Tuesday, October 23, 2007
Gaining Wisdom and Retaining Vanity
I've lost quite a bit of weight over the past year and a half, more or less by accident. There's still plenty to go, but I'm down a full size and I would be down another one but for . . .
the twin skin.
I tried on some old skirts and pants this week and they fit beautifully in the hips and thighs but . . . I can barely button them.
It's a funny thing, the body. Mine has various physical scars -- a devastating accident, three surgeries, minor injuries which left permanent marks -- along with the temporary bruises that mark generally graceless movement through space, and the wrinkles and increasingly numerous strands of gray and white that reflect decades of warring wisdom and foolishness.
And then there is the twin skin. Even if I find myself dreamlike skinny once again, that excess belly skin will always be there as a reminder that for nine months and then some I carried two babies at once. One of the transformative experiences of my life: the one that not only made me into a mother, but the one that, over time, gave me back the voice and resiliency and strength that childhood losses had so battered.
But evidence of other experiences remains completely invisible, or so I think. Sometimes my friends tell me that that is not true, that the signs of inner change are there.
And I am thinking: I should be looking for those signs in others. I find that it's one of the big things I care about in this decade: how do people grow and change? It's why I can't get enough of those I know who are in their seventies and beyond.
When I was younger, I used to be troubled by my grandparents' wrinkles and sags, disturbed by the possibility that my own body might be altered in the same ways. Now I see those physical changes for what they are, and I know how much energy and wisdom and joy they conceal.
But I would still like to be able to zip up a skirt another size down!