Who is that lady in the mirror?

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When you see my professional photo, you see something a bit different than you see when you see me in person. That picture was taken 3 years ago and was Photoshopped to smooth out the lines and puffiness, and take off a few pounds. At the time, I was losing weight and was hoping to take off more than a few pounds and find a way to smooth out the lines in real life and I didn’t want a fat, lined image to haunt me for eternity once I did that.

But reality has turned out differently. Instead of losing weight, I gained it. Instead of less lines, more. And I don’t even want to talk about puffiness! While I’m sure my swimming is trimming me down, I don’t know that I’ll ever look exactly like that picture again. And that has to be okay.

Yesterday, I was preparing to go out shopping for the garden, and because I was hot from being outside and my hair felt like a blanket and looked pretty funky from letting it dry naturally after swimming the evening before, I put it up in a French twist and clamped it in place. It looked fine—presentable, at least—but I knew Jermayn (my hairstylist) would be mortified if she saw it. Thankfully, I wasn’t going to be anywhere close to the hair salon.

As I inspected the back and sides in the mirror to be sure it was up securely and nothing was sticking out, I saw the profile of a chubby old lady with a double chin and bifocals. My first thought was, “Wow! I’m wearing a strange disguise to go out in the world!”

Because, of course, internally, I may always imagine myself the young, slim beauty of my 20s and 30s. Even though it really is strange to look so different on the outside than I feel on the inside, there’s a certain relief involved. And a realization that no one here in Denver is looking at me and comparing me to my youthful self. (Of course, it’s a different story in North Carolina!)

I sincerely doubt anyone I meet here on the street is thinking, “Boy—she’s really let herself go.” They just see a middle-aged, overweight lady with a kind face, twinkle in her bifocaled eye, and a bit of a limp, and I now realize if they feel pity for me at all, it’s their own fear of aging at the root of it.

Accepting myself no matter what—quite a cool concept. I may get the hang of it yet! And soon I may even have a new professional photo taken—one that shows me more realistically. But I really, really want to swim off a few more inches first…(grin)

Oh—and a little P.S.—As I was bent over with my nose buried in the herbs at the garden center yesterday afternoon, I heard a voice call out, “Well look who’s here!” When I looked up, it was Jermayn, my aforementioned hairdresser. In the five years she has done my hair, I have never, EVER run into her anywhere. I’ve only ever seen her at the beauty salon. She didn’t say she was mortified at my hair, but when I told her what I had been thinking before I left the house, she didn’t reassure me with, “Oh—you look fine,” either! And that’s perfectly alright.


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Deborah said:

Namaste. You are what you think you are.
Question about Endless Pool, what is the maintenance regimen for the pool like? Chemicals or what?

Sibylle said:

You know... It's easy to forget sometimes that our physical appearance is subject to the process of manifestation just like everything else. The way you look today doesn't reflect what you are NOW, but what you were in the recent past. I love the fact that you choose not to describe it negatively as having ""let yourself go"", because that's not what it is. You simply had other priorities for a time, and that's good and right, it's what life is like.
Now you've started to focus on your health and wellbeing again, like the swimming, and that will have an impact on the way you look. Not because you have to adapt to any silly notions of youth and perfection, but because it will make you feel great and full of energy (says the hag who works as a wellness consultant ;-)).
And as for that picture: I've always thought the most striking and beautiful feature are your eyes, and I bet you still have those!

Julia said:

Thanks, Sibylle. And you're right--the swimming makes me feel SO good! Love that oxygen and muscle movement.
Thanks for the reminder!
In answer to your pool maintenance question, Rick said to tell you ""I have a pool boy."" (If you can call him a boy!)
Right now, it has a Nature 2 cartridge which is a copper and silver ionizer, and requires about a half cup or less of grocery-store variety Clorox after every swim, plus checking and adjusting the pH (which I don't think he's had to do often) and that's it.
But because I want NO chlorine or other chemicals, we've ordered an EcoSmarte system which uses copper and UV light to keep the pool water pure, so it should be totally chemical free by the end of this week! I'm so excited about that.

Deborah said:

Cool. Like the non-chlorine approach. Friend with small pool uses salt to maintain it, don't understand it, but seems to work.
A cabana boy would be even better.

Julia said:

The salt water pools create their own chlorine (how, I'm not sure), so, as I understand it, it's no healthier than adding chlorine. I had hoped it would be a solution for us, but turned out not to be.
I do love having a pool boy...who also does lots of other things around here!
Love, Joy, Ease,

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This page contains a single entry by Julia published on May 12, 2007 7:09 PM.

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