Not wanting to be recognized in person of course is deeply, but not exclusively, related to my body image. I've been thinking about this a lot lately.
As overweight as I have been from time immemorial, I maintained a relatively consistent weight for thirteen years, but put on some noticeable kilos in the last 18-24 months. I'm not sure if it happened while I was on medication in 2009, but it wasn't until later last year I finally began to feel heavier and unhealthier.
I've been watching what I eat, how much I eat, (because we eat healthily, but too much and to a very erratic schedule,) and exercising more. I'm not quite back to my previous overweight-weight, but I keep focused because just the little exercise I do manage have reduced the amount of joint pains considerably.
What interests me is how incongruent my internal and external body pictures are. Speaking of being startled by one's own reflections, sometimes I honestly don't realize it's me. That is not to say I have an unrealistic picture of my internal self, but I do see myself perhaps 10 to 15 years younger in behavior/health, (about the age I came to New Zealand,) and the weight of 20 years ago, overweight but not obese. But honestly, I don't really have an external picture of myself. If I have to picture myself walking around town, then I have to say I see a generic Japanese invisible middle-aged female, but more often a translucent cloud/smoke/gas.
My parents, especially my Dad, reminded me from time to time I wasn't pretty and I was short and there wasn't much I could do about them, but my weight and my intelligence, I could manage, and not managing them only proved I was lazy. And then there was the spiel at my convent school about internal/moral beauty, and I don't remember a student who cared less about her external picture. I was tidy and very clean, but looked down on "vanity" and felt sorry for girls who spent much time with their combs and brushes. Yeah, I bought the whole lot.
It's not that I didn't try, on both fronts. Being told by Mom I needed loose weight at Age 9 without any practical assistance, I tried try to starve myself a few times, (not like an eating disorder, but in a childish way of skipping meals and snacks,) but nothing lasted to produce results or harm my health. And my family always talked about nutrition and health so I never went on a eat-only-this style diet - this is about the time Mom became interested in organic food and joined a group that paid one farmer to grow only organics.
In my adulthood, I knew I was consistently overweight, and the line was going up rather than down every year. But at one point, maybe in my late 30's, I got sick of thinking about it and started to concentrate on other aspects of myself. Like what I can do, i.e. work and hobbies. And though I felt the need to do something for my health as I aged, I never did much, except to go to an easy gym three times a week for a couple of years. (I still didn't loose anything and I became an enigma to the gym staff.)
I felt dejected about not completing my pattern making course, and am still too embarrassed to go back, even though I'm awfully interested in the top/shirt module. I honestly feel sorry for myself, because as I age, I thought I was supposed to concern myself with maturity, character, and accomplishments. Alright, perhaps with "health" but not "weight". Dad's given me scolding about my weight ever time we spoke on the phone until a year ago; he couldn't wait a whole day before I got on my case when I was home last January so I mentioned surprisingly calmly that a woman's self-esteem has a great deal to do with her relationship with her father and her perception of how her father sees her. And he's mentioned it since. Which has been great, and I call home far more often now.
I feel pragmatic about my weight now. I don't like my joints hurting or being out of breath, so I am staying on track, aiming to loose weight slowly but more importantly being more active consistently.
I wonder how unhealthy it is to have this vast schism between my internal and external pictures, or no real extremal picture at all. I wonder if it's denial, escapism, can't-be-bothered-ism or something deeper, something like daring to defy Dad's orders. I definitely don't put on weight on purpose, but there might be something there.
So, remind me; what did I say about my weaving being the focus here, and not my person??