Sunday, August 20, 2017

I see me.

We went out for dinner on Friday, Ro, Mon and I, and a propos de I forget what, Mon remarked, "When I look into the mirror, I don't see fat, I see me."

Now this is not going to talk about what an absolute inspiration that woman is (because she might read this and get ideas above her station -- hi Mon!) but that sentence has stayed in my head. She captured perfectly the change I found in myself in my late 20s as I gradually learnt to love my body for all its shortcomings.

Of late, I've been struggling with my knee pain, very few days go by without several hours in bed. At times like these, I used to loathe my body. I still occasionally do feel sad when I see myself in the mirror, but it's the exception, not the norm. I've come a long way from the skinny teenager wishing she looked like anything except the way she did.

Now, when I look into the mirror, I see me. I see my eyes, always the most expressive part of me. I see my hair, dark and thick and covering my bottom. I see my arms, strong though not muscular. My breasts that fed two children and won't ever look like they once did. My waist with its sagging skin and plentiful stretch marks, but just right for sarees. Thick thighs that make me sigh but don't somehow stop me from wearing short clothes. An ankle adorned with my Nakhrewali anklet that jingles faintly as I walk. My nose with its little ring, due to be replaced with my customary solitaire. I'm slowly regaining my interest in jewellery and makeup, always a sign of inner happiness in me. I see marks of age, and signs of a life lived, of desires fulfilled and dreams to pursue.

I see, as Mon put it, me.

And today, I like me. For a while I was losing myself and not liking who I was becoming, but not any more.

This makes a difference to me in ways most men will never understand. It gives me the freedom to dress as I want (as sloppily, boringly or colourfully as the mood takes me). It puts a spring in my step, and the confidence to hold my head high. It insulates me from people's opinions. I don't think I've ever cared as little for what others think as I do today. And that's a lot of growing up for a girl who used to go over and over every conversation stressing over nuances she might have missed. I am not unconcerned about people, I just limit their space in my head.

Mon took this photo of me the next day. Now you can see what I see in my mirror.


Priyanka said...

I needed to read this so much today, thank you so much for writing and sharing. I have been going through a rocky journey with my changing body and accepting it in the past year or so - and some days are better, some days not so much. Your words came at just the right time! And I absolutely love this photo!

Spin said...

I can remember the first time that I looked at myself in the mirror and DIDN'T see me, but saw fat. Class eight maybe.

Sue said...

Priyanka -- Come back to this post if it helps. I used to have certain blog posts bookmarked just to give me a boost when I needed one.

Spin -- What do you see now, though?

Anonymous said...

you've always looked stunning Sue. Always. I fail to see how you didn't see it before. And you look even more lovely now because you've lived, loved and lost. You have experiences etched into that already very beautiful face of yours. And what beautiful height and hair I might add. Major envy here in a good way of course:-)

And yes I feel the same as mon and you do now. Very strange that it took a major ongoing illness and the passing away of my dear mother last year, at age 41, I might add for me to accept that I've been pretty awright looks wise all along. Not good looking but not bad either like I was wont to think obsessively I might add. The one person who told me all the time I was beautiful is no more so I must tell it to myself now on eh?:-)

Here's to you looking more and more lovely as time goes on. And you have the beautifulest boys and so the best accessories I must say.


Sue said...

Deepa -- I'm sorry about your mother. A big hug from me.

Rakhee Sengupta said...

You are so beautiful - inside and out.

Sue said...

Rakhee -- Thank you <3