Uncovering Ugly to Find Pretty

What is pretty?

Have you ever given it much thought?  I don’t want you to give me the societal expectation of pretty.

What is pretty to you?  Think about it.

I had to think about this tonight while I sat on my therapist’s couch and told the story of my interaction with the Talbots salesgirl on Saturday.  One of the things I left out of my story about my victorious trip there Saturday was this:  while we were conversing about our respective struggles with our weight and what we had each done to fight them, she said to me, “You’re so pretty.”  I thanked her and our conversation continued.

You’re so pretty.

Words I had never before heard from a stranger.   And her voice was sincere in its sound and tone.

You’re so pretty.

Words I had never heard from anyone close to me other than my husband–not parents, siblings, relatives, or even previous boyfriends.

You’re so pretty.

Talking about these three words from a complete stranger’s mouth and heart brought me to tears this evening–and for the record, I am an UGLY crier.  No one looks good when they cry, no matter how pretty they are.

But as I cried about being called pretty, my therapist asked me to think about what I thought pretty was.  Sadly, I could only think of society’s definition of pretty = thin.  And since I’ve never been thin, in my mind, I’ve never been pretty.

Obviously, this is something I will need to work on.  I know that I need to be kinder and gentler to myself, but learning to see that I can be pretty is going to be tough.  Try and unlearn a thought pattern that has persisted in your head for nearly 30 years–I don’t remember ever being told as a young child that I was pretty–it is not easy.  I was always told that I was smart–in fact, one of my nicknames growing up was “the smart one.”  I was also called “la Gorda” (the fat girl).  But never pretty.

And I suppose that’s why for so long I didn’t really care about what I looked like:  no one around me thought I was pretty, and because pretty = attractive in so many words, I was also, by default, unattractive.  Unattractive = undesirable = not worthy of another’s attention is the thought pattern that goes through my head as it applies to me.

You’re so pretty.

Who knew that those three words could uncover years of psychic shit that’s been built up and hiding the me that resides under all this weight that’s rapidly disappearing?  Why did it take losing weight to help me to uncover it all?

Something happened today that rattled me a little bit.  One of my students asked me if she could take a selfie with me after class.  I obliged, and asked her what it was for.  She explained that she has a friend who does photo challenges each day, and today’s challenge was to take a selfie with your teacher.  As we got into position for the shot I noticed in the screen of her phone how I looked, and I didn’t recognize myself.  At all.

This was a bit unsettling.

I’m getting to the point now where I’m not recognizing the me I see in the mirror because the me I’ve seen for 40 years has a larger face, broader shoulders, a rounder belly and is more jowly.  When I say that the brain is a bit slow on the uptake in this whole process, this is the kind of stuff I’m talking about.  The image of me in my head doesn’t align with the image I see in the mirror on a daily basis, and this is tough to reconcile.  It’s something I’m going to have to work on as this process continues, and I’m sure that once I get to goal it is something I will continue to have to work on.

I am a work in process, both physically and mentally.

On to the food…

Lower protein day today:  80 grams.   Calories under 900 but I ate entirely too much fat today and I felt totally gross afterward.  Live and learn:  don’t do it again!  I will make better choices tomorrow.   I’ve already got two meals packed out to choose from that are better choices for me.  Tomorrow will be a better day.


Today’s food choices, from upper right: grilled shrimp, steamed broccoli, beef/barley soup, and a bite of potato soup (not shown); half a breakfast bowl with egg, bacon, turkey sausage and cheese; store smoked turkey slices; a slice of Monterey jack cheese; multivitamin and calcium supplements x2, B12 and iron supplements, vitamins C and D supplements (not shown). I’m loading up on B, C, and D vitamins to try and stave off this bug I’m trying to catch. It will not win!

2 responses to “Uncovering Ugly to Find Pretty

  1. I really enjoyed reading this today. And yes you are pretty. I never knew what la gorda meant until this post. Through my years I’ve discovered what powerful personal strength living as the fat girl gave me. The other day I found myself saying to my son “never underestimate the fat girl.” We has been watching a movie and the fat girl was victorious in the end. I made that statement with a victorious tone. And I meant it. Where I am in life is probably because of the extra effort I had to make due to being the fat girl. And I did well.
    So after losing my weight I am invincible. I leverage that a lot since bad days do happen and that “power” pulls me through. I am forever a fat girl. But I am victorious and fat girl to me = super hero.
    Post well done!

    • “Where I am in life is probably because of the extra effort I had to make due to being the fat girl.”

      I never thought about it that way but I think that certainly applies to me too. I’ve worked my butt off in other areas of my life and have been very successful–perhaps I was compensating.

      I need to think of myself more like a superwoman who is kicking butt at this weight loss game and less like the fat girl done wrong, know what I mean?
      Thanks for your support…it is greatly appreciated!

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