The After Picture

I have a long-standing battle with body image. It has taken me down many, many times, and sadly, when it does, it seems to spill over into every area of my life. Suddenly, not only do I have love handles and thunder thighs, I now also find myself targeting other innocent parts of myself and going to war on my entire entity: horrible mom, wife, housekeeper, friend—just all of it. I’m chubby and worthless.

I hate being in that place. I have recently brought this issue before some of my very best friends. (I am exceedingly blessed with the best friends in the universe who will tell me the truth even if it rocks my world, and I love them for it.) One of the things I mentioned is that I am the queen of taking “before” pictures. Every workout regime that is started, every New Year’s Resolution jotted down, every healthy choice I vowed to make all began with a “before” picture. I wanted to see the amazing results and bask in my glory. But my next admission is pretty sad: I never took an “after” picture. Not to say that my body didn’t change or that I didn’t accomplish a great deal, just that I was never satisfied with the work I’d done. It was never enough. I was never enough. I can’t take an “after” picture yet—I still look awful! Sad, but true.

One of my friends has battled for me in this area and downright harasses me to see the truth about myself. (I am so grateful for her tenacity and for not giving up on me.) She came to me today and showed me a picture of myself that Facebook had given her as her memory of the day. I was, as she put it, a lot fluffier then. She said, “I just want you to see what you’ve accomplished.” And then she said, “You can take an ‘after’ picture now.” I laughed at first, but then what she had said hit me like a ton of bricks, and I nearly cried. Yes, yes, it’s time to take the “after” picture. It’s time to acknowledge what I’ve accomplished. It’s time to love myself and be okay with where I am right at this moment.

This revelation doesn’t just feel like it’s just for this one area of my life–it’s for a dozen others. Why am I waiting for perfection?! Yes, I will strive for excellence in all that I do, but I will also learn to acknowledge how far I’ve come and how hard some of the legs of the journey have been. I will pat myself on the back, and then I will give myself grace for where I’m at right in this moment. Then I’ll keep working on becoming. Not becoming some unachievable dream person, but becoming the “me” that I will be meeting at the next moment in time when I stop and say, “Okay, now, take another ‘after’ picture.”