Man, this society makes me sick. It really does. I grew up an overweight kid, but not grossly so. It’s funny, I recalling thinking I was enormous; a human cow. I’m not kidding! But when I look at old pictures of myself, it’s apparent I just had a little gut on me. Not even HUGE, just slightly overweight.
Still, growing up, I was called all the names associated with overweight kids, and it stuck. A couple years ago I talked to my mom—who also grew up a chubby kid—about this, and she agreed that, even to this day, over 30 years later (50 years for her), the only thing we see in the mirror is fat. Pathetic.
I’m a grandpa, have been married for nearly 30 years. I am blessed to have two accomplished children: an adult daughter who did amazing in college (she began to tutor other students in only her second semester) and is now a nurse, and a son who, at only 17 years old, is already attending college to be a fire fighter, and is a cadet at the local fire station. I have both a Bachelor’s and a Master’s Degree, and am privileged to work at a Christian, distance-education university, assisting both undergrad and incarcerated students. I have a nice, little home in the country with five, picturesque acres. In my driveway sit two running vehicles (for now), and I can even pay my bills each month, with a little money left for a Big Mac and a new CD here and there.
Still, what do I see when I look in the mirror?
“Well, hello there, chunky butt.”
It’s ok to laugh. I make a joke out of it, but it’s really not funny. In fact, it’s kind of wretched.
Thus, I’m not writing this from the viewpoint of someone who “used to” see myself in a disparaging light; I STILL see myself like that. It really is pitiful, so I am doing my best to stop the self-loathing.
My ultra-adorable, four-year-old grandson doesn’t see “fat” when he looks at me. He sees “POPPY!” the older dude with the white beard who loves to make Snapchat videos and watch “Peppa Pig” with him. I say “older” because that’s what he told me the other day. “Poppy,” he smiled, “you’re oldER, but not old.”
My lovely wife doesn’t see “fat” when she sees me. I’m the man she leans on and loves with all her being. I’m her lover and best friend, and have been for three decades. I’m her rock, and make her smile.
My children don’t see “fat” when they look at me. They see “Dad,” or, for my son, “Pop,” the man who lives in chronic pain and has struggled a lot over the years, but never quit: not my job, my family, college, anything.
I don’t care what others have called you in the past. Maybe, like me, your self-perception is negative, always seeing yourself through muddy, tear-stained goggles. Well, I’d like to ask to do one thing:
Try and see yourself like the person who loves you the absolute most sees you.
I don’t care what the world says when they see you; everyone is beautiful to someone.
So let’s try and smile today, and keep that in mind.