Look at me. My face, some pock marks upon my chin, black-heads on my nose, crows-feet startling to branch out from the corners of my eyes. Look at my chin. No longer single. A second one has sprouted behind my jaw bone. My forehead. It now supports frown lines. Years of frustration and pain, etched onto my face permanently. My hair, always coarse and thick. Uncontrolable. Now also turning grey. Trialing down my arms, to the inside of my forearms. I shall count them… Just hold on… This will take a moment… fifty six, mostly horizontal scars, by my own hand. Speaking of those hands. Only within the last year have the normal wrinkles of age started making their appearance there. It’s funny, not amusing, frustrating, that a lot of the aging process begins, or certainly becomes apparent, at the same time. An explosion of – fuck you – you’re getting old. It takes a little getting use to.

Since I’ve gained a lot of weight this past couple of years, it is impossible for me to tell how much of my belly that hangs down is just the extra weight, and how much is a large belly on a forty year old body. Will weight loss now, be that much more difficult than it was before? Not accounting for my meds of course. I’ve been told weight loss with age is more difficult. My once beautiful lower legs – a part of my body I actually liked, somewhat – now has skin that is shinny and papery. It looks somewhat tissue-like. My thighs, which I’ve always hated. They are vastly larger than they should be. This is not the stereotypical girl thing of “poor me. I have fat thighs.” I believe having bowed thigh-bones, allows for more fat build-up in the inner thigh. I can feel my thigh bones just under the surface of my outer thigh. This assumption may be incorrect. When I was at my skinniest however, a tiny waist, size 4, thin face, I still had terrible thighs. Anyway… Moving on.

The boobs are moving south. I’ve always had decent boobs. A good size. Not too big, not too small. Always a little on the saggy side, but they made up for it in shape, size and ‘texture’. Can texture be used to describe boobs? I forgot about my torso. It looks like a construction site. I have a beautiful ten inch scar running right between my breasts. It’s actually two scars, but they branch and merge into one most of the time. They are the two incision cut so they could crack my chest open. I have a two inch scar by my right shoulder. It was used as one of the entry point for the heart-lung bypass machine they use when your heart is stopped. I have four half-inch scars at my stomach level. Two tubes are placed during each surgery to drain fluids, and are removed shortly after. I have a small but bright white circular scar on my lower left rib cage side, about the diameter of my pinkie finger. It is from when the had to place a chest-tube (unmedicated) after my first surgery, due to a collapsed lung. I have four minute scars near the drainage tube scars, from pacemaker wires from each surgery. I have webbing in my right groin area, formed by the other end of the heart-lung bypass machine entry point. In the same location I still have a large hematoma, four years post-op. On my neck, I have a small scar from where a Swans-Ganz catheter was placed when I was in labor with #1, twelve years ago, to monitor the pressures inside my heart.

Anyway. That’s it. Me laid bare. I am almost willing to post a picture of my naked self. I am pretty open about everything, as has been made obvious by this blog. I would have blurred out my genitals, nipples and face, but my shape would have been very obvious. It’s a bridge just a smidge too far. I cannot do it. I wish I would though. I’m going to state the obvious “we’re not all models” thing now. You know what? We’re not all models! Most of us have one or more things we’d love to change. Many of us hate almost every single thing about our bodies. I should be one more – or is that less? Less afraid to bare all? To say – yep. I do hate the way I look. I won’t pretend I feel beautiful, because I don’t. I won’t pretend that I don’t feel ashamed most of the time. But I will say I should not feel ashamed. I have no reason to. I have no reason to worry that I don’t look like [insert whoever latest ride is here]. I look the way I look because of genetics, life choices, surgeries, depression, laws of nature, aging, and who knows whatever other factors. I guess putting all this down makes me realize my body is much more fucked up than most forty year old women’s. But so. I still shouldn’t give a shit. And I try not to. I try to be cool with stuff. It doesn’t really matter if I get pissed or not. When I do, it just makes feel that there’s nothing more I can do. That things will just keep going downhill. And we all know where that rabbit hole brings me.

So now that I’ve vaguely figured out how I do, or at least should feel about my body, how about the rest of it? How can we define the other type of beauty? The kind of beauty we preach about to our children. To play with others regardless of their differences. To treat everyone the same. That beauty is only skin-deep. Don’t we actually mean that beauty is below the skin? Or that it can be both. Beauty can be found on the surface, but that is no indication of the beauty of the character of that person. There is no correlation between the two. So the idiom “Beauty is only skin deep” is not correct, as is the assertion above that “Beauty is Core Deep”. The latter is the important one in terms of raising children to be decent humans beings, and helping keep the world go around. The former will always seek magazines, get people to watch TV shows, and cause high school (all the way up) dramas.

So is it realistic to hope we can concentrate on just non-physical beauty? No. I don’t think it is. Can we ignore the fact, that most men prefer tall slender blonds, and most women prefer tall dark and handsome guys? Obviously these are huge generalizations, but my point remains. No matter what we tell our kids, they will likely be attracted to physically attractive people, at least initially. I have been attracted to and been with extremely attractive and unattractive men. The levels of attraction to them had nothing to do with their physical traits, but it did initially. It turned out the least physically attractive, was the one I was attracted to the most. I know where you think this is going, but no… Turns out he was a complete asshole. Turns out he was ugly inside and out. He was funny as fuck though.

The way we look on the outside, does not necessarily have any baring on how we feel, or who we feel for I should say, on the inside. It’s not like the fattest man and the fattest woman on the planet will fall in love with each other, or the ugliest man and woman, the richest, coolest, smelliest, funniest… And on and on. It doesn’t work that way. One often hears people say that he\she married up or down. How did he\she ‘catch‘ him? As if one person within the partnership is not deserving of the other. And who’s right is it to pass judgement? Unless you’re loved one is clearly being taken advantage of, abused, marrying a criminal who will pull them in, or some similar situation, then you don’t get a vote. People get to see the beauty in other people themselves, regardless of what others see. If we all loved the same people, then there would be some pretty crazy fights for very few people. When I look at those in my life, and try to think of people who are genuinely beautiful inside, I come up with a few confident definites, and several maybes. These people all have something that shines from them. They all give a shit about me. They always ask how I am, before talking about themselves. They always have a good story (as in positive) to tell about someone else. If they tell a negative story, it is in the hopes of helping someone, not for the sake of gossip. When you watch a beautiful person unbeknownst to them, they act the same as if they knew you were watching. They don’t put up a front for people. There is no need.

I would love to grow into that type of person. The great thing is, we all can. Just because I am forty years old, does not mean it is too late to improve. We can keep growing until the day we die. Grow beautiful people, grow!

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