I practice yoga. I practice yoga from the inside out. I know I am not my body. But apparently I am deeply rooted in my appearance.
I have gotten off the weight loss train, I have even avoided the gluten-free, cleanse focussed, locally grown extremes. I eat balanced meals, sometimes too enthusiastically, but more often in moderation. I am not thin. I am medium in all respects. I am getting over having a paunch. Mostly. Gray hair? Check. Loss of my waist? Check. Shrinking stature? Check. Jowls, neck flaps and wrinkly chest? Noooooo!!! I don’t seem to be able to get past my loose skin.
I look in the mirror and I cringe. I avoid exposing my arms, I use glasses whenever I can to hide the pouches under my eyes and as Nora Ephron writes “I Feel Bad About My Neck“. There is nothing to do but roll it up somehow or keep lifting my chin higher and higher when I talk to people to reduce the flaps and folds.
Even as I write these words, hidden behind glib speech, is profound pain. I have worked in letting go of so much. For the most part I have let go of what others think as the motivation for my choices and actions. I have let go of needing to look and talk like others. I have let go of outcomes for both myself and those I love and care about. But I am having a tough time letting go of this: my wattle, the bags under my eyes, and my increasingly crepe-y skin. (If I were brave and in the phase of loving myself completely I would insert a photo of myself; I am not in that “I could give a s*&t phase yet. That is my truth.)
I hurt. My feelings are hurt. I dont’ feel like the woman inside when I catch sight of myself in a store window or mirror. I wonder who that dumpy looking woman is. The morning gaze is the least kind – I feel like giving up. Looking at me makes ME tired. How do others feel?
I somehow thought that I would come to a point of wisdom in my life with a body that looked like the one where I wish I had been smart. The timing of this love affair with myself is off. I had a body I worked to accept but I wasn’t yet content. Now I have lots of areas in which I am content and yet I look at this crone. Somewhere these two women passed each other, didn’t recognize each other and moved on.
This is where I am right now. I am not in acceptance, well not true, I accept what I see but I am pained by it. I feel lost somehow. I am not afraid of death- I am afraid of withering. I just feel bad. It truly bothers me. My self talk gets me up in the morning, out the door and into the places I need to be, but I feel it. I feel tired. I feel unlovely. I DO compare, and I know that with this look, with my aging, I am becoming more and more dismissed and invisible. That hurts, too.
In spite of all I know, in spite of the head knowledge, I don’t have the skills to help me out, over or through this. I don’t know how to care for myself about this phase now. I guess I just have to feel it. And wait. I suspect there will be a day when I look back to this and think: “I sure wish I looked like her, now!”