There was disgust, regret, horror, shock, self-hatred…and sorrow that my Mum’s friends would see me and think how their friend’s daughter had piled on some pounds.
This last emotion took me by surprise, I’m not going to lie.
I went through many years of not having photos taken because I didn’t want people to have a reminder of what I looked like. I would detag any photos that were taken and posted on Facebook because I didn’t want anyone to see them. But that was all within my field of friends – people who knew me well, and whose judgements would impact on me directly.
This was something different. My feelings were concern for my Mum: what her friends would think of her family, or rather her daughter. I know how parents are proud of their family, and that to some respect there is competition between friends and acquaintances as to who has the most successful family (just a point: this is not something my Mum has ever made me feel, more that this is something I’ve observed just generally). My brothers have turned out to be very sensible (in most ways), kind and thoughtful (though sometimes not to their big sis) and good looking (who’d have thought?!) individuals. To me the photos showed a happy collection of people, all who have their lives and s*** together…and then there’s me. Someone who is happy to let their figure slip (or so appears) and look a mess. That's how my Mum's friends would perceive me, and I felt that for some reason that would cause them to reflect negatively on my Mum. Ridiculous no?!
Writing Monday’s post helped me sort my head out. It helped me to rationalise my thoughts, remember the bigger picture, and get over myself. Seeing those photos brought a whole host of emotions, and identified new thought patterns for me to work to change. It made me realise how much I want to make my Mum proud. But on reflection I realised the way to make my Mum proud was not through the superficial achievement of being the skinniest daughter amongst her group of friends, but by recovering and leading the life they envisioned me having: a carefree, happy, and healthy life.
And isn't that the life we should all envision for ourselves?