I haven’t been looking in the mirror much lately.
Sure, I glance quickly in the morning, primarily to ensure I don’t have any sort of major wardrobe malfunction, and that my under five minute makeup “face” is presentable. I let my hair dry mostly naturally, with maybe five minutes of hair drying if I have time.
Ages ago, I got contacts that I mean to wear, and instead I take the uninspired way out, automatically slipping my glasses on my face. Even though whenever I wear my contacts, I feel so much better.
I haven’t been weighing myself often either. When I was trying to lose weight, I was keeping an online food diary, and weighing myself daily. Then I decided I was ok where I was, even if it was higher than what my doctor would have liked (he took the lazy approach of just grabbing the number off a BMI chart). Since then I’ve been going through a rough patch in my life. I binge, then I get back to a better place. My weight has peaked up about 9 pounds, then dropped down to within 3 pounds of my “goal for now.” I weigh myself maybe once a week to see where I’m at. I know some say to throw away your scale entirely. I’m not there yet. But I’m getting better.
My body and overall appearance has been something I haven’t obsessed over, nor have I embraced and taken care of it.
Then I went to the BlogHer Conference a couple of weeks ago, which broke me out of my routine, my plodding through days. I scrutinized myself in the mirror like I was viewing an old acquaintance who I wasn’t sure if I liked or not. I read online about other women buying new outfits, figuring out what to wear. I had existing outfits, but realized I hadn’t bothered to wear jewelry in a long time. I had trouble even digging out earrings, a necklace, a bracelet.
I used to love to accessorize. I took pride in expressing myself, in putting together outfits in interesting ways. Now it seemed like a bother. A time suck.
And then there was my hair. Overgrown, color faded, roots showing. Why had I put off going to the salon? Now it was too late.
I worried about going to a conference with thousands of other women, meeting new people, how I would appear to them. I hadn’t even given it thought, until the night before I was to attend. I’d been excited about the conference when I signed up. But then I got so busy, it became a date on a calendar, a thing to do on a checklist.
I had an okay time at the conference. I met some nice people. No one recoiled at my appearance. It wasn’t everything I hoped. Nevertheless, I’m glad I went.
I’m glad I haven’t been obsessing over the mirror. At the same time, I’ve been ignoring myself, dragging myself around. Part of it is too many hours at work, part of it is trying to do too many things outside of work. I realize my life has become a series of things to do and worrying about what I haven’t yet done. I feel like if I work hard enough, if I put enough effort, I can accomplish my career and personal goals. I want to do everything. I fall short and I get down on myself.
It’s summer! I should be having fun. I can’t believe it’s the middle of August already.
Today I pulled out a short little summer dress from the back of my closet I hadn’t worn once this summer. I assumed because I wasn’t at my “perfect weight” it wouldn’t look good. It fit! And it looks good! The little bit of weight-shifting is natural. I’m still the same person I was.
I look better when I’m well-rested. When I’m happy. People in my life have told me this. I glow.
I haven’t glowed in a long time. And for all my hard work, I feel increasingly uninspired. I know I need to slow down a bit, pace myself, even as I feel the insistent voice in me pushing me to redouble my efforts. Telling me I’m not good enough, doing enough.
There are always going to be things you can’t control. You have to muddle through. Do your best. Even if you feel like its not good enough. After all, what’s the alternative?
At the same time, grab control of what you can. I need a break. And a haircut. To feel a little less sad and tired, and a little more like my best self.
I want to glow again.