Overheard in the bathroom at the gym recently : there was a young woman who was there with a friend and looked in the mirror and said “I look like shit today.” My initial inclination was to mind my own business, since what I had to say might not be well received. She didn’t seem like a happy camper to begin with. Then my maternal instincts kicked in and since I really am old enough to be her mother, I was not about to let the opportunity pass by to have a potentially positive impact.
I couldn’t resist asking her if she would ever talk to anyone else that way and surprised, she said “Of course not.” I gave her the most compassionate look that I could, and asked her to please not speak to herself that way. Her friend said nothing, which was equally surprising to me since my friends would likely challenge that verbalized perception of myself. Maybe she agreed. Maybe she didn’t know what to say.
I should have reminded her where she was which was Planet Fitness-the Judgment Free Zone of all places:)
I then walked away and began my workout. As I was sweating on the elliptical, I noticed my own self deprecating thoughts about levels of fitness, endurance, energy, with the focus on my belly, which is so for many women I know. I have such a love-almost-not-quite-hate-but rather-less-than-appreciative view of my 54 year old body. We teach what we need to learn, so this is my lesson. When I was in my 20′s I was itsy bitsy teeny tiny by most standards. Over the interceding years, the weight jumped on board. Sneaky that way. I lost a fair amount of weight a few years ago and am in so much better shape now than I was prior to peeling off those layers, but am still not content. Without using the same words as the woman who splattered self criticism in the mirror, I was doing the same thing. She was MY mirror. I need to clean the lenses through which I view the image reflected back at me.