So, if you follow me on Instagram or we’re friends on FB, you know that recently I’ve had this little problem? obsession? affinity to? (take your pic) posting pictures of myself in various outfits. (I’ve posted the pics here, too…apologies to those of you who have seen all of these already.) Yeah, it’s self-indulgent and rather obnoxious, but it’s a big deal for me. And it’s not because I think I look amazing or that people want to see all these self-portraits of me in different outfits. It’s also not because I’ve recently lost 20 lbs and want to show it off (I haven’t). It started with a request to see the maxi dress I’d posted about somewhere.
Never in my life had I considered posting (or even taking, for that matter) a full body shot of just myself because why would I ever do that when I so dislike what my body looks like right now (and always, really, even when I did weight 60 lbs less than I do today)? But something in me finally decided I was done and that it was time to just be okay with me as I am right now.
Would I love to lose 60 lbs? Hell yes. I’d take 5 lbs at this point. And do I think exercise and eating right are optimal for good health and happiness? Of course. But I’ve spent most of my life thinking about how much better it would be if I could just lose those 20 (or 30 or 60) lbs. Every (and I do mean every) success in my life has been tarnished by and every failure has been more painful as a result of these thoughts. And it has been exhausting. And sad. And a big, fat (pun intended) waste of brain space.
The request for a picture of the maxi dress was a big part of this, but I don’t think I would have been in the mind I was in without moving to Japan. Here, it wouldn’t matter if I was skinny, I would still stick out like a sore thumb and there’s nothing I can do about it. People stare. People occasionally even move when I sit next to them on the subway. (Yeah, I’m not kidding. It has happened to all of us “gaijin” at one point or another.) Children point and say “Amerikajin”. No getting around it. And there is an incredible amount of freedom in that.
And then there’s the fact that my life does not currently include anyone I would seriously consider dating or a circle of single girlfriends who are all constantly worrying about what they look like and their “marketability” and there’s freedom in that. So, in the absence of worrying about what other people think about what I look like and constant comments from women both thinner and prettier than I am about how they wish they were prettier and thinner, I am free to just be me. I’ve been able to let go more than I’ve ever been able to before. And letting go means that when I went home in November and needed to get some new clothes, I bought things that fit me and looked good on my body as it is right now, without worrying about what size they were or what store I’d purchased them at or indulging some hope (dream?) that I’d magically lose 5-10 lbs so it would be okay to buy something that’s just a little too small because that would be the motivation I needed to lose weight.
(Side note: I seriously could have outfitted an entire village–or four–for a generation with the myriad articles of clothing I’ve purchased on that hope, never worn, and subsequently donated when they were finally out of style…with them still not fitting me.)
While it makes me sad thinking about all the opportunities for happiness I’ve wasted worrying so much about something that is such an insignificant part of who I am, today is a new day. Today, I’m choosing to be the best version of who I am right now, extra pounds and all. And so I’ve been taking pictures to capture how I look and feel as I am right now. (Bet you didn’t realize there was all of that going on in my head.) And it feels so good to wake up in the morning and know I have clothes that will fit and that I will feel good in, even if they aren’t the size I want them to be. Even if I’m not the size I want me to be.
There’s only one “today” and I will no longer be wasting it on thoughts of how much better tomorrow might be, if only…