of times. It always sent me to bed for the rest of the day, getting up only long enough to binge on way too much garbage, and then retreating again to the refuge under the covers.
(Isn't it funny...I had the key to getting it together clear back in 1988: loving my body. But honey, I couldn't get there by the route suggested...that's for sure! FOR ME, the only route was and continues to be letting God teach me.)
So I've been an avoider of naked mirrors since then. Now I'm passing through size 18ish again, on the way back down, with excellent tools in my hand for dealing with who I am, where I am, and even those awful conversations that still play themselves out in living color and real sound inside my head on a semi-regular basis.
Last week I looked in the mirror and only noticed: when my feet are hip-distance apart, my thighs touch together all the way down to my knees. This isn't shocking information to me, since even at 96 pounds, the tops of my thighs touched and sometimes rubbed each other raw when I walked. I don't have supermodel genes. Still, I don't like it.
Within the last 24 hours, I looked again, and this time I noticed: there is much less me. What's there is more curves and less lump than it was awhile ago. I'm not as afraid of the naked mirror as I used to be.
Progress, not perfection, baby.
I'll take it.