A Self Portrait



This morning was a hard one. A harsh one. I had to go to the doctor. It was a follow up visit from a check up last month where fasting blood work was ordered. This is not out of the ordinary and, in fact, it happens several times a year. I have a bum liver, a mediocre thyroid, and diabetes. These are things that must be looked after.

So as I drove to the doctor office this morning I was fully preparing myself for the shaming. When I was first diagnosed with all the things I did a bang up job of getting in gear. I knew that my life had fallen out of control and my health was a perfect picture at the time of the way I was handling things. Which was not well.  But I got it together, got my butt in gear, lost weight, starting taking my meds regularly, yada, yada, yada.  Within six months I had lost 25 pounds, got my A1C under control, my liver was functioning well, thyroid started working…I was jamming.

Then I wasn’t. I could sit down right now and make a very quick list of all the ways my life derailed this year but at the same time, I could make an even longer list of all the good things. It’s just been a big year. There have been big feelings, big changes, big decisions, big heartache, big joy. Big. There’s been  a lot of big. And my weight followed.

I felt certain, as I waited for the doctor to come into the exam room today, that he was going to share horrible news. I steeled myself for the off-the-chart-numbers he would read. I told myself that I would not cry. I had made these choices, no one forced me to be in this position.

“Mrs. Lexow, your numbers have never looked better. You A1C looks great, thyroid is super, liver is working…..”

He continued down the list and I felt like this strange feeling inside like maybe he had the wrong test results. Surely this was not right. And then he leaned in towards me and looked me straight in the eye.

“Mrs. Lexow, you are really healthy today. You’ve made great strides with your health and I’m really proud of you. But your weight is higher than it’s been in a long time and I’m thinking that it’s no longer a health issue, but a heart issue. What are you going to do to love yourself enough to lose the weight? What are you hiding from?”

Damn it.

So I came home, did some chores, started dinner prep for tonight, and sat down to check emails. I found a new writing prompt waiting in my inbox. The blogging challenge I’ve been halfheartedly working on suggested I write a self portrait.

“Be kind to yourself. 

There is so much beauty and life inside you.”

Two voices in one day telling me to love myself. To be kind.

I know how to do this. I know how to do it just like I know how to breathe and to walk. I preach self care, self love, taking care of your mental health all the time. So why then, when I know the answers, do I find it so hard to use them myself? Can I say kind things? Even harder, can I write kind things? Maybe I should. Maybe this is the first step toward looking in the mirror and believing there is beauty.

Well, here it goes…

Tamara, A Self Portrait

I am funny, full of quick wit.

You wouldn’t think so much punch could be contained in such a short frame.

I am full of sparkle, joy, fun….

I am full of a lot.

I love words. I love to write them, to read them, to speak them…

Even if you aren’t listening I will continue to talk.

But I’ll get angry if you don’t hear me.

I need you to hear me.

I am helpful, whether you want me to be or not. I’m sure I have an answer for you.

And if not an answer, I have a joke.

Or a drink.

Or a piece of cake.

I am a survivor. I could tell you I no longer fear abandonment because I’ve survived it so many times.

That would be a lie.

I am stronger but I’m still afraid.

Some people say big hair is hiding something. I think that’s bull.

Big hair is just fun.

I worry less these days about pleasing people.

Some people.

My desire for my family to feel my love is greater than my desire to please the masses.

I no longer think being busy is a jeweled tiara.

It looks like a heavy weight.

I don’t care to impress you with my accomplishments, my committees, my calendar.

I long to know my Creator on a deeper level.

Sometimes I see his reflection when I look in the mirror.

At least I think that’s who I see.

That’s why I want to know Him more.

I want to know for sure.

I am a wife, a mother, a lover, a fighter, a friend, a teacher, a preacher, a talker, a writer.

I am worthy of love.