It started innocently enough. I was in Miami for training this weekend, and I went with a friend to lunch before it started at this weirdly opulent outdoor restaurant that also turned out to be a hookah lounge (we did not indulge in anything but food). I took her picture because this place looked like something out of Arabian Nights, and she did the same. Since it was Miami, it was hot and I wasn't wearing my jacket. The picture above was the result. Yes, my smile looks nice and it's not a bad picture from the neck up, but all I can focus on is how wide I look and how big my arms seem. I cropped the picture too, though I was tempted to crop down to just a floating head.
Miami is a body-conscious city anyway -- people of all body types were walking around in almost no clothes. The hostess for this weird restaurant looked superhuman, with obviously fake breasts (not huge, but too perfectly high to be real) and a perfectly tanned and toned body. Most of the time I was indoors in my training with other people in work-appropriate clothes, but I did spend about an hour on the beach after it was over with some of my fellow trainees. We saw lots of people in thongs there -- I was wearing my little swim dress, and though it felt frumpy, I was happy for the coverage.
I think the worst was that one of the women I went to the beach with had gotten gastric bypass surgery fairly recently. I judged her to be about my size, though a completely different body shape, sort of an inverted triangle to my pear. She said she was wearing a size 10 -- I wear a 14. I am guessing that in pants she probably could wear a 10, since her legs and hips were really thin. She seemed to be hinting to me that I should get the surgery -- or maybe she was just excited about it and I was sensitive? At most, if I were trying to get to my skinny-armed college body, I would need to lose 40 pounds -- I am trying for a more realistic 25. Those aren't weight-loss surgery numbers.
All of this left me feeling really deflated (though I felt like I looked inflated). I also feel kind of silly about all of the pictures I have been taking or having taken of myself lately. Maybe I should give up on trying to dress cute until I lose dozens of pounds?
The weird thing was that during the beach time itself, I mostly didn't feel body-conscious, because most of the people there were so obviously not -- a lot of the women wore thongs and men wore Speedos, cellulite and excessive body hair notwithstanding. There were some perfect bodies but a lot of imperfect ones too, and it was hard to be unnhappy when the sun and the surf were so beautiful. I felt self-conscious inside the dark conference rooms and when I was getting dressed, or when I was having dinner with the woman who had gotten WLS.
I also felt old. A lot of the staffers were in their 20s and there were a lot of older ladies in their 60s and younger women in their 30s among the people being trained. I felt like the only one in my 40s. That was a little bit of a weird feeling, too.
Sorry for the mopey post. To make it up to you, I'll leave you with a picture of the ocean. I got to swim for a little while, and it was gorgeous. It was definitely the highlight of the trip.