Tuesday, January 27, 2009

There seems to be a disconnect

I've mentioned a few of these things previously, but I feel the need to beat the dead horse.

There seems to be a disconnect between my self-perception and the way I am perceived by those around me.

Let me explain.

When I look in the mirror, I see that I am 40-60 lbs overwieght.  I see that my legs are getting vericose veins, I see that my chin is dangerously near double.  I see the grey hairs popping out in all their squirrely gloriousness, and lets not even mention those ones on my chin.  I see the hand-me-down pants, and the inexpensive (ok CHEAP) shirts that I match them with.  Intellectually, I know that the mirror is telling the truth.  I am a late thirty-something, mother who enjoys cookies and bread a little too much and has not yet accepted her no-longer 20 something body and so refuses to spend decent money on decent clothing. ( because what if I lose the weight and all that money is wasted on clothing I can't wear.) I can see that I do not resemble an olympic gymnast, a world-class surfer, or even an avid hiker.  Intellectually I know that my outward appearance is starting to look pretty shabby.  And yet, when I'm not looking in the mirror, and I am seeing myself only in my periferal vision, all I see is a reasonably well dressed, athletic young mother.  I feel reasonably pretty, and I like myself.  I feel capable, and up for a challenge.  So even though I can see in the mirror that my outward appearance is not matching my inward self-concept, I am still surprised when people say things to me that indicate that the mirror isn't broken and really is the one telling the truth here.

Case in point:

Gabriel told me "Mom, I know you'll never get your yellow belt, front snap kicks are really hard"-so I don't look like I can do a front snap kick to my five year old son.  What have I really done to prove to him that this is a skill I would posess?  Nothign I can think of, so I'll prove him wrong in my own time.
Then:
At Karate the other night I was working really hard.  I don't want to just go there and sweat a little bit, I really want to learn the skills necessary to progress through the belt system.  I was really giving it my all.  When one of the instructors came to me with a kick-pad to strike I did it! I did it well, I felt great about the way I kicked it.  There was plenty of force behind it and I gave that pad a loud "thud" with my foot.  I liked the way it felt, and I was not surprised at all that I was able to do it.  However...the instructor sure was! His comment?-"Wow, I wasn't expecting you to do that as well as you did." I took it as the compliment it was meant to be, but it definitely added "proof" to my theory that perhaps other people are seeing what I see in the mirror, and not what I feel inside.
And then there was the comment from JP about being marshmallow-y.  Like I said I can SEE it, but I don't really FEEL it, and so it came as a shock to me that he SEEs it.  I don't know why it was a shock, obviously people can't read my mind and even if I did try to perform some kind of mind-meld, chances are good they would still see with their eyes and not my emotions.
It feels really weird, like perhaps I've been lying to myself.  Except that I spent so much time as a young woman thinking I wasn't good enough, attractive enough, talented enough, or whatever else "enough" that I hate to give up this feeling of being ok with myself as-is, even though I know that the "as-is" in the mirror could use a little sprucing up.
And maybe that's all that's necessary.  I did a "deep cleaning" and "took out the trash" a long time ago, maybe its just time to finally put on some fresh paint.  Shopping anyone?

 ( have I mentioned that I used to love to shop but these days shopping gives me gastric distress? I'm not joking, shopping and me dont get along.  If I could have a guilt-free weekend with a budget that I had prior clearance to spend on me and no whiny kids to tag along, maybe I could enjoy it, I don't know.  Somehow I can't believe that I wouldn't still end up feeling guilty...ah the wonders of motherhood.)

22 comments:

Lara said...

I know how you feel. I really, really do. I'd totally go shopping with you if I could!

rachel said...

Lisa, you are so cool! I love how you feel about yourself. I spent so much time not feeling good about myself and just now am starting to change that. I have a mental block when it comes to shopping. I can't make myself spend the money (Even when I have it) I spent hours shopping last week (oh the horror!) and ended up putting everything back except for three shirts...ugh.

SalGal said...

Lisa, do not EVER stop feeling the way you do about yourself!! Because once you do, you'll never get it back. TRUST ME.

If you are unhappy with what the mirror says, then give it the big ol' finger and do something to help your outside match your inside, let those rock star feelings show through!

The Wixom Zoo said...

Did you say shopping? Bring the kids over here and we'll get a sitter so that we can go! I don't have guilt, what-so-ever!

Jillene said...

I know EXACTLY how you feel!! EXACTLY!!

Kristina P. said...

I often feel a disconnect between how I feel about myself and how I actually look. Love those cameras!

CaJoh said...

My wife says that people tend to live up to their expectations. If you have low expectations, then you will not achieve as much. But it seems that you are fully capable of great things (you just have to believe that you can).

the letter Bee said...

I know how you feel. I found a gray hair the other day. I'm 29. Boo.

clan of the cave hair said...

I should mention in light of CaJoh's comment about expectations that I wrote this Sunday night. Last night I went to class and the instructor ( a different one) watched me do my kicks and when I dipped my head unwittingly he said, "Ok, no head dipping! Keep your head up!" I guess I looked at him kinda funny ( I didn't mean too, but I'm sure I did) and he said "You are fully capable of doing it right, so now I'm gonna start picking on you"...I replied "I'll take it!" I was practically overjoyed that he figured I'm capable enough to expect better of me. I liked that.

clan of the cave hair said...

I meant to add that I think my problem is the fact that I know its my outward appearance that is generating low expectations, and so I know its time to do something about that.

wendy said...

MIRRORS ARE SUCH COLD HEARTED THINGS. How we feel about ourselves and "fantasize" about ourselves -then see ourselves in the mirror thinking "who the hell is that". CRAP. You go ahead and shop to your hearts content, do whatever it takes to feel good about YOU. Positive affirmations about ourselves are a good thing.

Heatherlyn said...

Actually, in a George Strait (not sure I spelled his name right, I'm not a huge fan) song, he said something soooo true:

MIRRORS LIE! Because they don't show how young we really still are inside!

And isn't it ironic, like you siad, that when we are younger and our bodies really have no imperfections that we stress about the way we look and never feel good enough and then once we've had a few kids and really don't look so perfect we are finally OK with ourselves? Yeah. I'm almost laughing at the irony. Almost.

clan of the cave hair said...

Heatherlyn, does it make you want to take a "Jagged Little Pill?" LOL, sorry, couldn't resist! There IS a song for everything...

So said...

I'm with you on the shopping. Most of my shopping is done at thrift stores.

But don't stop feeling good about yourself. And keep on doing those kicks.

I'm okay with what I see in the mirror...until I turn sideways.

Wendy said...

How you feel inside is all that matters!! I totally thought I was hot, because we don't have full length mirrors, then when we went on our cruise and they had them all over the room, I realized, I didn't look as great as I thought I did!! LOL

Chris said...

Wow! I felt like I was reading about myself, except I'm older. :) 44

One of my friends described this feeling as coming out of a cocoon. For 12 years I have been MOM. The last thing I think about is my own appearance. I finally got a haircut at a salon a month ago and it was the FIRST in a decade.

I really need to go shopping with you! :) Anyone want to join me in West Virginia for a shopping spree on a budget? :)

ramsam said...

I love shopping!!! Just tell yourself you are looking ood for you, for the kids, and I am sure hubby won't mind if you look all dolled up like you did when you were dating!

My budgert is limited, so I can't shop as often as I used to, but OHHHHH how I love it. I really do.

Mina said...

I'm there with you. I don't know what else to say. I'd go shopping with you, but I keep holding on to that same weight-loss hope.

Tana said...

I love it. You captured the life of motherhood and weight issues perfectly. I don't have any advice except next time that thud could be heard against some child/instructor's head also.

Hartson family said...

You have eloquently put into words what most of us feel quite often. Lisa, you're awesome- for understanding those feelings and helping me to understand mine too. Thanks for the post- sincerely!

The Sartori's said...

wow lisa, when did you steal my diary? No one sees me the way I see me. And I'm tired of seeing what others see when I look in the mirror. I have been working really hard to change it. I just brought a little piece back to the surface last night, I'm ready to let my inner rock star shine.
Hope the mother's of my YW are ok with it.

Juracan Family said...

Screw everyone else! Every single person will always have a very different view of you than you do, good or bad! What matters is what you think about yourself. Lisa, seriously, I hear ya! I HATE when people go "oh, I'll tell them cuz you're too nice" or "let me get that for you, it's heavy!" I want to smack people because I am fully aware of what I am capable of, but apparently I don't seem to be able to "handle" things myself. LOL. I can relate to what you are saying about the Karate thing. There is no better motivator for me than to hear someone totally shocked to see me do something. That's why I decided to train for the 1/2 marathon. Someone I mentioned it to said "how on earth are you going to be able to do THAT?" (that "someone" was my Mother!!! ) Gee, Thanks! So...I say, give em Hell!!! Go prove to people that just because we graduated from High School 20 yrs ago and have kids doesn't mean we can can't kick your butt!!! :-)