Earlier this week, one of my clients shared with me how she is battling the effects of aging and how hard it is for her to approach the next big one. “At 63 you can still be cute. You can still be a cougar. At 70, you’re just old,” she said. Then, she added, “I think it all has to do with being attractive to the opposite sex.”
A couple of mornings ago I was lying in bed, reading to my youngest two children, when my 6 year old noticed that my night shirt had crept up around my middle. “Is that what your belly looks like?!” he asked in shock. “I guess so,” I responded. “Ha! It looks like flubber!” he laughed.
Embarrassed, I yanked my shirt back down to hip level to cover up that mess that is my middle aged body.
My children see me as their beautiful mama, yet they mock my fat body. There is no way a man could ever see anything pretty about me.
My client’s words replayed in my mind with a slight sting, “I think it all has to do with being attractive to the opposite sex.”
I haven’t been attractive to the opposite sex in nearly twenty years. Now, I’m single, and I’m faced with the reality that I am not attractive and my belly looks like flubber. I’m no where near 63 or 70, but I’m not ever going to be cute, and I’m not ever going to be a cougar.
For most of my life I was 5 ft 10 1/2 inches tall and weighed around 130 lb. Even after having six babies, I still wore a size 4. But, even then, all I ever heard was how I wasn’t thin enough; I was flabby; I was ugly like my mother; I wasn’t sexy enough; I dressed too plain; my hair was too dark or too short; I looked like a home school mom; and I acted like a prude. I wasn’t enough to turn him on. From day one, he had absolutely no interest in a physical relationship with me. He had to watch porn in order to become aroused. And, the cheating either began shortly after we took our vows, or it had continued through our dating days and into the marriage. I’m not sure which.
That’s rough for a wife to live with. All the while I was hearing sermons and reading Christian books that said men need more sex than women do, I was living with a man who didn’t need me at all. He frequently asked me to just talk to him while he masturbated, saying that was all he really needed from me.
I longed to be longed for. I needed him to see beauty in me. I wanted him to cherish me and see value in my presence in his life and then express that in his touch. But, his rare touch was dirty, foul, debased. And, I grew to hate it.
Eventually, I was okay with being unattractive. I loved being with my children. I loved cooking, canning, raising goats and chickens. I thoroughly enjoyed home schooling, and I threw myself into it with reckless abandon. I learned to be content as an “it.”
But….now….he’s gone and so are his ugly, accusatory words. Still, a child’s laughter over my flubbery belly didn’t feel very funny to me. This voice is right though. My belly does look like flubber. Somehow, over the last few years, I’ve shrunk a full inch, gained over ten pounds, and gone up two sizes. My joints all ache. My clothes don’t fit. And, I feel like a big, hunk of suddenly single flubber.
I guess at this point I have two choices. I can, like before, relearn to be content as an “it.” Or, I can do something about this middle aged mess.
I’ve decided to choose the latter.
For the last two mornings I’ve set the alarm half an hour early in order to exercise. One morning was still too hectic for the tiniest of work outs, so at 10 o’clock at night I did my abs and butt tapes. For crying out loud, it’s twelve pounds. I can do this! In fact, I can do this by summer! I don’t have to be an it, wearing men’s baggy shorts and T-shirts to cover up the cellulite and flubber.
I can leave off with the cookies and the comfort food and exercise instead. I can do my 8 Minute Abs tape. Every. Single. Day. I can eradicate the flubber by summer.
I will never be cute, and I’ll never be a cougar. But, I’m going to be the best me that I can be this summer. Who knows, maybe that will be good enough for one member of the opposite sex.