Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Day 3: 3 Days With Mirrors, 3 Observations

I'm still processing the emotions involved in my "first look."  In the weeks leading up to this moment I felt a lot of anxiety.  On the day of the party I started to feel a lot of excitement, but I also kind of wanted to "just get it over with."  And then - before I knew it - it was over with.   Here's what I remember:

This is me w/ my mom & sister, moments after the big reveal... 
At midnight on Saturday, my mom and sister helped me peel dozens of positive messages off of the face of a huge mirror.  We moved the messages from the face to the frame, slowly uncovering my reflection in the process.  (You can see some of the mirror + messages in the photo above!)  What I remember most clearly was COLOR!  I first saw the skin of my neck and upper chest, which was flushed bright pink.  (This always happens when I'm nervous!)  But as we uncovered more area on the mirror, I remember seeing the color of my skin and hair, and thinking that everything looked really lovely.  My cheeks were flushed pink, so I didn't look sickly-pale or sallow. My hair was pale blonde with natural-looking highlights, and not at all neon yellow or dull, as I'd feared (remember that horrible hair-dye mishap?!).  My eyes were sparkly, and my lips were rosy.  I had a "glow"!

I had help with my makeup and hair that evening (thank you Laila and Rana!!!) so I was definitely a step above my everyday look and I'm glad; why not dress up a bit for myself!?  (I stopped short of wearing my wedding dress, though I was tempted!)  


It was such a pleasant surprise to discover that my first observations were about color instead of my body size.  Speaking of my body size, I didn't really give it much (critical) thought on that first night at all.  I was pleased that the dress I'd picked out for the occasion (with help from my mom!) fit well.  My legs looked strong and shapely.  Since that evening, I've had 72 hours to reconnect with mirrors, and here are three preliminary observations:

1) I look pretty much the same as I did 12 months ago.
This is me, standing on a "YAY Scale" at my party, next to one of my HAES heroes, Marilyn Wann.
(FYI - "YAY Scales" give compliments instead of numbers!)
My hair is shorter, and I am a bit paler (this is what happens when you move from L.A. to San Francisco!), but other than that I'm mostly the same.  The skin on my face looks great - no obviously new wrinkles or age spots!  One thing: at 155 pounds, I'm 6 pounds heavier than when I started the project.  I can see that some of this weight has settled around my stomach and hips, but I don't look drastically different.  (It's certainly not the huge difference that I'd imagined back in November when I was declared "overweight" by the NHANES study!).  Anyway, no cause for panic: I've been losing about 1/2 pound per week since mid-January (after gaining 11 pounds from delicious Honeymoon + Thanksgiving + Xmas + New Years indulgences!), so my body seems to be slowly finding its way back to my healthy set-point.  (Thank goodness I've been following Health At Every Size principles!)

2) My pores have become very interesting again.  So have my lone frizzy hairs.
I've been doing this a bit more than I ought to be....
It's a little concerning to me that I've so quickly become fascinated by some of the close-up details that I haven't thought about in a year.  A few times now, I've stuck my face about 2 inches from my mirror to scan my pores.  I've also plucked a few frizzy hairs out of my hairline.  Both imperfect pores and the occasional frizzy strand would be completely unnoticeable to a common observer, so "fixing" these things is a waste of my time.  I might need to stay mindful so I don't fall back into obsessive habits!  Luckily I've stuck to my minimal makeup routine, so at least I'm not wasting any time there!


3) I've become a bit of a prude. (Oh my!)
Changing room exhibitionist I am not.
Now that I've removed the curtain from my bathroom mirror, I've become totally prudish when getting out of the shower!  After 365 days of not seeing myself naked, it feels shocking and almost inappropriate to see my naked body.  Instead of staring I turn away, almost as though it's the polite thing to do.  I don't have this reaction to my full-length reflection when I'm fully clothed (indeed, I've enjoyed seeing my favorite clothes again!), so this prudishness amuses me!  Since I'm only 3 days into my transition back to mirrors, this seems like it may be par for the course!  I have no desire to become a "changing room exhibitionist," - you know the type! - but hopefully seeing myself naked won't be such a shock after I get used to it again...


Here's a question for you: When is the last time you "glowed"??  What was the occasion?  What did you look like?  How did it feel?

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