There used to be a saying, I think it probably came from a weight-loss commercial, that inside every fat women was a thin woman trying to break free.
That’s actually a horrible image. I don’t want some crack-whore-skinny-bitch trying to get out of me like the monster in the first Aliens. What I do want, though, is the feeling I used to have in my historic self, my younger body. I loved being able to fun fast and jump high and get cold and hot with impunity. I loved leaping and spinning and hitting a tether ball so hard I had a black and blue mark on my fist for days. I loved roller skating so fast that I had permanently skinned knees, I loved staying in the waves for too long and being summonsed loudly out of the water because my lips were blue and my skin dotted like a plucked chicken. I loved trying to win, and never winning, arm wrestling with my best buddy from across the street, Jerry. My body then was exactly me, Exactly my size.
Later that kind of fit was never just right again. Without asking to I felt that I had been entered into a vast competition in which neither I nor anyone I had ever met could win –- too thin, too fat, hair too dry, too curly, teeth bucked, knees knobby then suddenly too flat chested and simultaneously too fat, feet too wide or just too big. Even elbows needed sanding, the bottoms of our feet, our nails. When I was perhaps at my most objectively attractive I was haunted by all my (I thought blaringly obvious) physical flaws. I worried that someone could know when I was menstruating. I worried that my feet smelled. I purchased and applied many products to try to quell the odor, texture, swells that seemed to ooze out of every possible orifice. I wanted to be a Breck girl, a kind of sainted Waspy girl with brilliant white gold hair, cupid bow lips, enormous blue eyes. In that model I tried myself and found myself wanting in every aspect on the daily.
Now I’m so old that I am virtually invisible in the outside world. An old lady. I don’t compare myself to other old women, I love them. When I am with them, I don’t have to comment on or notice how grey their hair is getting, whether or not they have lost weight. I am free now to just enjoy them exactly as they are and honestly, for that I am much relieved.