I was thinking about the movie the Matrix the other day. You know the part where Neo is being shown exactly what the Matrix is? When he suddenly finds himself in the training program appearing exactly as the person he was before he was freed. His hair is back, the holes in his body are gone, and even his clothes change to reflect who he was-not who he actually is in the present. His residual self-image- not who he is but who he remembers being.
I think everyone on a certain level has a residual self-image. Maybe it is a happier you, a slimmer you, a healthier you, a younger you. Or perhaps it is someone who had an energy level or a motivation level that you can only dream about. No matter what the image of ourselves that we hold dear to our heart-the one we can’t let go- it affects the standards that we hold our true self up to daily.
What I should be able to accomplish on my to-do list and what I am actually able to accomplish are two different things. I have begun to wonder if I ever had the capability to be that productive or has the reality of who I was become warped over the years. How badly have I distorted what I should be able to accomplish in a 24 hour period? Is it fantasy or my residual self-mage makes me more discontent with my present state?
My body certainly doesn’t resemble my residual self-image. In my mind and in my dreams I am still that fit woman with the 25 in waistline and the toned body. The girl who spent 1 ½ hours to 2 hours 4 times a week working out. The girl who couldn’t imagine wearing double digit size clothes and was once told she was too tiny now says a silent prayer to see a size 10 and thinks of the joy it would bring her. The woman I picture in my mind and the woman I see in the mirror seemed to cause my brain to overload. It is hard to process that the woman I see in the mirror is what has become to the woman I hold near and dear to my heart.
Some days I feel that the remembrance of who I was only serves to make me more discontent in the present. Other days my residual self is an inspiration of who I may be again-one day. Other days I am fairly sure that I will land somewhere in the middle. After all, even without RA I am no longer in my 20’s. That girl is gone for good. But what I hope, what I pray, is for the new self that I am slowly building to be better than who I used to be. I will be wiser, emotionally stronger, more loving, and more supportive to those around me. I want health more than the perfect body. I want depth. I want a new better me more than I want to return to who I used to be.