When I stand in the mirror getting dressed in the morning I often touch myself. I scoop my boobs into my hands and push them upwards. I admire how’d they’d look if firm and round. I try and remember if they ever were perky. I suspect not. They are anything but that now.
I pull tight at my flabby belly. I stretch the skin taut and suck my tummy in. I stand sideways wondering if my top would sit better if I didn’t look five months pregnant. I stand on tippy toes, pull my shoulders back, stick my chest out and try and decipher what postural stance makes me look slimmer.
Then I move my face closer to the mirror. I scan it for unwanted hair. I cringe at the state of my fluffy, unkept, uneven eyebrows. I run my fingers over my wrinkles and make a mental note to cover-up my latest outbreak of pimples. As I age, my skin reflects that of a pimply teenage boy. No-one warned me of this.
I get dressed. Sometimes I undress and dress myself a number of times until I’m satisfied. Sometimes I’m never satisfied, but do not have a magical wardrobe which opens into a clothes store, so just have to suck it up. Or if we have the money and I have the time, I buy something when I duck out to do the supermarket shopping and hide it in my handbag. Not so much because my husband would nag me, more so because I want to somehow trick myself. I know it doesn’t make sense, I seldom do.
I wonder if it’s an age thing or an insecurity thing or a stupid narcissist problem I have to get over. I do know that I’ve always stood in front of the mirror and wondered how I could change myself – my nose, my curly hair, my ample arse. I don’t hate myself, I just have an issue with wanting what I don’t have. Selfish, when others have nothing. My problems of body image is insignificant in the scheme of things. I know this.
I’m approaching 40, I keep waiting for the lightbulb moment where I start running and eating raw food. Aren’t I meant to be drawing up a list of the 40 things I want to do before I’m 40? People tell me I’m entering a phase of acceptance and power. I wonder if that is a gradual realisation or if I’ll just go cold turkey on hanging shit on my wobbly body?
For now though, I’ll still stand in front of the mirror assessing myself. Squeezing and pulling and squishing, while I dream about a body that is impossible, because even when I did have THAT body I wasn’t content. Round and round it goes.