Monday, March 26, 2007

The Other Woman

Yesterday, I crossed the line from being 44 to being 45.

In my family, you don't just have a birthday, you have a birth WEEK. The various celebrations usually start a few days before the big day, and continue until everyone has celebrated in one form or another. This year, my birthday started on Friday with a lovely date with Darling Man and will end next Friday with lunch and my best friend.

In honor of the occasion, I went shopping and bought a pretty green top and a pretty blue one. When it came time to dress, Z-boy said, "Wear the green, Mommy - it looks so pretty!" so I did. I'm still learning my new hair, so I did the best I could with it, put on makeup and jewelry (unheard of) and my new fancy sandals. When my husband got dressed, Z-boy coordinated us, unbeknownst to us at the time. I thought we looked pretty good, and asked Z to take a picture of us before we left.

The rather pissed look on my face is real. Z-boy kept goofing around with the camera and I finally had to yell at him to knock it off and take the picture already.

We went to Nino's, which we haven't been to in years - before we were married, in fact. We had a truly international dinner. Starting with French wine, white Russians, American house salad, German weiner schnitzel-spatzle-and-red cabbage, and Italian tiramisu for dessert. I suppose we could have had Greek salad to make it a totally ethnic meal... It was absolutely wonderful. I am a cheap date, however, and the two drinks I had made me forget my camera when we left.

I went back to get it the next day, and finally got around to looking at the picture that Z-boy took. And was HORRIFIED. Who was that woman wearing my clothes and standing next to my man????

When I got home, I went and stared at the mirror for a long time. I can tell you that I didn't like that other woman, not one bit. She looked... old. And tired. Her face was simultaneously puffed up and sliding down. And those chins! How many were there? At least I didn't run out of fingers. And that explains why my mother felt compelled to tell me about this wonderful tai chi exercise that tightens up your jowls... because I have some now. And they'll be worse when I lose weight. I cried (yeah, that improved things...).

I used to be so cute. I didn't think so at the time, but when I look back at pictures, I realize that I was.

This is me before I married my first husband. I was 20 and borderline anorexic. I am always shocked at how thin I was in this series of pictures. This one doesn't show it, but you could have cut cheese on my collar bones.

Anorexic Me

Then there was the me that dated an alcoholic...

Young Me img032
Which at first glance looks like it led to nefarious activity and subsequent arrests, but that's just how it LOOKS - that second picture was actually an identification for a "glamour shot". Man they use a lot of makeup!!!

But then I hooked up with Darling Man and we did really cool things - like rock climbing. We were also hammer-head bike riders. He still is, but I'm not. Being pregnant upset my sense of balance and I haven't been a serious biker since then.


We got married and settled down into domestic bliss - which included the birth of Z-boy on our 4th anniversary. But domestic bliss is also more sedentary bliss, and as the years went by, the pounds piled on.


Until we get to that woman in the mirror.

I love her and I hate her.

Hate her because she's old. She's fat. She's sick. She worries too much. She moves too little. She likes sugar and fat and hates fiber. She can't find clothes she likes or shoes that fit. She's pissed.

Love her because somewhere under all that is me. The real me. The young-thinking me. The kick-your-ass KenPo me. The smart and creative me. The me that WANTS to have her picture taken. The healthy and fit me. The me I want to be into my 50's and beyond.

My son says that my love is what makes me beautiful. I need to love myself. Actually take the time to take care of me. It's hard to do when there are so many other demands on my time, but I will do it. It's time. Because if I don't make the time now, there may not be time in the future.

The Other Woman. I hope she reflects the true me on my next birthday.


Anonymous said...

Andy and I have solved the fiber problem. Talk to me next time I come to town, possibly this coming weekend.


Anonymous said...

Your son is right


Momish said...

Does it help to tell you that you are being very hard on yourself!!! You look adorable in all your photos, both then and now. Your son is indeed right, and that beauty is in your voice when you write and in your face throughout these photos.

Happy Birthday!!!

Me said...

There are times when a post touches me so deep and my comments seem so inadequate. This is one of those times.
I love this post!
Happy Happy birthday, wonderful Sayre.

Oh, The Joys said...

I know exactly how you feel. I do.

3inone said...

First time reader of your blog. Glad I came by today just in time to wish you a happy birthday week:-)

Anonymous said...

Welcome to skin-horsedom. That cute,skinny little girl? She can't hold a candle to the woman you are now. And you are beautiful in ways she could never understand. Trust, me, you wouldn't want to go back to her! Yes, tend to your health, and be happy in your skin now. Then you can truly say, "Been there, done that", and smile while you are saying it.
Love, Mom

Anonymous said...

Hugs and happy birthday!
And I too, so understand how you are feeling. (((Sarah)))


Mel said...

Sayre, you were and are beautiful.
No, you're not a skinny Minnie these days, but you are beautiful regardless.
But do what you have to do to get right with yourself; just know that a lot of us think you are lovely as you are.

Kim Ayres said...

Happy Birthday!!!

My father always used to celebrate birthdays with great gusto. His philosophy was that it marked out the fact that you had survived another year despite all the crap the gods had thrown at you.

Until he turned 60 that is, and he's ben a right grump about birthdays ever since.

You do need to love the woman in the top photo. If you hate her, you'll sabotage any attempts she has at becoming healthier.

When my wife and I set out on our journey, which has resulted in the 100lb loss you congratulated me on, our motivation was that we wanted to be able to spend as much of our life together as we could. We didn't want to die younger than necessary and we didn't want to be spending a number of years with illnesses and dodgy body parts.

We all only have a few short years of life on this planet and Maggie and I want to squeeze the length and quality of time we have together out of them.

Despite all the focus on weight loss, the real focus has been on becoming healthy - eating healthy food and cutting out the crap we fill our bodies with. The SIDE EFFECT of a healthy eating lifestyle has been the loss of 100lbs for me over the past 2 years and not far off the same for my wife.

Love the woman you are now. Love her enough that you want to give her a long and good quality life with the family and friends she loves. Focus on health and the weight will sort itself out. Focus on weight and you will become unhealthy as you get tempted into dodgy eating patterns to lose it.

You are worth it you know :)

Nikki said...

Sayre, I remember when I was growing up and my mom would fuss about the weight she had on, but I don't remember that. I loved her because she was a great mom, because she loved me, because she took care of me and spent time with me. Your children aren't in love with the way you look. Z-boy loves you. The real you.

..and I understand what you are saying about not recognizing the woman in the mirror. Mine doesn't reflect me either. I'm on that tread mill, have TOTALLY changed my eating habits for the last 3 weeks, and it's going okay - and I've only been on the scale once.

I also despise fiber - so I eat frosted mimi wheats. It's the only thing I can come up with so far. Let me know if you think of something different.

nikki said...

I'm glad you had a wonderful birthday dinner.

I really don't know what to say to make you feel better. We all think you are fantabulous! Focus on the things you love about yourself and maybe the other pieces will follow in time.

Jenny said...

Your son is so right. You are beautiful with love.

Happy birthday, you gorgous thing!

PS. I LOVE your wedding picture.

Stepping Over the Junk said...

I know what you mean. Care enough about yourself to do what makes YOU and only you feel good. I love this post, it chronicles the stages you saw yourself in. I am totally laughing at the line "Who was that woman wearing my clothes and standing next to my man????"

Anonymous said...

Okay, I will try not to repeat what everyone else has said.

Let me say though, I knew you in high school and from my point of view you were not a walking skeleton. You were younger as we all were and our bodies change with all our life's experience making us the people we are today.

We were all 20 once with our youthful innocence. But look at the challenges you have faced and survived and grew.

You may have changed in features but you are still the same wonderful person you have always been only with more confidence in yourself.

Happy Birthday


quinn said...

Happy belated birthday !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

the photos are super thanks so much for showing them off....

I am bracing myself for my own birthday comming in April I go from 42 to 43 ouch...

Groovy Lady said...

Happy Belated Birthday!

Great photos by the way!

ablondeblogger said...

Awww, Sayre, you look beautiful. But I can totally relate to how you feel. I won't even look at my photos from my modeling days.

Happy birthday!!!

Alice in Wonderbread said...

You are beautiful right now, look in those eyes. :) That's where you can see your soul and Z boy is absolutely dead on.

It's love that makes a person truly beautiful. Anyone who only looks at the surface and makes a judgement based on societal norms and magazine covers, well- that's not someone worth hanging around.