I have a little hypothetical situation for y'all to chew on. Are you ready? Here it goes:
Let's say that you had a baby a couple of years ago and after that you sort of descended into a greasy-food-eating, booze-swilling, no-exercise-getting sort of person. Let's say further that you hate being heavier and lazier than you were pre-baby, but between the baby and his laundry, you don't have a lot of time to worry about your looks. (Or health. Whatever.) Let's then postulate that after two years of working crappy hours and being a hands-on sort of mommy, you decide to drop the crappy jobs and start doing good things for yourself. After all, the kid's almost in college, it's not like he needs so much of your time anymore.
Let's say you take thirty seconds to really look into the mirror (OF YOUR SOUL… but also the one in the bathroom) and you are absolutely horrified. You have a nagging feeling that your brain has melted, your hair has this strange no-style frizzy thing going on, and all of the most accurate descriptors for the way you look and feel are hyphenated pairs of Bad Things. All right, you could still work with this. You are working with this. You get back into school to solve the brain problem, and you decide to do a sort of life detox thing.
You cut way back on the booze, first of all. Way, way back. The world is a bleak place, and all in it should suffer. You drink lots of tea and water and gripe about how the fun has up and left your life. Your sober self begins to interject a bit of reason (also energy and better breath) into your life: you start eating healthy meals, find that you suddenly do not smoke nearly as much, and discover within your tiny little heart a strange urge to actually leave the bed before 11:00 AM. You get rid of your sleeping pills (for the most part) and find that while you still cannot get to sleep, you do not feel all assy and slow and dehydrated during the day — even at 4:30 AM, which is your new getting-up time.
After a few weeks of this, you kind of start to feel like a badass. You are pretty sure you've dropped a few pounds, your hair is clean and de-frizzed, and you have an entire plan for your relatively immediate future that involves things you actually want to happen. “Look at me and my sexy, almost-svelte mama self!” you think. You pick up a kickboxing workout DVD and fully intend to use it in the very near future.
Feeling pretty good about yourself, aren't you? Now let's say that it's almost time for your new classes to start. You pick a day to go schmucking around campus, and remember that you haven't gotten your student ID made yet. You head for the student ID place and park yourself in the picture-taking chair, fully intending to give the photographer your best “I am newly hot” glowing smile.
Let me point out one thing: those ID photobooths are painfully, painfully unflattering. You almost start to cry when you receive your shiny new ID. Why are your cheeks still round? Why are your shoulders so much wider than your head? This whole plan has clearly been a disaster, and perhaps you should be an example of a Not for AreYouHotOrNot.com. You could probably salvage the entire mess, maybe laugh it off and secretly resolve to never ever show anyone your student ID. All is not lost.
… Until the photographer, making small talk while she backs up your ID photo, pointedly asks you if you've investigated your school's workout facilities. “They're really great! There are cardio rooms and Tae Bo classes and lots of strength training equipment.. oh, and there's a bunch of easy stuff like yoga if, you know, that's what you do.”
Here is the part where you make a choice (just like those choose-your-adventure books): smack the ho or slide into an abyss of self-loathing and vodka? You make the call.
(Fuck you, CCC photobooth. Fuck you.)