When the mirror is broken

I wanted a lot from 2011 – I wanted to go back to New York (a trip is on the calendar – NYC, I’m comin’ atcha this fall), I wanted a shampoo that smoothed the frizz (I think I’ve found one!), I wanted a better mile pace (it’s been too cold for outdoor running, so we’ll see… we’ll see), and most importantly, I hoped to make 2011 the year where I could be a little less…critical of myself and my body.

Why didn’t I just pledge to learn how to split atoms in my kitchen?

The thing is – there are certain changes in life that are easier than others to make. If I want to feel a little more rested, I could try to go to sleep a little bit earlier each night. If I’m feeling sluggish, maybe I can drink more water. Too jumpy? Cut back on caffeine. Jeans getting a little snug and I can cut back on the cookies and add a smidge more cardio.

Cause. Effect. Solution.

When the problem is your frame of mind, though, though the solutions may seem obvious, the implementing of the solutions isn’t always easy. Not necessarily. I can say to myself, “Self, STOP IT. You are being ridiculous.” And sure, maybe for five minutes, I can let myself off the hook and and be a little kinder to myself. Maybe five days even. Then a bad day hits, maybe I’m PMS-ing or retaining water like it’s my job and suddenly my inner critic has a thing or two to say.

I don’t like her very much.

She notices if my jeans are too tight, if my hair is frizzy. She spots the under eye circles or the subtle difference in the size of my thighs.

Nobody really likes that inner voice that much.

One of the things I did to combat that inner voice was to have my picture taken. When I was in Blissdom, I had two friends take my picture – two different occasions. I wanted to see me – through someone else’s eyes, through a lens. I wanted to try to remove the veil of criticism that usually layers how I perceive myself. With a photo, perhaps I could detach myself from the experience a little bit – take a step backwards and not form that immediate gut reaction, which could very well be… “Yuck.”

That wasn’t the case. I saw a smile. Strong arms. I saw laughter. My eye was drawn to those things I love and not to those I don’t. It was such an amazing experience – a game-changer, almost.

The thing is… we all have a body. We are all perfectly imperfect. We have qualities we love (even me!) and qualities that we don’t – and in the end, rarely is anyone else looking at us as closely as we are looking at ourselves (The exception may be the dermatologist when I go in for mole checks to make sure I have no skin cancer – he uses a magnifying glass to look at me, and that’s a little creepy and weird, yet justifiably thorough).

Odds are no one is ever going to see those things I see – and if they do, odds are, no one will care like I do.

It’s JUST a body.

Just. A. Body.

And everyone has one.

What I can do is be nice to it – I can feed it healthy food and lots of water, and occasionally some cookies. I can be active and let it move and get my heart feeling happy and busy. I could actually pay attention to the calendar (AHEM) and not be surprised or upset on certain days when my pants might feel tight and instead just keep it in my mind that it’s temporary and (yep) cyclical and soon enough, I’ll feel like me again.

I have a ways to go to completely silence that inner Sarah, but already there are days where she’s a little harder to hear, and days when she doesn’t show up at all. If I spend all my time worrying about what I look like in a bathing suit, I may never jump in the pool – and just think of all the fun I’d miss.

I’m a work in progress, always and still. But I’m getting there.


About sarah

Sarah is a book nerd, a music lover, an endorphin junkie, a coffee addict. Oh, and a goof ball. She writes, she tweets, and she sings off key.


  1. What a beautiful post.

  2. This is one of the things I like about getting older: I feel like I’m more “me” than ever before because I’m finally accepting myself for what I am.

    P.S. I wanna see those pictures, chick! 🙂

  3. I love this my friend – and I truly think you are beautiful…inside and out… (and I’d love to see the pictures you had taken)

  4. you’re such a tease! i want to see the photos….

    i really like this post. i could use a little (or a lot?) more kindness toward myself too.

  5. Great post. Keep telling yourself to not criticise, you’re pretty cool as it is.

  6. Just remember my friend. It’s not the destination but the journey that is important 🙂

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