I saw my mother die at 57. I wouldn't have wanted to see her disease ravaged or immobile, or withered into miserable dependence or confusion. But still. This photo is so beautiful, and she wasn't even there yet. There was so much else she could have been. A grandmother, if nothing else, and she would have loved that a lot.
I see my godmother in her sixties, fit and strong and beautiful still, elegant and comfortable in herself. I like to think that along with wrinkles and grey hair might one day come a sort of ease, an acceptance. An ability to release the pressure women feel about looking a certain way for other people. Maybe that's just a myth I comfort myself with - I'm in my late thirties, I'm very heavy, I've ruined my hair, I still get spots, though my skin is creasing. I've become invisible. Flirting is over, fallen away with my cleavage, I guess.
It's a huge conflict. I'm trying to learn to love myself as I am - to see the cuddly person my son appreciates. To understand the complete redundancy of looking at myself with loathing. I can't quite expect anyone else to do that though. In work the other day, a conversation about obesity rates and pale flabby bodies on the beach struck up. I wanted to discuss body positivity, maybe even point out the flab they were talking about being offended by is ... me. To say that sometimes it's so hard just to be in a room with other people and not panic about the space I take up, about the ridiculous chubbiness of my fingers. To say this talk, this attitude, is unnecessary - but I didn't quite have the energy for the uncomfortable task. Not that day.
Words like old... words like fat... to be these things is no sin, compared to being cruel, or vicious, or a bully... I wish we could all relax about it. I'm pretty sure everyone would get thinner if we did. And happier = younger looking, I'm pretty sure of that too.
But there are fine lines everywhere. This I know.