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.