I'm starting this morning with quiet self-reflection, spinach and blueberry pancakes, a few dozen ounces of water, and a trip to the gym. Later my mother and brother will descend on Chicago, and I can't shake the feeling that this is going to be my last bit of emotional calm for a week or so. I'm excited to see them, but I'm a little stressed with figuring out how to keep a semi-normal routine of eating/exercise and remain available to my students while two members of my family are here.
There are definite good things to look forward to, like walking around the different parks and attractions we've talked about seeing. (I am an anal retentive organizer, and Mom is all about spontaneity. They have no solid itinerary, and I'm doing my best to not panic.) Dan loved the Wii Fit when I brought it to Connecticut at Christmas, so I'll have no problem logging my minimum of 60 minutes for my SFC challenge goal. And just being with folks that I love in a time when I've got a lot of work-related stress weighing on me will be lovely.
At the same time, though, being with my mother isn't always joyful. I love her incredibly, but she has very critical tendencies. I truly don't think her intentions are to hurt me; she simply tends to be a little tactless, especially when dealing with sensitive subjects.
Like when I was a preteen - I'd check myself out in the mirror, marveling at the physical transition to adulthood - and she told me to stop parading around "like some little sexpot" because I still had "a lot of growing up to do." Even now as an adult, I struggle with my habit of confusing self-confidence for vanity - I'm just now realizing that it's okay to think you're beautiful and to love the girl in the mirror.
A few years back, she made an unprovoked comment about my body shape: she referred to me as "an egg with legs." For some reason, this has stuck with me for a long time. Looking at old photos, I can see what she meant: my oddly round upper body.
But I'm a firm believer in the idea that just because something may be true doesn't mean it needs to be expressed, especially when dealing with sensitive issues like body image.
It's thirty-seven weeks after my journey started, and I have curves now. I'm nervous about what she'll have to say this time. Since the beginning of January when I saw her last, I have lost almost another 50 pounds - seeing transition pictures is one thing, but actually being here and feeling hugs is totally different. On the phone or when video chatting, her requests for updates on how many pounds I have lost are almost always followed by reminders that after she divorced my dad, she lost eighty pounds, then gained it all back plus some. It isn't that she doesn't want me to have long-term success, it's just that I'm not sure she really believes in it. I don't think that she thinks I can do this.
One of my favorite jokes to tell my students is:
Why do French people only eat one egg for breakfast?The punchline, the French word for egg, is pronounced kind of like "enough." When it comes to my mother, I wish that this one finally happy little egg was enough.
Because one egg is un œuf.