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.
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.)