There are large chunks of my life that are missing. Looking through photographs of my kids growing up, you’ll see me as a young mother proudly smiling holding my kids. You’ll see my happy little family all together. Then around the time I returned to the work force full time (1997), there’s one last photograph of us all. I actually have this photograph in a frame in my office. My kids and husband gave it to me when I returned to work so I wouldn’t “forget them”. Who knew at that time it wasn’t them I’d forget, but rather myself.
There are not many pictures to be found that include me after that time. There are lots of my kids, but I am largely absent. I’m not sure when it started, or why, but my hate of photographs likely started with a perceived bad picture. You know the kind I’m talking about. The photograph where you look fat, or old, or ugly. When did I become my mother, grandmother, etc? At that point I became the taker of all pictures and avoided being in them like the plague.
Isnt it funny, when you look at those old pictures that you hated so much you see them differently now. Those fat photographs are not so fat after all. You even find yourself wishing you looked that good now. While I’m still not a fan of photographs, I’ve come to accept that every single person takes a bad photo, not just me. My daughter and friend validated that realization recently. One said, the trick to a good selfie is to take like a hundred and pick the best one. The other said, block tagging on your Facebook page so you can select the photos you wish to share publicly.
Seriously, I am very hard on myself. I look at myself in the mirror and call myself Grandma Schutz. It’s hard to imagine being in my fifties some days. Many of us ladies do the same things I do. We constantly put ourselves down. We try all these diets and fads to recapture our youth. We do it all for the wrong reasons, mostly to be what we think we need to be for others.
Recently, my daughter bitch slapped me when I vented about lack of progress with my training. She said, every time you put yourself down you put me down because I look like you. When I get older I will be you and I will have this stuff in my head. I don’t need your body issues I’ve got enough of my own. Ugh!! Who even though about the impact my ongoing struggles had on her. I was so busy worrying about myself I didn’t think outside of that. It really made me take a moment to think about it. Fast forward a few days, and on Facebook I saw a letter a woman had written to her mother about this very topic. Yikes. Talk about unintended consequences of sharing my feelings.
Here I thought I was an awesome role model for my daughter. I eat healthy and am fighting the good fight to reclaim my health. I work out daily and live an active life. I thought I nailed it and my daughter has even begun to practice yoga and take hikes. She’s in her early twenties and has even started tasting new foods she never would have before. Heck, that took me until my late forties to do! But, what I never realized or thought about was the impact of the negative side of this fight on others. Who knew that by constantly voicing my self deprecation I was leaving an imprint on my daughter, framing her future.
I signed up for a half marathon training plan this week with a coach. She made me slow down my pace a ridiculous amount to do some heart rate training. The goal is to build a stronger base. To basically slow down to speed up. I’ve always been a pusher. I pushed myself to run, albeit I’m not fast, faster than was comfortable because I wanted to reach a goal I had set. It didn’t matter that I kept getting hurt, or didn’t feel great doing it. I fought the coach a bit but listened this week. I came to realize that it felt great to run that slower pace and after I wasn’t exhausted or sore. I wondered if life couldn’t feel like that if I stopped chasing some perceived expectations of myself. Perhaps if I just embraced where I am now, slowed down a bit and just enjoyed the ride I would be a far better role model.
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