Friday, November 14, 2008
Not A Poser
I was in yoga class this morning in child's pose, which is one of my favorite poses because it's a resting pose and damn, who doesn't love a resting pose?
I was sleeveless today as it's gotten quite warm here again and I was enjoying the way everything in yoga felt, as if all my body parts were crying out, Yes, Yes, Yes! Thank you for paying us some attention here. Thank you for stretching, thank you for reaching, thank you for breathing! and I was happy. The rain was pouring down outside and we could hear it and see it from the cozy room we were in and we've been so dry here lately and it all just felt like a blessing, being there, doing what my body wanted, listening to the rain.
And then I made the mistake of turning my head in child's pose and catching a glimpse of my arm.
Oh my god. Oh dear. Oh shit. What the fuck???!!
The inside part of my upper arm was, well, I don't really know how to describe this. And let me insert right here that I do have muscles in my arms. They're not completely flabby or wing-like. But. Oh dear. But.
The flesh, how shall I say this? Was hanging in wrinkles and the meat of my arm was in something like blobs within that hanging, wrinkly flesh.
Now let me tell you that if I had seen this vision of body-aging just five years ago, or perhaps even five months ago, I would have shot up from child's pose into adult's horror pose and started screaming.
As it was, and as it is, I did nothing except to take note of the further degeneration of the flesh and continue on with what I was doing. I am not exactly inured to such horrifying (and seemingly sudden) changes in my body, but I am no longer as shocked as I used to be.
I feel certain that I've said this before, but it's worth repeating: When I was young(er), I would look at older women and the way that gravity had fought and won with their flesh and I would think Thank God that will never happen to me. Now why I thought that, I have no idea. Did I really believe that I, and I alone, would escape the ravages of aging? Or did I think I would be one of those who died young and left a gorgeous corpse?
I don't know. But either way, it was faulty thinking.
But here's the kicker: Inside, in my mind, and even in my body, I feel hardly different than I did twenty years ago back when my flesh was firm and unwrinkled. I am more flexible now than I was then and in some ways, stronger. I eat better, I exercise more, I am leaner. And so it's easy to forget (especially if I only look at my face in the mirror with my glasses off) that I am indeed aging and looking like it too.
So when I catch the flesh doing something decidedly old-womanly or I see a picture of myself wherein my neck is doing that thing, that wrinkly thing, I am kicked rudely out of denial and must face the facts.
The facts being that it's only going to get worse.
Well, they always say you're only as old as you feel, which in my case is about thirty-four. Until, that is, I am given a visual reminder of the truth. And then I feel like Nora Ephron who wrote that book, I Feel Bad About My Neck, because I do. I almost feel as if I must apologize.
Sorry, y'all. I meant to wear my real face and body but for some reason, I can't locate them. I've looked everywhere! Please forgive me. I'm sure I'll find them soon.
But I won't. I will never find them because they are not here any more. They are gone and gone forever. I can no more aspire to be this:
Than I can to be this:
But I can aspire to be this:
Which is not that bad. In fact, it's pretty wonderful.
And I do. I aspire to be that.
That strong, that beautiful, and apologizing to no one.