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That Awkward Age

December 30, 2006

This morning I went to the YMCA for hydrojog … and I was looking forward to chatting with my friend/instructor. I was disappointed when I realized that she was not leading the class this morning, and instead we had a substitute. (that I don’t enjoy as much)

Anyway, there was not much chatting going on in the class today. And then early in to my workout, I began to have pain in my chest. I got out once and got a drink of water, and it seemed to subside. But once I put the flotation belt back on (and tightened it up), my chest began to hurt again.  The instructor get yelling to “BREATHE RIGHT!”  “DON’T BEND YOUR KNEES”  “ARMS SHOULD BE OPPOSITIE OF YOUR LEG MOTIONS!”

Her drill sergeant direction was adding to the stress of my chest pain and the fact that I have to think a bit in order for my body to follow the directions that she is “barking.”  So, when the second round of chest pain started, I just got out of the pool and went to sit in the hot tub. (probably not a good idea for someone who could be having a heart attack — but “the instructor didn’t ask if I was okay” so I assumed I just had gas.)

In any event, the hot tub was the “ideal” for the stress went away, I couldn’t hear the barking over the bubbling, and once I removed that frazzlin’ belt, the pressure on my chest went away.  I had eaten a bagel and taken some pills before I left the house (in a gulp) and probably didn’t drink enough water.  So that belt was probably pushing all that back up to where it wasn’t supposed to be. (who needs a flotation belt, anyway)

After a few minutes in the tub…and then a few minutes in the sauna too. (just for experience sake) I proceeded to the showers and got dressed. While drying my hair, I noticed that the light was accentuating more gray streaks that I had realized were donning my hair.  I pulled back my bangs and noticed that the temple area was growing more gray by the day.  I’ve not succumbed to any pressure to dye my hair — though I’m not above it. Afterall, I’ve had many shades of red, brown, and blonde in my life.  A few weeks ago, a dear friend and “fella” told me that he liked it … it made me distinguished … and so, I’ve sported the temple gray proudly.

I guess I’ll stick with the streaks that are popping up here and there too.  Afterall, distinguished is something I rather like being.

But as I sat, drying my hair and waiting for my curling iron to heat up, I started chatting up a lady at the sink next to me.  My thought was, “How come in your mind you can see yourself as 17, but the mirror has to throw it in your face that you are not!”

“I really do envision myself as how I was when I was 17.  Isn’t that odd?” I asked.

“Oh, its a good thing.” she replied. “Wouldn’t you hate to be the kind of person who only sees herself as older and older?”

“Yes. I would hate that … almost as much as I hate looking in the mirror and being reminded of the fact.” I said.

If there is another “awkward age” it has to be between 40-45.  That age between 10-15 was awful. Bursting into puberty is surely likened to this … “bursting into menopause.”  However, my process has been shortened since I am a hyster-sister.

Nevertheless, between 10-15, I remember fretting constantly over body image, acceptance, not having a boyfriend, not having any friends. I had no waist, I had no boobs, my hair was limp and unmanageable, I had gaps in my teeth and my knees were knobby.  Most of the time, people thought I was a boy … and when I wore a dress to prove the boys on the bus wrong, they called me a “hermaprodite.”  I didn’t even know what that was, for crying outloud!

Here I am at 43 … in the second awkward age. Fretting over body image, acceptance, not having a boyfriend, not having friends.  I got no waist. Though I have boobs, they sag.  Somedays my hair is limp and somedays, it’s not.  The gaps in my teeth have mostly closed up, but it could be they are being filled in by “fillings.”  And those knobby knees, sort of creak and are feeling weaker than they used to.  I hate wearing dresses … simply because they usually require panty hose, which tend to roll down from where they are supposed to be.  And to beat it all, about once a week, I have to pull whiskers from my chin … and my voice is much deeper than it used to be. So maybe, I am a hermaprodite.  (though, I’m still not sure exactly what that is).

I wonder is there any age when a body ever does become completely comfortable in their skin?  Or will we always find something awkward about the age we are at?

I think I will call up that fella’ who said my graying temples were distinguished, and ask him.

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