Last week I took the stage at the Madison production of Listen to your Mother (www.listentoyourmother.com) courage in hand, and told a story of aging and self-acceptance. I actually said that “stretch marks are the evidence that we have stretched ourselves for others…” — yet in the days immediately following that amazing day — and when the pictures came out — I was perseverating on the fact that I looked lumpy in my dress, that I looked intense and…tense…and was thinking how I could edit the beautiful work of Melissa Austin Photography so that I could look better, younger, on and on…
If only I had remembered to prep my ‘under layers’ — there I was, on stage, telling my story, lumps and all — and in my blue and green dress, I stood there….lumps and all.
While it is true that I ate carefully for weeks and weeks ahead of time…my face was a mirror for some personal adventures I am having and well, the stress-induced cortisol rise in my blood stream did not do me any favors.
So there I was. Preaching to others of self-forgiveness and luminosity while self-shaming my own aging and “normality”.
But ah, the standards I set for myself are so high.
This is the classic story of me (and apparently so many of us) who still think of ourselves in the way we appeared at 23 — but then we look in the mirror and see someone we don’t recognize. As the amazing Florence Nathanson (of blessed memory) used to say “Getting older is not for the faint of heart”.
Someone very close to me is adjusting to a new lifestyle which involves maybe not being able to wear sandals because walking in them is too difficult — and even going into the occasional jacuzzi could light the possibility of astronomical blood pressure and potential recurrent stroke. The everyday, small losses are overwhelming.
She does not even feel like wearing color these days. I believe she just wants to disappear.
And me, silly me, complaining about my lumps.
I was lucky to be there. Honored, really.
And I looked — well…fine. Perhaps even a bit cute.
But for the regrettable absence of appropriate shape wear.