What if the person in the world, the person with your face and your life, is not the person that the you inside you thinks they are. What if the outside person and the inside person are at odds. Like one of those giant jawbreakers that is speckly colored and white outside but way, way down inside, there is this tiny bit of completely hidden and different color. So deep that no one sees it. That is me. That hidden away bit. You think you know but you are wrong.
Recently I managed to drop a few pounds. It took a while. Like over six months. Apparently it is enough weight for people to notice. For people to comment. Positively. The whole thing makes me uncomfortable. Because I don’t see what they see. The green sweatpants which used to be the only pants that fit me are now so big that I can’t really wear them without them falling off of my body. But when I look in the mirror I see that same snug green sweatpants wearing person. It doesn’t matter what you see. I am not thin. I am the pudgy one. I could never be the thin girl.
I have been a runner for a long time. I have run fast. I have run slow. I have trotted and I have jogged. I started taking a boot camp class last summer when my son was with my mom in NY. I got stronger. I can do push-ups. I swing a kettle bell. People look at me and think that I am athletic. An actual athlete. But I am not what they think. I am the girl who hid in the back of the line in gym class. The one in the far outfield where the ball never came. I am the one who could never do a cartwheel. The one who only pretended to have had a turn doing gymnastics. Still hiding. I could never be the athlete.
Sometimes I do presentations in front of large groups of people. The topics are generally not very exciting but I try my best. When I am public speaking, I try to be relaxed. I try to not be too nervous. People think that I am outgoing and like to stand in front of people and talk. They say that I am good at it. But I am not what they think. I am the one who is constantly second guessing. The one who is afraid to not know the answer. I could never be the one who knows the answers. I could never be the professional.
This is why compliments are difficult to accept. Because they are not about me. They are about someone else. The shiny hard outside. I realize that this sounds off. Wrong. Potentially demented. But it is what it is.
The one part that I know is me, I think, is that I am a mother. And maybe because although he is part of me, he is separate. I can see him functioning outside of myself. I can see that other people find him as witty and wonderful to be around as I do. I can’t deny that. It can’t be denied when it is right there. I wonder why it is so easy to deny all the rest. The rest that is actually me too.