They say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. But what if the beholder doesn’t know what real beauty is? What if the beholder’s thought of beauty has been so skewed that they are totally unsure of what to look for? What if they can’t tell if what their perception of beautiful is actually completely off key and shallow or is pure and honest?
I have been pondering this lately as I count down the days to my last nutrition appointment at the bariatric doctor. I have one more appointment with her, then an appointment with the doctor and then…surgery. The ominous part of that whole sentence has nothing to do with any of those words, it actually is what comes after the surgery. It has nothing to do with the pain, the struggle to maintain my nutrition goals or tone my body into the shape I want it to be, the ominous part is the part where I am trying to figure out what true beauty is.
As I look at myself in the mirror now, I am greeted by the same face that always has greeted me. Bright eyes in a face that is just a little too round. Chubby cheeks, a chin that may disappear if i tilt my head just a bit too much. I know exactly the right angle to tilt my head so that my face looks angular and pretty in pictures. What am I going to look like after surgery? My body is soft, rounded curves that are plentiful. I know exactly how they move, exactly how they fit into clothing, exactly what I dislike about them. And although there is a dislike, there is a comfort in knowing exactly how they work. Where are they going to go after surgery?
I notice my clothes. I don’t fold my laundry in front of people because everything looks too big and I can’t believe I wear that size. But when I put them on there is only a little bit of wiggle room. How will I know what to buy after surgery? I know just the right way my shirts hug my chest and hide my arms, I know which ones make my back look smooth. How will these shirts look after surgery?
Will the extra skin show? Can I get rid of it? Will I need more surgery after I get the sleeve? Will I look like me anymore? If I can’t recognize myself in the mirror am I still truly inside there anymore? I wonder how people will treat me. The ones who never glanced twice my way before, will that change after surgery? Will people like me better that I have lost an entire person, will they now judge me better because of how I look instead of who I am? And what do I think about that?
I hope that I can still see me, the fighting spirit, the warm heart, the love I have for the world. I know the intelligence shines through right now, everyone loves the big girl with the big personality. I am the nice girl, the good girl, the funny best friend. I am beautiful on the inside. But when the outside matches the inside, I hope the inside still shines just as brightly as it does now. Because that is how I want to be loved. For the big girl on the inside. The one I will always be.