10 lbs heavier

I have this mirror.

I saw it on the curb across the street one day. I couldn’t figure out why my neighbors had put it out for trash. It looked like a perfectly good mirror to me. I had been wishing for a full length mirror for the bedroom so I could actually see how my lower half looked without standing on the bed. This mirror even had a “hook on the door” feature that would make installation a breeze. So I trash picked it.

I love free stuff.

I cleaned off the mirror, hooked it on the door, and stood back to admire my fabulous find. There was absolutely nothing trash-worthy about this mirror.

Except it turned out there was….While I enjoyed being able to see myself from head to toe, suddenly I felt like nothing looked good on me. Was I seeing a weight issue that my waist-up dresser mirror hadn’t revealed? For a few days, I thought this was  the case. That baby weight was even more stubborn than I had thought.

Then I noticed something strange. Every other mirror I looked in made me look normal. Even other full length ones.

This mirror was adding 10 pounds!

It was like a fun house mirror, but sneakier because it was such a subtle change.  My brain had to work really hard to convince myself that the image I was seeing was not an accurate reflection of me. Because, well, what you see in the mirror is what you look like, right? There are still days when I have to step over to my dresser mirror for a few seconds to prove to myself that my full length mirror image is slightly askew.

But there are many many many women (and men) who have the equivalent of my 10-pound-adding fun house mirror permanently in their heads. No matter how many times they are told by accurate “mirrors” that they are beautiful, wonderful, healthy, and just the right size or shape, their minds still tell them otherwise.

I have always had a relatively healthy body image even with a less than perfect body. But I, like every teenage girl, saw flaws in my appearance. And I, like every mom who has had pregnancies, c-sections, and years spent breastfeeding, see flaws in my appearance today.  Of course, now I look back and think my teenage self didn’t have anything to complain about. So, I’m sure when my skin is covered in wrinkles and my boobs sag down to my knees, I will say the same about my 30 year old self.  And that inability to see my own beauty in the moment saddens me. I want to always appreciate the beauty that is right here, right now. Because it is here.

And when the fun house mirror thoughts start to take over, I try to remind myself of some things.

P1100347

This is one of them. My husband stuck this little post-it on my mirror one day, just because. Because he really believes it. And knowing that he believes it, makes me believe it. I am thankful for that.

It also helps to know that my children love me no matter what. They have a way of noticing the beautiful things and loving the not so beautiful things (FYI: soft bellies make great pillows).

But at the core of who I am, what gives me the most peace and perspective, is knowing that I am a child of God and that fact is not contingent on my height or weight or skin or hair. God doesn’t even care about my outward appearance. I am “good,” created in his image, and loved. Always.

I am thankful for these “dresser mirror” reminders in my life. May your life be filled with dresser mirrors, so that you can know the fun house mirror tells lies.

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