I've come to the conclusion that I am backwards.
If you've seen Beverly Hill 90210, (or my fav 1990s drama - Models Inc.) or any ABC after school special, let alone, Oprah, you know that girls (and women for that matter) are hyper critical of their bodies. To the extreme of having unhealthy, skewed or totally warped body images. What they see in the mirror isn't what is. They gaze at themselves in the mirror and all they see are flaws. Girls think they should look like Gisele Bundchen. Women want Jennifer Aniston's legs. Julia Roberts' smile. Michelle Obama's arms (a nod to my liberal readers...)
Not me. The Mara teenager spent many days and night sitting at the dressing table mirror perfecting the eye makeup. Another coat of mascara. A curl of the iron. Don't get me wrong, I cared what I looked like - I just wasn't overly critical. I think (and my high school friends can correct me if I am wrong), I was always sort of in the upper echelon of the high school caste system. I was never the IT girl, but I was an acceptable girl. I took care of myself. I never wore the same thing to school twice. I had a brand name (at my school, Gap, The Limited, Laura Ashley, these were importanto) wardrobe. I had long blonde hair. I used Lancome makeup. I played sports. I was smart. I was in choir (albeit as a tenor). I think I was not completely embarassing to the male sex. Some dared to date me. (Of course, I did have one major stigma - I was Dr. Eddy's daughter - but that's a whole different post...)
I can count, probably off the top of my head, the times in my life that I fit into certain, umm.. lets call them, unattainable clothing sizes (the orange silk Laura Ashley shift dress in the summer of 1994 comes to mind). Ladies, you know what I am saying. I know for instance, the size and brand of the prom dress in this photo - I also recall the desire to wear styles and trends that I couldn't fit into for the life of me. I envied the girls in my class who could wear it all. I certainly did not think I was one of those girls.
Fast forward. College. Well, ok, so freshman 15 and all that. I definately participated. Late night pizza. Bar food. Alcohol. Yep. Yep. Yep. Excercise? Not so much. Junior year, I went back to England. I got skinny in Durham, cause well - I had no other option. I had to climb 4-5 flight of castle stairs to get to my room - Keep 44 - and get this - no phones, and I had no cell phone (so backwards American). So, literally, if I wanted to see my friends, I had to WALK around and find them. Isn't that just crazy? Walk to class (when I went), walk around the river, walk around town, walk up the castle, down to Dix Neuf... walk walk walk. By spring 1999, I was probably the skinniest I had ever been in the post age 18 Mara era. Somehow, I was able to pull off mini-jean skirts and skinny little tee-shirts. Darn. Hot is so wasted on the young. Ala.....
Mirror Mirror. What does Mara see? I still see this. Can you believe it? I mean, who looks in the mirror at age 32 and still sees their young 24 year old self? On first read, it probably doesn't seem like such a problem to have. But, the denial prevented me from addressing the long overdue growth of my waist line. Until now. Now, I see. And I feel. And the flab is very real.
20 pounds in, and the mirror is starting to reveal the self that I am. The flab. The leftover. I see what all those after school specials are about now. It is hard to accept all this extra me. I just want it gone. I need to reconcile the new Mommy me with the old hottie me. I need to find out who this body, mind and soul really is these days. And I need to accept what I see in the mirror and stop asking who's the fairest of them all?
And if you think this post is just an excuse to post some old awesome photos of myself... you might be right. Everyone needs motivation!