There is this thing called mental body image… how do I in my mind’s eye SEE myself? There have been discussions and discussions about girls, ladies, women and their low self-esteem or poor self-image. That this battle between how they look and how they value that image in their mind’s eye results in eating disorders, depression, cutting, suicide, and many other destructive outlets. So many of us discourage negative talk about our own bodies, and attempt to reinforce a positive self-talk about our beauty and value.
But as I embarked on this journey of weight loss I challenged myself to look at my real body image, and I discovered something rather interesting. For me I have had the same view of myself for years and years and years. I have pictured myself on the inside completely different from I appear on the outside. For me the mental image, I have seared in my mind’s eye hasn’t changed in almost 15 years or longer. It does not change with my weight, the fashions, my hair style, or even my skin tone. My mind has the same picture representing who I am year after year. It’s almost like I have created an avatar in my mind about who I look like and who I am.
I can even see this character engaging in conversations with groups of people when I am trying to anticipate how a situation will go. This same image appears when I dream (on the rare occasions) and when I fantasize about my future life with God, goals, and a guy.
Even though I look in the mirror every day and I get naked to try on clothes; the reality of me physically in real life does not impact the image in my head. Which I believe is why I can be so confident at times. That I can forget about how my looks do not measure up, and stand tall with my minds image firmly in place to take on the world. It is definitely not intentional, and I do not always see the image when I am being bold or fighting my insecurities. But I do know at times this internal representation of myself has made it easier for me to present who I am to the world with confidence. It has brought me a way in which to battle the ever clamouring voice of insecurity stating how I am not pretty enough, attractive enough, or even acceptable enough to be some place because of my outside looks. So is it any wonder that I like forgetting what I look like as soon as I walk away from the mirror?
I wonder at times if this is the reason I have not cared to focus on losing weight? If my avatar is healthy and energetic and positive and pretty and that is who I see myself as… is there any wonder why losing weight has not been a deep-seated priority?
It also brings to mind a deeper question that in itself makes me worry. If it is so easy for me to accept this avatar as the image of myself and it is a distorted view of reality (or is a complete fantasy not based in reality) in my head; how do I know for certain that I am not generating more wrong interpretations of reality? How can I be sure anything else I interpret in my mind is TRUE in reality and not just a fabrication of my all to creatively active imagination?