Friday, October 15, 2010

In My Skin

While swimming yesterday I wondered, have I ever been comfortable in my own skin?

I'm comfortable being me, usually, but lately, and pervasively for a while, I've noticed that I just have not been comfortable being me in my own skin. I look at pictures of me now and think, that's not me.  I don't look like what I think I look like...and that's probably not a good precursor to what's to come. I'm not exactly sure how I will feel when I look in the mirror and I am an actual old lady, and honestly, that's not that far away!

As a long-time martial artist, a runner, cyclist, climber, hiker, swimmer, mother, etc. I'm pretty comfortable pushing myself and enduring levels of pain that would make the average couch potato pretty happy to remain there...on the couch.

But that's the feeling I've had, lately. This odd disassociation between the me I think I am and the me I really am.

The me I think of, when I envision myself, has blond hair, bluish/green eyes, muscular legs, and a a curvy figure. Describes me pretty well until I catch a glimpse of myself in a window reflection, and I see a wide, rectangular person that looks nearly identical to pictures I've seen of my forebears. Do I really look like that?  I ask myself as I quickly turn away.

I tend to avoid being in front of the picture-taking portion of a camera lens...preferring to find myself snugly behind the lens taking the picture. And recent pictures of me have been even less reassuring of my own image of myself.  After subjecting myself to a particularly grueling trail running race, which made me feel very proud of myself for completing it at about my predicted time, the pictures that were collected of me during the event made me want to subject my computer screen to the full force of a cannon. With a torso that looks more like a linebacker than a trail runner, and a backside that could be mistaken for a Mack truck, any pride I felt after the race melted abruptly from my brain. Additionally, the reality of not a single, not a double, but a triple chin seriously makes me think that a cannon is too mild, and maybe a nuclear bomb would be a better option to eliminate the image I see.

I'm actually not one to lament my body image.  And I don't really mean to be doing it now...thus the attempts at humor. I've never been a skinny-minnie.  I've had periods of thinness--mostly during the college years when I bike commuted an average of 14 miles a day and ate mostly salad and rice. I've gained and lost and gained again. But for the most part I've been consistently stable.  But, as I've gotten older I've really started thinking that micro-brewed beer should never have been discovered and perfected.

When I was 12 we moved to Las Vegas, NV and lived there for nearly a year, until the renters my parents left our NM home with abandoned it like reckless white trash. My Mother, who had worked 4 days a week for many years prior to our move, noticed that her bottom was becoming smaller after we'd been in Vegas for several months, "I think it's because I'm not sitting on it all day long," she reflected, "I haven't lost any weight, I think it's just redistributed itself."  Well, I've been sitting on my bottom at work for quite a number of years, too, and if this is what redistribution does, I better start a process of once again redistributing!

Considering the amount of exercise I get, I say this is all just an unfair roll of the dice. I know people a fraction of my size who do nothing every day, drink like fish, and yet maintain a svelte figure.  I know very few people who work out as much as I do who maintain a figure like my own. Except for linebackers.

With all that, I think I'll drink some water and then head off to a double workout of spinning and Power Up for the day...actually it will be my third, as I already hiked the puppy up the hill morning and enjoyed a gloriously-colored fall sunrise.
Once upon a time, a long time ago...

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