Last night, I felt blue. Not dark blue, just a light-ish medium blue.
Anthony had irritated me the night before. I'm sure he didn't even realize it, but he did. Irritate me, I mean. Something else has been irritating me, just under the surface, and he made it a little bit worse.
So, when I got home from work last night, I ate dinner and went for a nice, long walk. I walked passed the soccer fields, where I saw and chatted with Sarah's sister, then wandered aimlessly around the cemetary for awhile. It's a favorite walk of mine and did a lot to improve my mood, but I was still a little down.
On the way home, I had a brilliant idea; I would go to a movie all by myself - something I haven't done in awhile. I had read a review for Penelope, a movie I had never heard of previously, and it looked interesting, so I checked the local theaters and found it was playing at 9:20pm. I quickly washed my dishes, tidied up my apartment a bit, and changed into going-out clothes before heading to the theater.
I loved this movie. It's a modern-day fairy tale about a very wealthy man many, many years ago who caused a curse to fall upon the first daughter born into his family. If it was a man who caused the curse, why not curse a male, but whatever. The first girl born into the family would have a pig's face, and the curse could only be broken when someone of "their own kind" loved her, pig face and all. Several generations pass with only sons being born until the time the story starts. Penelope has a pig's snout for a nose and pig's ears that you can't really see because of her hair. In fact, she's absolutely beautiful, even with the snout, but every eligible, blue-blooded man that her mom tries to get to marry her ends up running out of the house, sometimes out the window, when they see her. Christina Ricci plays Penelope, and I never realized how pretty she is. I won't tell you the rest because I don't want to spoil it for you, and because this is almost enough for what I want to say in this post.
A little while ago, I mentioned to a friend that sometimes I feel like I'm not equal to Anthony in the looks department. I think he's so attractive and I don't think I am at all. (I also mentioned that I don't think about it too often because now I think about Anthony's other qualities more than his looks.) This friend very, very kindly disagreed with me and said Anthony and I are on the same level looks-wise. It was mentioned that although I have "one physical flaw", my personality, smile, eyes, and hair are quite nice. I appreciated these compliments a lot, I really did. I value this person's opinion, and I know that the comments wouldn't have been made if they weren't deemed to be accurate.
So, why do I focus on the "one physical flaw" part so much? It's not that I don't know about this flaw. It's pretty obvious. And, I've been trying, kind of, to reduce this flaw as much as possible, so it's not like this is the first time I realized I have this flaw. I wasn't offended by the phrase, really I wasn't, it's just that I centered in on it, a lot more so than the nice things said. That's what's been bugging me.
I've been overweight my entire life. Even when I really wasn't, I felt like I was. I hit puberty early, so in elementary and middle school I was taller than pretty much everyone in my class. I also felt fatter than everyone else. It kind of grew into a self-fullfilling prophesy and I became what I always thought I was. Fortunately, I was really active in high school, so it didn't get too bad. What killed me was going away to college, learning bad eating habits but not gaining weight because I walked everywhere, then coming home to prepare for a mission and driving everywhere but eating the same. I put on a lot of weight those 5 months. When I came home, the same thing happened. I think sometimes about what I'd give to be able to redo those months. Pointless, I guess, but I think about it anyway.
Like Penelope, my one physical flaw has been with me a long time. I'm sure a lot of guys metaphorically jump out the window when they see me. It hurt her a lot to see that over and over again, and I'm grateful that it's just metaphorically in my case! Anyway, it's the excuse I've given myself for all the times a guy hasn't asked me out, or not asked me out a second time, or broken up with me, etc. If I were only thin, then...
I never really realized what a disservice I'm doing to myself until my friend's comments and this movie. Everyone has flaws, it's a fact of life. If I weren't overweight, I'm sure I'd worry about something else - maybe my breasts would be too small, my freckles too prominent, my behind too flat, or my nose too crooked. Who knows! Whatever it would be, I'd focus on it to the exclusion of all the positives about my looks, just like I do now about my weight. And, it's not just in the looks department that people do this; most of us tend to focus on the negatives about ourselves in every aspect. We find it easier to accept than the positive, for some reason.
So, what to do now that I know? GI Joe used to say that knowing is half the battle - what about the other half?? As I thought about it last night, instead of sleeping, I remembered the words some sister said at general conference a few years ago (sorry, but I'm not going to take the time to look it up; besides most of you will know who it is without me telling you - you're that awesome!). She said, and I paraphrase, Do what you can to look your best in the morning, then walk out the door, forget about yourself, and serve others. I have always loved this advice because it doesn't say you shouldn't try to be attractive; instead, do what you can with what you have and then go about your life trying to be a good person. It doesn't say I shouldn't try to lose weight - cuz I need to lose weight; physical asthetics aside, I need to be healthier! - but it gives the antedote for becoming too self-absorbed as I try to lose weight: service.
I'm thankful for my friend's comments - all of them - and for this movie about a beautiful girl with one physical flaw that seemed to overshadow everything else; they both helped me to see something I hadn't before that I really needed to see. So, while I will always be flawed, in some way or other, I can still be fabulous - in many ways!