Yesterday my aunty walked up to me at Dadsy's 50th and told me I was 'looking pregnant' as she patted my belly.
I think my reaction was to laugh it off and suddenly look like something important was happening in the kitchen that I need to attend to. Granted, this was probably not the best location to have to be, but at least she didn't follow and I could avoid her for the rest of the day whilst continuing my self conscious habit of pulling my tops down. A lot.
I've long had a bit of a thing going with body image. Nothing major, I don't think, but it's like my little raincloud.
When I was younger, I was the beanpole - no boobs, no real wobble all through college and high school. I'd always been tallish and I was 48kg in year 10, 58 in year 12. Come uni I managed to do something somehow that gifted me with boobs and wobble, courtesy of an extra 15kg or so. So at least I've been pretty consistent since then, typically within 5kg of that - the only variations on the theme being my almost-year of waitressing where I lived on an apple for breakfast before 8 hours on my feet, a nap, whatever dinner my parents cooked and then bed. I also did well in my manic weight-watcher-ing, down 66 kilo's at the lightest.
The thing with me and my weight is that I'm typically in a 'losing' or 'relaxing' frame of mind, with extremes of both. I class my waitressing and WW'ing as extreme losing times - there was nothing healthy about it. I was solely focussed on getting skinny, feeling for my hipbones and checking to see how much I could push down onto my love handles before I could feel only firmness. Conversely, periods of extreme relaxing occur before I start another binge/fad diet. Where I think "I won't be able to enjoy this soon, I better have it even though it's the last thing I feel like".
And always there is this time where I look back on the past - where I look back at pictures of me and think to myself "I thought I looked good there - I looked terrible" or "I thought I looked fat there, I was actually thinner".
It's a terrible, terrible thing!
It's not only weight, but image. I spend a fair amount of time on Facebook, looking through people's photos, as well as my own. More often than not, I do think they look terrible. I can easily look at photo's of other people that might not be flattering for them, but do not bat an eyelid - is it because I know them? That I know they don't look like that all the time? Because I know that I might see it only for a second and it won't cross my mind again - that it's not anything massive in the grand scheme of things?
I can look at someone who might be dangerously unhealthy and underweight, and be envious of their figure.
I can look at someone who might be heavier than me, but see only my stomach might protude more, or my face carry it less well.
I can look at the facts and see - I am 177cm tall, I am in the healthy BMI range, a large amount of my thigh is muscle from martial arts and I believe my back and shoulders followed a similar course for a similar reason.
But why must I spend so much time cringing at my photos, shifting my clothing and stance around, running my internal monologue?
What do people really see when they look at me? What image comes to mind when they think of me? Are they thinking and judging in the same manner I am?
You know, just another Sunday afternoon's ream of thinking.