Thursday, September 1, 2016

A Side by Side Reflection

Pictures are a funny thing.  They can evoke memories more than most anything else, and that was the case for me this last week.  Earlier this summer, I bought a yellow dress.  I used to have a yellow dress that I loved and then I wore one to Audrey's baptism, so when I spotted this one (and it was on major sale), I felt it was meant to be.  A little more history on yellow dresses (it's crucial to the story, I promise ;))... the first one I owned was a size 20.  I can't believe I just typed that out, but there you have it.  My former self would be shocked that I admitted that.  But my current self could care less.  The yellow dress in the baptism picture below was a 16 and just fit at the time.  It was also my mom's dress.  The "after" picture.... a 12.  I can honestly say I never thought I would fit into that size, even after losing weight.  I didn't think my body could do it.  I've had a lot of surprises this past year and a half.  

Now, before you go and think that I get hung up on sizes.... I don't.  It's purely a measuring tool for me, and as a visual person, I like the reward of seeing a smaller number.  I mainly focus on how I am feeling - physically, mentally and emotionally.  And I think this before/after emphasizes just that...

The first picture was taken on a girl's trip a few years ago.  The second was taken last week, on the same beach.  I don't think I took that cover up off that entire trip.  In fact, I don't think I had a bathing suit that even fit well.  I look at these pictures and above all, I see the change in confidence.  The weight has been lifted - literally and figuratively.  

And that brings us to my new hippo dress...

I haven't formally shared it here on the blog yet, but I recently published a children's book - The Hippo at My Window!  My mom was kind enough to get me this dress and I love it.  But there is an irony here.  Until recently, I NEVER would have worn a dress with hippos on it.  Or elephants, or whales, or cows... do you get my drift?  I'll be point blank - I've been called these animals before.  And not in a loving way.  I can remember being called a hippo as early as elementary school.  Maybe at 34 I should forget about those moments, but it's hard.  Words can be the most painful things in the world and those hurtful words still stick with me.  They no longer control me, steer me or hurt me, but they're still there.

I look at myself in this dress and I smile.  I smile at the joy I found while writing my book and I smile at thinking of how far I have come.  While I've discovered physical strength I never knew was possible, the emotional strength has been even better.  

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