Self Image vs. Imagined Self


She glides down the street, her hips swaying with a hypnotic rhythm.  Soft round curves are topped off by wide green eyes.  Her smile  is warm and genuine.  You cant help but smile in return when you see it.  Her pert English nose gives her an air of mischief and fun.  Her head is held high, shoulders back.   She moves with ease towards her destination, simply enjoying the movement of her body.  She feels alive.  She delights in the wind caressing her face, the street sounds ringing in her ears.   She is aware of lingering glances of men walking by and accepts them as her due.

As she moves down the street, she becomes aware of someone from the corner of her eye.  This person is walking beside her, matching her stride for stride. 

Turning to meet this person with a smile she is taken off guard.  Who is this woman in front of her.  The eyes are narrow and small.  The nose is broad in the middle, upturned at the end and all together to large for her face.  She looks tired, the weight of her life held in the bags under her eyes.    Her arms are flabby and the wind has made them a blotchy red color.  Her waist too thick.  Her bum too wide and her cloths just a little bit too tight.  Her thighs have dimples in them.  She is a bloated, swollen version of  the women she once was.  She looks ridiculous in that clinging dress and high heels.  Who does she think she is trying to fool. 

The deflating blow that comes with realization that she is me feels horrible.  I am both of these women.  Who I am in my head and who I see starring back at me is almost never the same.  Who am I…fat soccer mom or sensuous earth goddess.  

Which is the correct self.  When I look at myself, I focus on my flaws to the exclusion of everything else.  My flaws are real.  But, so to are my positive aspects.  I am a contradiction in my own mind.  How can I accept my flaws, embrace my good points and find balance between the two.

Every time I start dieting and exercising (trying to fix my flaws), I become so obsessed with the flaws that I become depressed and angry.  Hating how I look. 

When I cast those things aside and embrace the other me, I let the heath and exercise go.  I am after all an earth goddess and can eat what I want.  I end up with even more “flaws”.  I cant seem to find the middle ground.

And all the while another part of me is screaming, does any of this even matter.  Is beauty found in the lines of the face or the warmth of the smile.  Is it the shape of the hips that is so appealing, or the confidence that moves them.   How do I learn to just be okay with me?


10 thoughts on “Self Image vs. Imagined Self

  1. Woah… insanely well written!
    You ask such good questions and I want to respond… I need some time to chew on how to reply, so bear with me. Sometimes the best replies take me a day or two to get all the parts I wanna say together. 😉

  2. I so relate to this!
    You’ve described this dilemma so well.

    The question, “how do I learn to just be okay with me?” is a perfect one. It’s a much better one than a question about “How do I achieve perfection?”
    I think you are well on your way with that question “how do I learn to just be okay with me?” I think continuing to ask and figuring out which things keep that question in the forefront are the right ones. And what can you do to take care of that “me”?

  3. Ooo oooo! I got it!… and response in the form of a question…
    If you had a loved one who looked EXACTLY like you, would you still think she looked so bad?
    If your answer is no… then what is so special about you that when you are in this body, you look so bad?

    • My sister, who is 16 months younger, is basically a taller blonde version of myself. People often think we are twins. She often asks me the question you ask above. My only response is that she is thinner than me. And somehow, more….

      • If your sis looked EXACTLY like you… not even thinner… would you judge her as harshly as you judge yourself?

      • I think that if she looked exactly like me I would not be as hard… would see her positive attributes…and ignore her flaws.

    • Tom – I wonder what point you took away
      was it if you seak only perfection – you will surely fail, only seeing your flaws.

      One must learn to seek to be healthy mental, physiclly and spiritually – there in lies the balance.

      Know this is different from achieving it..

      or was there something else that this piece spoke to you about

  4. Beautiful! I had a similar discussion with my daughter-in-law last week after she asked “why is it that some days I look in the mirror and think I’m UGLY, when nothing has changed from yesterday?” I couldn’t answer her question because I still do this at 66!

    I know you, and you are always beautiful on the outside AND inside–even on those days you don’t think so!

  5. The entire time I felt I was looking at myself! You captured me and if we were all honest with outselves you captured what everyone feels. You have an amazing way of putting feelings into words which is such a gift.

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