It’s happened – I’ve reached the age where I can’t deny the changes in my face and body. They’ve come for me – like a free fall from a cliff but without the bungee cord. I’m not young and cute anymore – but so not ready to be labeled old and wise (notice that old and wise people have no appearance commentary!). My body has taken on a life of its own and while we can talk about aging gracefully, my body seems to want to beat the crap out of me and everyone else on the way out.
I’ve never been a thin woman – one of those who was born in the wrong time. While everyone was in leg warmers in the 80’s, I was still curvy and more JLo than Jane Fonda. (JLo if she was a shorter, with whiter skin, straight hair and much less talent – other than that…exactly the same.) Now in my 50s, those curves continue to curve, but all in the wrong direction. I seem to remember having knees but now I have lumps of fat that have eaten my patellae. In the day of seeking the thigh gap, my thighs seem to be seeking a second life as a mermaid.
My belly and I have been at war for the past decade. I gave up Spanx a few years ago when I realized that the more I bound my abdomen, the more it would get back at me by passing gas. Being thinner was not worth the number of times I had to quickly exit areas in hopes that someone else was blamed. My husband caught on. He now grabs me by the hand and says “Honey…is something not agreeing with you?” I remind him that I have insomnia…and unstable emotions. This is not a good era to cross me.
I feel bad for my husband for missing out on my younger years. We married after my chest had permanently headed south. A friend of mine wears no bra on the weekends since she had breast augmentation ten years ago. No bra is not an option for me. I might trip on those babies and end up with a broken hip. As they lose form, however, they are becoming easier to roll up and tend to conform to whatever bra they are bound by. Underwires are good. Jogging bras are not….unless the wide uni-breast look is in.
My arms are the one area that has maintained some sense of dignity. Those kids did come in handy for something -mostly for forgoing the need for weights. I’ve seen women my age with full-on flying squirrel going on – mine are more like slightly overweight bats -just a little hang and they do stop moving fairly quickly when I stop waving. God bless them. At least one body part still likes me.
I got a glimpse of myself in my friend’s rearview mirror the other day. It was not a reflection of my face but only my neck. I wondered how my grandmother had entered the car…since she is no longer living. Then I realized that it was me. In my grandmother’s neck. And I realized why people have face lifts. I quickly brought my face in line with the mirror – not hard since I was in the back seat. The hard part was keeping that position for the remainder of the ride. I called shotgun on the way back.
Now is the part where I’m supposed to tell you that I still love myself…yada, yada, yada. And none of it matters…and we all grow old, etc. And we do. And I do. So I guess I will! I do still love this crazy body that has decided to fight all sense and reason as it hit menopause. It breaks into hot flashes at a moment’s notice like a fit of rage by a two-year old. It keeps me up nights with aches and pains in areas where I didn’t even know had nerve endings. The only time I find my missing patellae is when I’m walking up stairs and they start screaming, “Why didn’t you take the elevator???”
But my body is still mine and the only one I’ve got. Those mermaid legs walked me all over Ireland on our last vacation. That belly got a clean bill of health at the last colonoscopy. And the breasts? They may be long…but they have not turned on me. One of my favorite shirts while walking in the the Breast Cancer 3-day – “Of course my breasts are fake – my real ones tried to kill me!”
So here we go – I could have another forty years with this cranky, non-conforming body. Beats the alternative. I will continue to push and pull it into some recognizable shape and it will most likely continue to fight every undergarment that steals its freedom. In the end, that’s okay. We’re in it together and secretly, I know we are still in sync. Time to move on, however…apparently, my belly is angry about something. My apologies.