Overweight and “What’s the Use?” Thinking

As I am getting ready to have facial plastic surgery, I’ve been thinking about my appearance more.  Now, you might think that someone considering having the facial procedures I plan to have (particularly facelift, necklift, and eyelid surgery) would be someone who pays a lot of attention to appearance.  Over the past couple of years I have read many reviews at Realself and I notice that many of the women who get facial surgery were already women who who looked nice before surgery.  They often had before pictures that showed them wearing well done makeup, nice clothes and jewelry, etc. In other words, they already looked nice, and surgery was simply an enhancement.

In recent years, though, I think that most people I know would probably see me as someone who doesn’t care much about appearance.  When I used to work full-time in an office, of course, I dressed appropriately for that environment and wore makeup and so on.  That was part of normal expectations. But, even then, once I was at home I rarely dressed up or wore makeup unless it was a special occasion.  The weekend was mostly T shirts and no makeup unless I was going out somewhere that required something nicer.

Now that I mostly work from home, I rarely wear makeup.  I made a comment to my husband that I wanted to buy new makeup to use after my surgery.  Most of my makeup is a couple of years old and I told him that I read you should replace your makeup every six months.  He said that if I did that I would be throwing away barely used makeup since I wear it so rarely.

You probably notice I don’t post many pics of me here.  Part of it is hating how the loose skin on my face books.  The other part is that most of the time I don’t wear makeup so I am not usually going to post a picture here when I sort of look like a, well, slob.  I did post this one a few months ago.

 

My leader, Dana, and me. Note it was early in the morning for me and I wasn't wearing makeup! Oops.

This picture was taken the day that Beyond the Scale came out. It was early in the morning and I am pictured here with my leader, Dana.  Look at what I am wearing — or not wearing.  I have on a T shirt and workout pants.  The polarfleece jacket was comfortable and warm, but you can see that it is now way too big for me.  I weigh a lot less now than I weighed when I bought it.  I really should replace it since it longer fits me.  As far as what I’m not wearing — no makeup and no jewelry.  Yes, this was early in the morning and was a meeting earlier than I usually go to.  But, honestly?  I never wear makeup unless I am going out with other people or need to meet with someone where it would be typical to wear makeup.  The result is that 95% of the time (OK, 98%) (maybe 99%), I end up not wearing makeup and I usually have on a T shirt.

So, if I hate wearing makeup and don’t dress up much, then why on earth am I having facial plastic surgery which doesn’t change how my clothes fit me (which the tummy tuck/breast lift will do)?  I mean the fact is that the facial plastic surgery basically just improves how I look.  Just like makeup improves how I look.  And, I justify surgery in part in just that way.  But, if I don’t wear makeup on a regular basis then why am I having surgery?  After surgery, will I continue to not wear makeup except rarely?  Will I continue to wear T shirts and workout pants most of the time?  I think the answer is no.  I think I will start wearing makeup and dressing in more attractive (and better fitting) clothes.  And, I plan to start wearing jewelry again on a regular basis. Of course, you might wonder why I would do that since I don’t do it now.

And, there is where I think my long history of obesity and overweight comes into it.  I think there was that point when I began to think that it really didn’t matter to my appearance if I put on makeup, wore nice jewelry or was well dressed.  The thing that I most noticed with regard to my appearance was the fact that I was obese.  An example is this picture:

I wasn't weighing myself when this was taken.

I had on makeup when this was taken. I was wearing nice jewelry and a nice outfit.  But, the thing I most notice is that I look pregnant in this picture, but I wasn’t pregnant.  So, there was that point at which I just said, “What’s the use?”  The thought that it didn’t matter what I did, nothing was going to look good because what is going to be mostly seen is the, well, fat.  And, so then, I end up more or less saying, “Whatever…”

8-11-2013

August of 2013 when I weighed 196.8 pounds

In this picture, I had mostly given up.  Actually, I was making a bit of an extra effort here.  This was at my daughter’s birthday dinner so I wasn’t wearing a T shirt and I had taken the time to try to blow dry my hair very straight.  But,that was about it.  I knew that nothing I did was going to make more of an impact than the fact I weighed almost 200 pounds. So, by then I had given up.  That said, looking at those pictures objectively, I looked a lot nicer in the one with makeup and jewelry.  Yes, I look fat in both of them, but I look better in the first picture.  But, I didn’t really see it that way at the time.  I saw that first picture and was mortified.  I didn’t really think about the fact that I looked better doing what I did in that better than I looked when I did nothing.

Now, I recognize that not everyone who is overweight feels the way I felt.  I’ve seen plenty of women who weighed as much as I did or more and they dress well, wear makeup, etc.  And, certainly even at my heaviest, I did those things when I was going to places where it was expected.  That is, I would conform to exterior expectations.  That was what I was doing in that picture where I had the blonde hair.  It was a party where it was expected that I would wear makeup and jewelry, etc.  So I did.  But for me personally?  I just thought it was no use to even try.  Maybe I shouldn’t have felt that way.  In fact, I don’t think I “should” have felt that way.  I never felt that way about others. I never felt that was useless for them to be dressing well or wearing makeup while walking around overweight.  But, somehow I felt that way about me.

It is only recently that I have realized how much I really internalized these feelings over the past few years.  And, I got into the habit of not wearing makeup, not wearing “nice” clothes, and so on.  Don’t get me wrong.  I wasn’t actually a slob.  I took showers, washed my hair, took care of my clothes, and so on.  I just didn’t pay much attention to trying to look my best even after I started losing weight.  I did do one thing from an appearance standpoint.  In the picture just above, I was coloring my hair myself using natural henna.  I actually liked the color and the henna was very good for my hair, but it was a pain to use.  Not long after this picture, I decided that I just didn’t want to have to do it every month (those roots were growing out quickly).  I could have gone back to my natural color (very, very dark brown which is now mostly gray), but I didn’t like the gray.  So, I went to a hairdresser and started regularly coloring my hair there again.  I even bought some new makeup to match the new hair…but then I mostly didn’t wear it.

And, since then, thing have mostly stayed like that.  I wear makeup when I am going out with others or it is an occasion where it would be expected. But, most of the time I don’t and I still mostly wear T shirts.  I even took a mild foray into jewelry when I made a Pandora bracelet out of my Weight Watchers charms:

Bracelet on Hand 2

 

And, yet…I end up wearing the bracelet once every couple of weeks.  Mostly that it is because I forget to wear it.  And, that is because it is in the jewelry box which is in my cabinet in the bathroom and I don’t just think to get out my jewelry to wear. The irony here is that I used to wear jewelry all the time.  When I got married, I usually wore earrings, a necklace and a couple of rings.  But, after pregnancy, which is when I became obese, I eventually quit wearing those things except on more formal occasions.  I even stopped wearing my wedding ring when it wouldn’t fit me any more (I am able to wear it now).

And, somehow, I got entirely out of the habit of wearing jewelry.  I just don’t even think about it any more.  And, I realize now that when I was overweight I just deferred trying to do something about things I could have done something about that didn’t have anything to do with weight.  For example, my ears.  Almost 50 years ago, back in junior high, I had my ears pierced.  They were pierced too low and over the years the holes stretched and became more like slits.  It got to a point where any earring that wasn’t very light would cause the bottom of my ear to roll under and the earring would sort of turn over.  Most of my earrings I couldn’t wear and, of those I could wear, I was afraid that the least little thing was going to result in the hole finally tearing through completely.  Now, I have known about this problem for over 20 years.  And, I did nothing.  I just quit wearing earrings. The fact is that this can be repaired.  The surgeon can open up the pierced area, stitch it back up, and then I can pierce my ears again (at a higher location) when they have healed.  But, for years, I didn’t even think to do this because I was in “what’s the use” mode.

I honestly regret now that I could have had my ear lobes fixed years ago and could have been wearing jewelry whether I was overweight or not.  I could have worn make up and so on.  While I may not like the picture above where I have the blonde hair, I certainly look better in that picture than I do in the picture where I was similar weight with no makeup or jewelry.

And, even when I got to my goal weight, I didn’t really change what had now become habit.  That picture with my leader was taken several months after I got back to goal weight.  But, I was still doing the same thing.  No makeup, no jewelry, ill-fitting jacket and very casual clothes.  Now, all of that is fine to a point.  Not everyone likes makeup or jewelry, for example. And casual clothes are fine in many situations.  I was never the person who spent two hours putting on makeup or doing my hair just so I could go out to dinner.  But, I used to wear makeup most of the time outside the house and I usually wore at least minimal jewelry (earrings, a necklace).  And, that jacket would have been replaced as soon it became too large for me.  Somewhere, I just got out of the habit of paying attention to those kinds of things.

And, now I am going to have surgery that is designed to improve my appearance. That is just the opposite of “what’s the use” thinking.  I see now that I have slowly over the past months been waking up from what was a deep sleep of not caring about that kind of things.  There have been small hints.  The Pandora bracelet, getting a permanent in my hair to enhance it growing out more easily, a few new things to wear.  Slowly I am waking up and starting to pay attention to these things, although I still often forget (I will go out and wish I had remembered to wear my bracelet and so on). Old habits really do die hard.

The thing I wonder is why it took me so long to wake up.  And, I regret that I spent years deferring things because I thought it was useless to do X while I was obese or overweight.  I used my weight as an excuse not to do so many things.  Why?  I think part of it was just all or nothing thinking.  I didn’t think I could look really “good” because I was overweight so I didn’t really try to do anything to look better except in situations where it was “expected”.  If it was my choice, I never made the choice to enhance my appearance because, inside, I didn’t really think it could be enhanced.  I was so focused on what was “wrong” with how I looked that I just didn’t try when it was my choice to do something or not.

In the end, of course, I got to “normal” weight and I am slowly waking up to paying attention to my appearance.  I do think that one reason I didn’t do it sooner was because I didn’t like how my face looked and didn’t like the loose skin on my body.  It would be easy to just continue on as I am and to still not try.  To simply accept that I am older now and that I have a body that bears the effects of overweight and weight loss and to still say, “What’s the Use?”

The fact is I can’t be the person I was when I got to my goal weight of 125 in my 30’s.  I remember when this picture was taken about 25 years ago.

At about 130-135 pounds shortly before I got to my goal weight of 125 pounds.

I weighed about 130 pounds or so and was well on the way to my goal weight of 125 pounds.  I was finally starting to like how I looked.  And, as you can see, I was wearing jewelry and makeup and even had my nails done.  I was taking a lot of care with my appearance then.

And, I can’t go back to that, even I got somehow to 130 pounds again.  Those 25 years did happen.  After I have my facial surgery and then my Mommy Makeover, I am sure I will like my appearance much better than I like my current appearance.  But, I am not going to look like I am in my mid-30’s either.  And, that is OK.  I am not trying to go back to that time.  I want to look better for where and how I am now.  I don’t want to say “what’s the use” anymore.  While I still don’t think I will ever spend 2 hours doing my makeup and hair (I didn’t do that when I was in my 30’s either), I do think that I can do a lot to look like a better me right now.  Isn’t that my blog name?  Less of a better me.  That wasn’t just about losing weight.

Somehow, I kept forgetting that while I was overweight.  I think that was my mistake.  I don’t want to make the same mistake now based upon age.  I am fine with what my age is.  But, I know I can look better for my age and, finally, I am motivated to make changes from what I have done for the last 20 years or so.  What’s the Use?  To do things to be a better, happier me.

 

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