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Out of Focus

“Every pound you lose takes 7 pounds of pressure off of your joints,“ my podiatrist told me. We had been going over my MRI in which she pointed out that are wrong with my right foot. There was a partial tear in this ligament, a longitudinal tear in that tendon, a ganglion cyst, and a single ligament that had, somehow, survived my pigheaded decision not to see a doctor when I broke that foot several years ago. I’m less pigheaded about going to a doctor when I need to these days, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t other blindspots.

I hit the 40 pound weight loss mark on the scale this weekend. I know that’s equal to a bag of garden soil, and I was pretty happy to think about not carrying all that extra weight around on a bum foot.

That should have been enough. Just as I was celebrating being able to zip up an old favorite coat, though, a blind spot was opening up.

I got a haircut a few mornings ago, prepping for holiday dinners where we’ll wear something dressier than good jeans. The hairdresser managed to give me the perfect, idiot proof cut (I am all thumbs with a hairdryer), and that should’ve been more than enough.

As I was driving home and glancing in the mirror, however, happy with the way I looked for the first time in ages, my focus changed. I started noticing lines on my face that I hadn’t seen the day before. Had that peach fuzz always been there? I really wish I could get rid of that wart on my eyebrow.

Suddenly being able to get into that favorite old coat or triple layer my jeans for winter protection wasn’t enough. Suddenly, instead of thinking about that 7 pounds of pressure and all the other reasons why I was losing weight, I was thinking about all the outward things that were still wrong with me.

The trap was right there.

My last attempt at make-up a few months ago failed miserably (a skills deficit). I hadn’t thought about it again until that ride home. Now I was mentally inventorying the items I had kept, trying to figure out what else I ‘needed’.

Thinking about the word ‘need’, though, instantly put me on another track. I didn’t need wax or makeup or another outfit to complete an outfit or holiday, let alone my life.

I turned up the road to our house. Some of the snow from the day before had melted, but it was still beautiful everywhere. It was just the thing to get my focus back on to all the things that are going right.

Now, I’m not saying make-up or dressing up is bad. If it makes people happy, they should wear it. But I realized there is a slippery slope between a little thing to make yourself happy and letting all the little things that you think are wrong with you steal happiness that is very real.