I got out of the shower and looked in the mirror. I avoid mirrors like the plague, they are unkind in their honesty and by avoiding them I can pretend I’m still at pre-baby weight (my baby is 25 years old). But this morning something felt different, there was a shift in the universe and I found the courage to face the truth once and for all.
And so, I began my inventory. My hair was slicked back from being wet and I thought to myself is that a half an inch of gray roots? Do I need to color it already? How did that happen so quickly? Then I moved onto my body - holy flubber, Batman, is that a back fat roll? No, said a snotty voice in my head, it’s a back fat loaf. The list continued on. My “girls” were near the end of their life-long trek to drift across the east/west equator of my chest. These babies weren’t heading south, they were achieving their goal to end up in my armpits. And when did they stop being perky? My booty was beyond bootylicious, as it had morphed into the Earth’s second moon and the pull of gravity was not attractive. The list continued droning on and the inventory’s voice was not a nice voice – in fact it was nasty and full of ‘you should haves and why didn’t yous’. My three dogs were scratching at the bathroom door probably wondering what was taking me so long so I let them in with a resigned, “Welcome to Funkytown”.
I couldn’t bear to look anymore or listen to that not so nice voice, so I put on my pet hair covered robe that only three dogs and three cats can provide (call us crazy), grabbed my make-up caboodle filled with every age defying makeup I could buy, and shuffled off to the kitchen counter. This is where I put on my makeup and drink coffee my wonderful husband makes each morning as he gets up a few minutes earlier. I grabbed a coffee and flavored it with my latest diet attempt – fat free hazelnut non-dairy, non-milk, filled with unpronounceable additives coffee creamer. Aaahhhhh, I thought to myself, I deserve that extra tablespoon. I’ve earned it.
Then to punish myself even further I use a 10X magnifying mirror and as I looked this particular morning, I knew why I was such a funky monkey. I’m getting older. I had sweated all the way through the deep valley of menopause and slid into late life infertility where estrogen is nothing but a distant memory. I had age spots. Good God, was that a chin hair - oh no, it’s worse - it’s a freaking whisker. I had gray hair, which is a vicious demon that must be defeated every four weeks (and don’t ever think you can miss your appointment). I was soon no longer going to be in my fifties. I was quickly going to be in the sunset of my years where time runs out and mortality looms.
I was turning 60. There I said it. It’s out in the open. Don’t judge me.
I talked to a friend about it and shared my body inventory escapade. She slapped her hands on her knees and said, “I know just how you feel!” She asked me if I talked to my friends the same way those self voices talk to me. “Of course not,” I said with disbelief. “I would never talk to my friends that way.” I do often compare myself to friends and co-workers and I frequently (ok, always) seem to come up with the short end of the stick. “Then why would you talk to yourself that way?“ she asked. I think she was trying to tell me to start loving, accepting, and respecting myself just as I am. I believe I sighed heavily.
I had to rethink how I treated myself. I thought about her challenge and asked myself these questions:
- What if I left FunkyTown and rewrote all my internal nasty voices?
- What if I owned have back fat loaves?
- What if I was perfectly fine with having Earth’s second moon as my bum?
- What if I was ok with aging, gracefully or not?
- What if I practiced daily gratitude and listed all the amazing things in my world like
- a fantastic marriage, wonderful children and their partners, and oh so amazing grandchildren
- being healthy and on the right side of the dirt
- having a great job on a great team
- having wonderful and supportive friends who, by the way, for some reason think I’m beautiful on the inside and out
Are any of you lifelong residents ready to leave Funkytown? I’d love the company.
My Welcome toFunkytown wishes for you:
- You look in the mirror and, no matter how you're feeling about yourself, you say, "Well, hello there, beautiful!"
- You know that Funkytown doesn't have to be a permanent residence. Don't buy furniture and groceries to live there forever.
- You know that whatever challenges you're facing, "You is kind, you is smart, you is important" (quote that I love from Kathryn Stockett's, "The Help").
- You know how absolutely wonderful and beautiful you are inside and out.
With infinite love and gratitude,