Wednesday, December 2, 2009

As A Woman Thinks, So She Is

I got a shock when my husband took my picture today. I wanted a new picture for Facebook and for Lapbandtalk. I thought I'd look pretty good because I'm 10 lbs from goal and I'm exercising like a demon. I forgot the power of age and the fact that photos add 10 lbs as does camera angle and lighting.

I looked top heavy. With all my excercise my waist still does not curve in significantly and my upper tummy still is rounded. I can hide the sagging but flatter lower tummy but not the upper tummy. My hips seemed narrow, my thighs skinny, but my boobs, on the other hand, seemed huge. When I was younger I always wanted big boobs. Well, be careful what you wish for. I have been this weight before, but I have never been this shape. I used to be pear shaped. Now I think I'm what they used to call pigeon-breasted.

So now I have to adjust my attitude. I was, I admit, somewhat dismayed. Vanity, vanity, all is vanity. I really do look a lot better and I feel fantastic compared to before. I'll never be young and svelte again. And that's OK. Every time I lost weight in the past it was never good enough and I never felt perfect. Bad body image can sabotage weight loss and maintenance so quickly. You'd think that by the ripe old age of 58 (the 30th of this month) I'd be past the whole body image and beauty thing. My husband certainly doesn't seem to notice or care.

Part of the confidence with which women carry themselves is based on their sense of body image and the way men look at them and treat them. Even more important, I think sometimes, is the way other women look at them. Most heterosexual males don't really care about the details as long as the main parts are present and available. Look at Prince Charles and Camilla vs. Diana. Look at today's headlines about Tiger Woods and check out the skanky looking mistress he had.

We think if we're physically perfect our mates will remain attracted to us and will adore us. Doesn't happen. And we learn not to rely on the opinions of our mates. We look to other women and their comments on how we dress and ornament ourselves and to compliment us as we lose weight. Sometimes we get more of our confidence or lack thereof from the other women in our lives.

Why can't I get my confidence from being a great teacher, a loving grandparent, a caring person, a beloved child of God? In fact, why do I focus on myself so much or even at all?

The fact is, I'm always going to see the world from my own perspective and experience. That's also how I'll express it to others. I am important to myself. I don't think I'll ever not care about how I look or think that my opinions aren't valuable.

So, I'll have to keep working on attitude and on changing my thinking. I'm a positive thinker most of the time. I have to look at the reality of my age and of what fat has done to my body and accept and love my body the way it is. I'll never knock Hugh Jackson off his feet but I do sense men looking my way.

The trick is to love myself yet in humility to consider others better than myself and to keep a servant's heart. I had a little lesson in humility when I saw my pictures today.

I'm finding that to keep the focus off myself it helps to keep myself open to all the incredible beauty around me. I'm still basking in the beauty of the Tennessee mountains. Last night my husband was flipping channels between Celtic Women-Songs from the Heart and So You Think You Can Dance. Some of the voices and some of the dances were so overwhelmingly lovely, they gave me chills and brought tears to my eyes.

I stay away from people who are ranters. I never listen to the political pundits for example. I listen to candidates, but never those whose ranting, hating voices fill the air waves as they pour out vitriol and hazardous waste. I don't care what side they're on. They create ugliness as they twist facts to suit their purposes and try to prove themselves superior through insults and smears. I don't need that kind of ugliness in my life or the anger it raises in me.

I notice, but do not dwell on the horrors that occur in our world. Yes, four police officers were shot. Yes, 30,000 more troops are being sent to Afghanistan. Yes, there was a massacre at Fort Hood by a crazy man. And yes, children and young people are slaughtering each other on the streets of Chicago.

But I thank God for the beauty in this world; for laughter and children's smiles and beautiful voices and haunting performances and incredible scenery and a Father's perfect love.

Phillipians 4:8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.