Today I feel like an old donkey that's been hauling fat tourists up and down the grand canyon for a million years. And I look like the sweaty, fat tourist on said donkey. In this mind set I should avoid magazines at all cost. So what did I do today? Perused four different fashion magazines. Page after glossy page of items I can't fit in or afford.
And what are the prime products being pushed on defenseless women all over the world via high fashion mags? Youth and perfection. And on a bad day, like today, I buy what they’re selling lock, stock, and brassiere.
Shiny, skinny, smoothed skinned women staring out of the pages with sneers that say, “Give it up, old donkey! It’s over. At your best you weren’t this beautiful and you didn’t look this young when you were a fetus! Go back to your grocery shopping and laundry because that’s all you have to look forward to—fluff and fold!”
So after flipping through the first forty pages of ads and suffering this abuse, I'm ready to kill myself. Then I realize I feel suicidal over images of fake women while children are dying in Africa and then I want to kill myself twice! How can I dwell on my big ass when there is so much suffering in the world?! Because I can. It’s my big ass and I’m compelled to agonize over its expanding proportions. And let me say, I realize I have two beautiful children and one pretty good, though domestically challenged, husband as well as a multitude of other blessings, but this isn’t about them. It’s about me. I’m not my husband. I’m not my children. So my happiness is not completed by my love for them. And I can’t feel guilty about that because I just can't.
This is about how I feel today and nothing more. And today I feel old, fat, ugly, and lame. Most days I just feel fat, but other days, like today, it's a smorgasbord of sad, shameful criticism. Thank you, Vogue.
Not that it’s really Vogue’s fault that I’m feeling gross and over the hill. I’m clearly having some “who am I?” issues. I find this state of mid-life depressing. At 35 I feel like it's all over. The best looking years are behind me. The best feeling years are behind me. The time to figure out what I want to do with my life is behind me. So what's ahead of me? The steady plod of life passing me by? Mammograms and colon checks? I'm mired in the fear that it's all over before I even got started.
I’ve always had a rich fantasy life. When I was fourteen I dreamed of learning karate and dating Ralph Macchio. These days I dream about becoming a published author and introducing myself as a “writer.” I even pretend to be appearing on Ellen or Oprah when no one can hear me giving my interview. Although, I still dream about learning karate and have added ball room dancing to my wish list.
In 2006 I told my girlfriends it was going to be the year of Me, but it was just the year of the same old me. I was even going to do ten minutes of stand-up on an open mic night. Bless my sweet friends, I think they sort of believed me. But, who am I kidding? I get nervous just walking into a crowded room, much less getting on a stage and performing in front of a crowd of people. The problem is, I really wanted to do it, but I'm paralyzed by a fear of failure and allow myself to be anchored by what I perceive as the shackles of my life. Just when would I find time to write ten minutes of material? When would I rehearse? When would I perform? I'm a busy working mom! When I get five minutes to myself I want to do something completely mindless like read or watch E!, not "work" on an alternate career. This is the same excuse I use for not finishing my book. The truth is I don't really believe there's a chance in hell that my book will ever be published so I quit and read some one's work that was good enough to get published. My problem isn't that I dream, it's that I don't do anything to make my dreams come true.
UGH! I want to break out. Break away. Break some fat off my ass. Oprah would say it’s never too late and that she feels better at 50 than ever before. So, why do I feel like I’m ready to write my obit? Because I’m afraid. It’s not that my life is really over at 35 it’s that I’m afraid I will never make a single change or get off my ass and do something about my problems, so that when it is over I will be filled with regret. What a shame- to actively contemplate your own complacency.
But, I will not do this. I will not fade into my 40s, 50s, 60s, wishing I had tried something, anything that would fill that place in me that can’t be filled by other people or material things. What I want in life is not so ridiculous. It’s not like I’m looking to be a rock star or win the Nobel Peace Prize. I want to feel a little better, look a little better, and I want to finish that freaking book. All things completely within my control. So I just need to take control.
Can I lose weight? Yes, if I really want it.
Can I still learn karate? Yes, if I really want it.
How about ball room dancing? Yes, if I really want it.
Can I finish my book? Yes, if I really want it.
Is it too late? Never, jurls, never.