Don't Let's Call It a Diet, I Sing the Body Electric

The Shape of Things


  Self Portrait 022208 
  Originally uploaded by revsongbird.

I’m trying to get to know my new face and body. It’s rather like learning the landscape of a new person in your life. I remember looking endlessly at the faces of my babies, memorizing every square inch, noting which way the cowlicks spun on their little heads, what sort of flecks of gold were in brown eyes, and could they be called hazel, really?

I used to think of my face as round, but what I meant, I suppose, was fat. I thought that even when I was not fat. I’ve told the story before about looking at my high school yearbook, at an informal photo of a group of girls standing next to a car in the school parking lot. I recognized Anne and Pam, but I couldn’t place the girl standing with them. Who was that skinny thing?

(Um. Oh. That would be me.)

When I met my birth mother, I couldn’t see any resemblance between us, but when, a few years later, I did Weight Watchers and got down to the lowest weight of my adult life, I began to see the similarities in our faces.

Two of my children resemble me strongly, but I have a harder time seeing similarities with Snowman. He has his father’s blue eyes, amazingly. (How is that possible? Perhaps Bill Nye the Science Guy will answer.) But in taking these pictures I discovered that, like him, I sometimes smile with only half my mouth.

As I lose weight (and I want to let you know I broke through the plateau and lost almost 5 pounds this week, I’m sure attributable to some sort of metabolism "reset" that comes from the new weight-lifting regimen), I am trying to see myself in fresh ways. I’m looking at the progress I’m making not as a crisis response to a life emergency but as a change in how I approach the world. I’m learning to love new tastes and hoping to love myself.

Parts of me feel hardier than others, and parts of me show the use of childbearing and the strain of expanding and contracting. I’m trying to know those parts the way I didn’t know the girl in the parking lot. I’m trying to love the shape of things, the shape of me.

28 thoughts on “The Shape of Things”

  1. What a great post, so vulnerable, so honest. I know I can relate to your sentiments powerfully. I think your face is wonderful, it makes me want to know you “face to face” someday. I hope you feel empowered to do things like facials, new hair care, or buying new makeup, those things that celebrate a pretty face.

  2. dear sb… we are all, if we are honest with ourselves, trying to love the shape of things. who we are. how we look. what we think. how we feel. so know while the details of your path and my path are different… you are trying not on your own.

  3. How Snowman got blue eyes:
    One blue-eyed parent with genotype bb (recessive trait)
    One brown-eyed parent with genotype Bb (brown [B] is dominant)
    Snowman got one b from blue-eyed parent and one b from brown-eyed parent; genotype bb results in blue eyes.
    Actually each pairing from said parents has 50-50 chance of producing a blue-eyed kid, and two brown-eyed parents have a 1/4 chance of having a blue-eyed kid assuming they are heterozygous (Bb) for the trait.
    This would be better if I could draw a picture, but may be more than you wanted to know 🙂

  4. you are gorgeous!
    my beloved and i are both hazel-eyed. son has brown eyes, and daughter blue, following the trends in our birth families. the wonders of genetics.
    p.s. — i have an actual diploma signed by dr. science [astersmay egreeday in scientia et scientus]. it’s the only one i bother hanging on the wall.

  5. It’s a process, that’s for sure. Seeing yourself for who you are and loving what you see, bumps and all. I am not sure I’ll ever see myself as others see me. So, once you are at your goal weight, I propose you go see Carson Kressley on How To Look Good Naked???

  6. There is a website called MyHeritage where you can enter the pictures of both parents and the child. Based on facial recognition software, it tells you who the child resembles most. It is really neat!
    And you look awesome, by the way!!

  7. You look wonderful!
    I have a crooked smile. I always seem to try to fix it before I pose for a picture but I always forget which side goes crooked so then I really mess it up sometimes.
    You are an inspiration to me.

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