I look in the mirror sometimes and I don’t know my own face. When did my lips shrink? When did my eyes stop being the dominating feature? When did my nose take over? It’s only worse when I look at the rest of my body. My sagging breasts, my belly heavy and loose, hanging down low like a half deflated balloon. My thighs even sag now, tired of being fat. My only saving grace is my tiny, delicate ankles, not at all the ankles you’d expect from a fat, middle aged woman.
I’ve pushed myself to exercise more, finally joining a gym again and going as much as I can. When not at the gym, I’ve been doing lots of walking or completely ripping apart my daughter’s room to rearrange it in a way that I hope facilitates the ability to stay clean for more than an hour at a time. But the number on the scale doesn’t budge, and I find myself angry at my body, again. It feels like I’ve spent my whole life hating my body. What a waste of my life. What an inescapable thing.
I try to focus on the good. The fact that I feel better, that I sleep more soundly, and that I wake with that sweet ache in my muscles that tells me I’ve used them, used them hard, and that soon I’ll feel stronger as a result. But sometimes it just doesn’t seem like enough.
I think about how I’ve battered this poor body. Smoking at age twelve, drinking nearly every day starting at age 13, the drugs, the sex with strangers, the overdose. Not to mention the infertility treatments. It seems like the infertility treatments combined with two pregnancies broke my body in a way that I didn’t expect and can’t seem to heal. The migraines, the constant fatigue, the way my body holds on to each and every calorie with rigid determination.
I know that part of it is being in my forties. I read somewhere or someone told me that after age forty a woman has to exercise vigorously for an hour a day just to MAINTAIN her weight. This frustrates me and fuels my urge to just stop it all, to just give up and sit on the couch and slowly spread out until I become one of the people that cannot leave my house without a wall being knocked down. Yes, my head goes there because a part of me feels like that is my inescapable fate.
But then I reel myself back to rationality, and remember that there are amazing things about being in my forties. Like the fact that I just don’t get that upset anymore about what people think of me. Do you have any idea what a gift that is? How incredibly amazing and awesome it is to be able to let go of your fear of other people? I’ve wasted my entire life worrying about other people and how they perceived me, and today I simply do not care (most of the time).
This is what I have, now. Peace with the external world while my internal world still struggles. Perhaps, at last, in my fifties I’ll have peace inside too. Only a few years until I find out.
This post was inspired by a combination of Heather‘s Just Write and NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month). I’m going to try to do daily free writing here for the rest of November daily. I miss writing here every day.