A red bubble, a number, and a tap later revealed something that the mirror did not: a snapshot of an imperfect life. That seems contrary to the culture we’re used to,doesn’t it? A culture in which photos on social media show only the times where we’re rosy-cheeked. Like that time someone had not posted anything on social media until a magazine profile of herself came out and then disappeared again until the next time something fortuitous came up.
In my case, however, I saw a sickly, deathly, person with spindly arms in the picture. The teeth were exposed in a foreign smile. The face stretched out for a body too small. The smile rehearsed.
Unrecognizable and yet in an instant, identifiable.
I went from person to number, and still not yet a statistic. One can only hope that I will never be one.
This picture motivated me to eat 300 more calories before I went to sleep the day before yesterday. This picture motivated me to eat a carb-heavy organic bar with a spoon dipped into a new jar of all natural sesame-cranberry peanut butter and then 2 tablespoons of the same with a few bites of a protein bar the night after.
“Do you know how many calories are in a teaspoon of peanut butter,” the man at the gym had asked me when deciding I had not gained.
I did know- all too well. I have a confession: I love nut butters. I switch between raw cashew and almond butters, 2 Tablespoons daily until yesterday when I had just about 4 tablespoons. My Memorial Day buy was organic honey sunflower butter after trying it courtesy of the Penn Station GNC. It was a last-minute purchase before embarking on a trip without a kitchen. I figured that as long as I had some sort of carb-vessel, I could slather on my favorite condiment and make a sandwich.
I remember the nutritionist who I abandoned last year, telling me to eat 4 T a day if I so desired. That scared me: I know it’s healthy, but that much fat content?
And just as soon as I finished eating beyond fullness, suddenly regretting the consumption, I looked at this photo again.
My picture did not justify my eating beyond fullness, beyond satisfaction, but instead proved to me that I can and that I have to. I do have to eat more than he, she, and most anyone else has to.
In the picture I saw some attributes I liked: my big eyes reappeared, perhaps a bit too large for the face at the moment, but at least they were no longer snake-like slits struggling to open and close due to the lack of skin elasticity that was once an issue.
I saw my teeth - straight and a bright white with dark black crevices peeking through, a sign of gaps between the teeth, void of any plaque buildup due to my meticulous flossing and brushing.
I saw my skin, and although slightly burned and tanned over the weekend when I neglected to apply my vitamin C enriched face cream, was pretty clear - a testament to my exfoliate, cleanse, tone, and moisturize regimen that is always on repeat.
I’m looking at this photo while walking and instead of trying to find the sunlight, I’m dodging the sun rays from cloud-parted skies in an effort to find shade. I’m no longer cold in eighty-degree weather. I’m not quite boiling, but I have always had a high tolerance for heat. I’m dodging the sun so I won’t turn ashen. Suddenly I realize, I’m making strides but my kin doesn’t seem to notice or acknowledge them. Maybe it’s a case of being too close to notice.
Maybe they need a picture to look at. It turns out that move is picture perfect.