Now I have written about my love/hate relationship with my body before. Here. A really good writing, if I do say so myself! Worth a reread if you have the time. It's a funny writing. A making light of the coping mechanisms that I have in place to function through the aging of my body. And when I reread it, it sounds like I really have this whole thing under control.
I don't. Not at all.
And this is becoming more and more apparent to me lately. My body, it is not my friend these days. I try to make it so. I try to appreciate the strength of my legs when I hike with my dog. And the smoothness of my skin when I apply my creams morning and night. I try and take in the shape of my eyes and remind myself that I have really great hair. And sometimes I can see these things and try to have it be enough. But usually it is not.
Now, I can go into the whole societal expectation of beauty and aging and how we are inundated with unrealistic expectations of what we should look like..whether when we are young, or as we age. But it's not that either.
It's more internal.
Because my body, it is becoming something that does not match the rest of me. Or what I perceive the rest of me to be. Not that my perception of what I should look like is a younger me. Definitely not that. Because I am feeling, in my soul, the power that comes with becoming an older woman. A wise woman. And so it is not this contrast of youth that is triggering my frustration - and often self-loathing of my body.
What I think it is, truly, is that the person that I am is not integrated with the body that I have. And I wonder, was this always the case or is this something new?
Body image has always been a tough one for me. I think the mixture of ballet dancer and not good enough created an inability to accept that I was. Good enough. And probably the constant self reflection while I looked at my reflection in the dance studio mirrors to perfect just the right tilt of my head, extension of my leg or arch of my back reinforced that my body, it was just not quite right.
And so now, when time co-mingles with past perceptions, I find that finding peace within my skin is a challenge.
So where do I go from here?
I know the right words. Words of affirmation and acceptance. I can bring them forth easily. In quite beautiful prose if I chose. But they don't settle under my skin in a way that is real.
But I am not giving up on them. Those affirmations. Because they are the beginnings of where I want to end up. And so I will repeat them softly. Honor my skin and my hair and my strong hiking legs. And more. See the beauty that I hold and that I seem to miss more often than I should. And I know - yes, this I know is true - that someday these words will become true. And I will then look at my body as part of the whole, when my soul and spirit are one with the history of my skin.