Dear Guy in the Mirror,
Today was my first day working out at the gym after two years of not working out at all. It was my first day trying to be invisible in front of a wall of mirrors. And you were my not-so-welcoming encounter.
I don’t know your story. Maybe you were born God’s gift to everyone. Who knows? And you don’t know my story either, but one part of it is that I’ve been picked on for being fat long before you. Weight has been a lifelong struggle. More energy than I’d like to admit has been put into finding a way to be happy with myself. But, really, shouldn’t that come naturally…like breathing? It seems for you it might. For me, I’ve fought storylines in my head, comments from others, and society’s ideals so that I could truly love me.
And I do.
I love the rolls of my stomach, the slouch of my shoulders, and the width of my feet. I also love my easy smile, my warm hugs, and my rose-colored glasses. And you should be happy about THAT. Because when I was working my 10 pound weight on a bench behind you, I could hear you.
“Did you see her?” you said to your friend. “When I looked in the mirror all I could see was that whale behind me. Gross.”
I didn’t cry. I didn’t break. I didn’t acknowledge you. Because I love me. I enjoy feeling my muscles working again. And my sunny outlook on life. Due to that, I simply took a deep breath and moved the weight to the other hand and kept going.
“Shh…she might hear you. And don’t be a jerk.” That’s what your friend said back. You’ll never know that I did hear you. But it looks like we both showed our true colors. I’ll be back in this gym a few times a week. Every week. I’ll be sitting behind you in the mirror. At some point maybe working my way to standing next to you in that mirror. Get used to it. Get over it. Or get lost.