I remember that once, back when I was sixteen and weighed about a hundred and ten pounds, I looked in a high school yearbook at a picture of myself, and all I could see were my thighs. I thought they were huge. I couldn't really appreciate any other part of the picture. Now I look back and say, "What I wouldn't give for that body to go with my more mature mind."
But of course one's disapproval of one's self remains with time. We just took graduation pictures with my son, and when we looked at the photos my husband and I both spent a minute or two running ourselves down. "My hair looks like a fright wig," I said in dismay.
"I need to lose thirty pounds," he said, hurt by the betrayal of the photograph.
Neither of us were able to look at that picture and simply embrace our reflections. I have never been able to--and perhaps I never will.
Do we only like pictures of ourselves in retrospect? Will I say at 60 that I should have appreciated myself at 40, just as at 40 I feel that way about 20?
The key, I know, is to love our images as they are, but I'm not there yet. Perhaps after a summer of Weight Watchers . . . :)