"You look good." These words have been on my mind a lot lately. No, no... don't get me wrong, that's not a self-indulgent compliment. Read on. There was a time when I longed to hear someone say I looked good or pretty. It built my self-confidence and made me feel special, not in a conceited manner, but in a genuine appreciation for a compliment.
In order to explain how those words have changed, allow me to deviate for just a moment.
I started to get sick. I don't talk about this too much here, because who wants to discuss their gastrointestinal health in a public venue? The details aren't pretty. For some reason my body seemed to be rejecting everything I ate. I had always struggled with stomach problems, but it was becoming increasingly frequent and debilitating. I had my gallbladder removed and hoped I would start feeling better soon thereafter. It only got worse from there. In a matter of months I had lost over thirty pounds. I was sick.
Throughout that time, people started telling me, "You look good, what are you doing?" I couldn't believe it. I felt terrible, and yet others were applauding my weight loss. People I didn't know that well were suddenly comfortable sharing their opinions about my body. I tried to joke about it and brush it off as much as possible, but it wasn't easy.
I know some thought I had an eating disorder. Others seemed to think it was all in my head. I was physically depleted and losing the emotional strength to cope with a health crisis and the added social dynamics.
I began a gluten and dairy free lifestyle and am still working towards recovery. I have good days and bad days. My weight fluctuates, as does my health.
These days, when I run into people who saw me at my worst, they all seem to say the same three words, "You look good." I try to receive them graciously knowing they mean to be supportive. But I guess I kind of wonder if they're really saying, "Your face isn't so gaunt anymore and you have curves again." It just makes me feel awkward and embarrassed. Sometimes I just wish they would ask how I'm doing without the assessment of my outward appearance. It's uncomfortable feeling like others are so aware of every pound lost or gained.
I know the real weighty matter is my own perception. I need to stop worrying about what others think and come to terms with my own body, no matter its current size or condition. I am grateful for my body. I am grateful for what's on the inside. I think I look good on the inside.