Friday, 1 July 2016

This body isn't afraid to look like it's doing life

'They're really not THAT bad' I'm commiserated with.
Huh? I feel confused. I wasn't aware that I warranted commiserations on this. The 'they' in question? My knees.

I know. Who knew you could have bad knees? - beyond the actual infrastructure of them, of course. I wasn't aware my knees were problematic at all until my toddler showed concern for their 'bruises'. Which I jovially shared in company. Thus the commiserations.

I hadn't really looked before, but if turns out my knees are really dark compared to the rest of my legs. And a bit rough. Calloused, you might say. I think it must be because I both love wearing skirts and dresses, and spend most of my time crawling around on the floor with little'uns. My knees are useful, they do their job, and I suppose, if I think about it, that you can tell they do their job if you look at them.

It doesn't feel like a problem to me. And as I approach 30, this recent life-moment got me thinking about the other bits of me that are bearing signs of use. My tummy that has stretched to house a couple of kiddies. My boobs which are still feeding one of those kiddies. My feet which are essentially growing their own leather soles. My face which is starting to etch my emotions more permanently for others to see.

I quite like it. I don't like that my forehead now quietly betrays the temper I wish I controlled more, or the way I get jittery if my blood sugar drops these days. And I'm not a huge fan of the beating that my mental state has taken lately, but that's sort of it. The rest is OK. Because I think it shows that I'm using my body to do life. That's what it's designed for.

It seems to be an unpopular thing, to have a body, a face, even a house or a car, that look like it gets used. One of my favourite all time quotes ever was Patsy in Ab Fab, post-botox.

I'm happy about that, can you tell?'
'Money well spent.'

Utterly brilliant - but sort of sad too. Why wouldn't we want to show that we are, that we have spent time being, happy?

Our bodies start out beautifully, ludicrously soft and smooth and unblemished. Teeny babies with skin so perfect you can't quite believe it's real. Within days it starts to be flawed by baby acne or cradle cap, all thanks to encountering its own sweat and the outside world for the first time. We fall over, bump our heads, gather bruises, tan lines, scars from minor scrapes, injections and illnesses. We grow callouses, scar tissue, lines and marks, moles and freckles. Some of us choose to add ink and metal into the mix. And slowly as we move through life, our body becomes a road map for where we've been.

'The Picture of Dorian Grey' shows that you cannot escape your life choices, and your personality from showing - and although it's hyperbolic I think it's true. Scowl all your life and your face will show it. 'The wind'll change and you'll be stuck like that' my Grandma used to tell me when I was merrily sulking in one of my moods.There's an element of truth to that, I think; it's just not instantaneous.

So, my thoughts on the eve of my 30th birthday are these:
- That I'm proud of the 29 years that my body is showing so far, all the things I've done and thought and felt, because they reflect me and how I got here.
- I'm going to choose to be proud of all the new lines and scars and marks and alterations that keep coming, - but I'm going to try and remember that the choices I make will show on my face too. I think that, in 30 years' time, I'd like more lines around my eyes and mouth than on my forehead.

This body I'm in is getting used to do life, and it shows - so I'm going to try and show the best life I can on it.

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