Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Why Do I Still Care?

My husband and I were having dinner last night - our third meal that involved cheddar cheese - and I sighed audibly.

"What's wrong?" he asked although I'm pretty sure he didn't want to.

"I dread putting on a bathing suit this year," I replied.

"Well," he started, but quickly stopped when he saw that look in my eye that said if you say one word about how WE can start exercising, I'm going to kill you!

Why do I care what I look like in a bathing suit anymore? If I'm on the beach with two thousand women, who are people going to look at, me or the woman in the bikini? I know I'm never going to weigh 120 pounds again, and if I do it's going to be a wrinkled saggy 120 because of the weight I've carried for the past few years. You don't lose skin any quicker than you lose fat.

There are women my age who look thin and beautiful, you say. Yes, that's true. I admit it. They work at it, make it a priority. And I could do that too, I guess.

But if I die tomorrow, are people going to look at pictures of me and say, "Whoa. She sure was fat." Or will they say, "I miss her because she meant this or that to me"? Will they fight over my exercise bike or my short stories and photographs? Will they give away my clothes after looking at the sizes or after inhaling my scent one more time?

It shouldn't matter. I know this in my head. But somehow I still dread the first glimpse of myself in the mirror, white skin and extra weight that was supposed to be gone by now (in October there seemed to be plenty of time).

At lunch today a friend and I were bemoaning the hot season. She said that one time she asked her husband if he minded that she had gained weight. He answered, "No, I don't love you for that anymore." To her that meant his love was deeper than her looks, that he saw her for the beautiful person she is and for all she had meant to him over the years. Sweet. Really sweet.

After I left her, I thought about what he said. And though it was touching the way we interpreted it, I do wish I were one of the bikini girls again. I was self-conscious then too, but it had a little pride and preening mixed in.

But I know I shouldn't care.


Anonymous said...

I go through the same thing. This year I thought I'd be able to make a change in how I look, but so far no progress. I know I've not lived my life fully because of my feelings about how I look. It has become a change that is important to me...e.g. my thinking and feelings about the matter. I haven't been in a bathing suit in over 8 years. I'm tired of not living fully because of these silly "rules" I've put on myself.
Jamie Miller

Anonymous said...

Really??? Really are you still caring after all these years, ABOUT YOUR FIGURE??? Yes, I look in the mirror every morning and see the aging body. It is what it is. And I think I like it. At least I know that I like the person behind it.
About looking.... I did see some men looking at me!!!!today at the coffee shop. They were at least my (our) age or older. AND they did give me some looks!!! I was pleased, but why, I'm not sure. The hair had not been washed in a few days, there was no make up,there were gardening stains on my clothes for I had been hoeing at 6 AM, but at that moment in time they were looking. Common thread... we all had grey hair. Perhaps they smelled the gsrden on me. While my body may not be as it once was, I'd like to think that those men were looking at my whole self. They saw something that interested them and I should have started a conversation. After all they were talking gardening... egg plants,squash, lettuce, carrots and peas.

mamie said...

This is what I love about baring my soul: friends that comment and make it all real.

Jamie, you speak the truth, how we limit ourselves by limiting ourselves, not living our lives to the max.

And please Anonymous #2, come out of your anonymity. I need to look you in the face and thank you.

Peggy Payne said...

I had the same thought about Anonymous 2.

mamie said...

but the question is: Who is anonymous #2????