I’m on a roll. Having faced certain truths and accepted that the limits of my physical abilities no longer encompass tens of thousands of stone steps, I’m letting go of more outdated images from the past.Another nostalgic pipe dream I had for retirement was also based on the image in that forty-two-year-old self photo (see my last post). I was thinking I could get back to that weight and cohesiveness of flesh. Despite efforts - I tried - I really, sort of, tried - that hasn’t happened. And isn’t going to happen. Instead I find myself, for the first time ever, accepting and owning the excess. Or at least some of it.
I let go of self-consciousness and wore a sleeveless blouse, which I haven’t done in several years. No one even noticed, of course. I didn’t catch anyone starting disapprovingly at my crepey underarms. Not even me.
Growing up labeled a “big girl” puts down deep roots. Now, I’m digging them up, tossing them out and just accepting what is. Perhaps some of the recent press on and advocacy by fat girls has bolstered my shift. For example, check out local rad girl, The Militant Baker. However, those images are limiting – it’s always young women. With zaftig flesh, yes - but its firm, smooth - young - flesh. I see the pictures and think: talk to me in four decades girlfriends, when gravity and time have worked their magic. That will call for a whole new support group.
On the other hand, there’s the photo-retouch-plastic-surgery-industrial-complex that creates impossible images to emulate. I thought once I got older, I’d be free of that. But no, here we have Helen Mirren in her skimpy two piece bathing suit, Jane Fonda all sleek, Susan Sarandon's unrestrained boobs, and Diane Keaton (skinny bitch!). There is no end to the images of the ideal. I just had to stop looking.
I still notice the number of products it takes to keep it all going though. I remember thinking when I was in my twenties, when I had not-much money and smooth skin and wore little make up: Who would pay $40 for under eye cream? Uh, your future self, sweetie. I’m not letting go of that hedge against deteriorating aesthetics.Just as I’m not going to start sitting in cafes because I no longer will be doing tens of thousands of stone steps, I’m not giving up. I‘m still going to wage battle with gravity and time, but in a more aikido kind of way. With love and acceptance of what is no longer possible. And know that just as I look back on photos from decades ago and think “hey, you looked pretty good despite what you were thinking at the time”, I’m going to look back on photos from now and think the same thing.