This is a hard one for me.
It has been a good week. I have been watching what I eat, and expanding what I am eating and I have lost 3 more kilos of weight without trying too hard. I am walking more often, and will do some hard walking this weekend (i.e. around 4kms). I am feeling good, clothes are fitting better, lots of milestones getting into sight, the whole works.
And tonight, as I was picking something up in the Bathroom I realised I haven’t looked at myself in weeks. I looked at my face, saw a completely different person, someone whom I hadn’t seen in years.
As a bigger man, I have longed learned the art of “seeing but not looking” at myself for years. When you are big, you often feel invisible, and that includes towards yourself. I have often talked about the shield of being fat, and how people avoid you. And at times… many times, I wanted to be invisible, I wanted no one to look at me, even myself. I would teach myself to see myself, but never look at me, never appreciate who I was, because I was so sad, embarrassed… and even hated how I looked. That vague pass through the mirror to make sure you were not a complete disaster, don’t focus on the weight, just look for the other obvious stuff. Focus on just the hair, or just the eyes, makes it so much easier to ignore the things you don’t want to see.
I didn’t think I had trained myself so well.
With the Surgery and the weight Loss Journey, I have been taking face photos of myself every few days. I would take the photo, see them, and put them in a folder. Tonight, I realised I hadn’t looked at myself since the last time I took my photo.
I took a long look in the mirror and remarked how much my face looked differently. In many ways I didn’t look myself. I went back to my office, and flipped open my phone, I decided to take a quick picture, and then made the above collage.
I look at those pictures. At the top, that was the weekend before I began the pre-diet. I had traveled with my family, and I couldn’t buy any shirts because I was too big for them. I could fit into a bare handful of clothes, and things were getting tighter every day. A few days prior I was weighed at my heaviest. I wasn’t happy in that photo. I look at it and I see the pain, the embarrassment, the fear, and the emotion of taking a selfie. The smile was painted on, and one that I have used a lot in the last year, both because of my weight, and working through grief (and that is another post for another day).
From there, the pictures run clockwise with time, The second pic was the Day of my Surgery, notice the apprehension. The next three are taken roughly two weeks apart, ending on the photo I took tonight in the bottom left. I am now officially down 33 kgs/72.75 pounds. It is confronting to see my picture from 9 weeks ago and seeing the massive difference. While I can see the changes in my legs, my arms, and my belly, but my face… because I have conditioned myself to ignore myself so long out of self-loathing and embarrassment, it was a shock.
I finally looked at myself.
I am unsure how I feel about it. I feel my face feels a bit thinner than the rest of my body. I look healthy, which is good. Also, my hairstyle doesn’t change (and only the bushiness of my beard varies). It is emotional to look at. this is how much I have changed in 9 weeks? That much?!?! My Doctor said this week that I am too hard on myself after being disappointing in only losing 2 and a half kilos in two weeks. In looking at these photos, I can tell why he said that.
Throughout this journey, I have been seeking to find the person I see myself as, and what body I am comfortable with. And today, as I looked in the mirror for the first time in weeks, I saw a glimmer, and I can’t wait to see more.