“The Weight of It” by my niece Amy Wilensky chronicles growing up with her sister, Alison ( http://www.amazon.com/Weight-Story-Two-Sisters/dp/0805073124/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1286502400&sr=1-2#reader_0805073124/ref=sr.). I was always so impressed with Amy’s take — it didn’t matter to her that Ali was fat. But it mattered to Alison, partly because her svelte year-older sister, Amy, played sports, was popular, pretty and all that.
Do we always want to be something that we’re not? I used to have a flat stomach, never had stretch marks after birthing two big babies, and I figured I would always be thin. I didn’t eat much when I was a kid growing up in Waterbury, Conn. And I was a slow eater. My friends would sit on the back porch waiting for me to finish supper, reading comic books while I pushed bits of food around my plate.
Sans estrogen, my post-menopausal stomach rolls gushily sticking over the top of my shorts, possibly (oh no!) the precursor of some horrible disease.
I’m torn between wanting to eat whatever I want and imagining my own svelte self of yesteryear, which is also about staying healthy as an aging baby boomer. I’ve given up on the tiny black dress of five years ago, which made me feel like I could be 22 again, although I don’t want to be.
How do I balance feeling young, still being curious about life and what I might do next as I glimpse my aging body passing by the mirror in our bathroom.
I remember a children’s author who used to frequent my bookstore in Southwest Harbor. On her 6oth birthday she told me, “You know, I looked in the mirror this morning and I was truly surprised when I saw my face. I feel the same inside as I did when I was 20.” I understand that now. But I still wish my stomach was flatter.