Tag Archives: Aging

Do Your Boobs Hang Low?

Body dysmorphic disorder is a serious affliction wherein a person is obsessed with some perceived flaw in their body.  The most difficult part to understand is that the flaw someone is consumed with might not even be visible to anyone else. It might not even be real.

I have the opposite of that. I am not under the false impression that I am runway thin or bodybuilder strong or movie star pretty but I pretty much stopped really looking very hard in the mirror without my clothes on when I was about 24.  By that point I had a pretty good idea what I looked like, I had a long-term boyfriend that I’d eventually marry and I had already been “the naked girl” in a play in college once, it was unlikely to happen again.  So, I just stopped obsessing over my body.  So I stopped really looking,

And then I had a baby and I was all “Holy fuck, what happened to me?” and then I got over that.  And I had another baby and aside from that one day that I took a long look at the road map that is my stomach I really haven’t done much looking since.  I stare at myself in the mirror at the gym just as much as the next person but since the invention of the wide-band yoga/running pant it’s not so bad a sight.  And really when you’re dumping sweat and lifting weights it’s hard to be too hard on yourself.

Where was I? That’s right, I have the opposite of body dysmorphia.  Instead of believing that there is something horribly wrong with my physical appearance I have this notion that I pretty much look like I did when I was about 23.  Most of the time this serves me well.  I am confident.  I am sassy.  I am not bogged down  with worrying about my aging body.  But then these horrifying moments of reality happen.  I accidentally catch a peek at the back of my thigh and think “holy shit, when did that start to look like THAT?” Or I chat up a kid in line at the grocery store and he looks right through me and I remember that I am not a spring chicken as I catch a look at myself all decked out mom-style.

Ordinarily, I let these moments roll off me and I settle back into being blissfully unaware of aging.

I was at the gym the other day feeling strong. Busted out a two minute plank and dropped to the mat.  I grabbed my phone and my water and I leaned back and looked back down to the mat and GASPED.  My tits were inches, almost half a foot, lower than my elbows.  IN A SPORTS BRA.  I almost ran to the weight room where I could get a better look in a mirror because HOLY HELL I know I have been pregnant twice and breastfeeding for eleventy billion years but come the fuck on when did this happen???


But I couldn’t move. For one thing I was afraid I might trip over my knockers.  It was dangerous to run.  Things were sliding south and fast.

I took a deep breath.  And I began to laugh.  Look closely at the picture and you can see a second set of handprints.  Look at the bottom of that picture.  My knees.  AHA!  The wet marks were my knees!! I had pulled them up to the mat as I sat back to catch my breath.

And I got hysterical.  That kind of belly laugh, I might pee my pants, holy shit do you guys see what I see laughter that you have to share.  I looked around and there was not a single woman in sight.  Now I wasn’t picky.  I was ready to shout out “Oh my god, I thought those were boob sweat marks and it is only my KNEES!  Hallelujah, it’s just my knees!!!” to anyone that looked even remotely female.  Not a one.  Somehow I didn’t think that the fellas that work out with me daily were going to be impressed.  Or understand why this was such a reason to rejoice.

So, I snapped a picture and I strutted, yeah, strutted, my fine ass right out of the gym.  Because my boobs are nowhere near that low.  In a sports bra. So there.

Thanks for letting me get that off my chest.

How Athleticism in your 30’s is just like Getting Loaded in your 20’s

In my early twenties I wasn’t much of an athlete. If I went for a jog after class it wasn’t unheard of for me to have a ziploc bag with a lighter and a couple of Marlboros stuffed in my sports bra. This way I could have a smoke after I left the cafeteria, a dinner full of botttomless bowls of cereal and pudding from the salad bar.

Now just because I wasn’t big on athletics didn’t mean that I wasn’t a competitor. “Shall we get another round?” Umm, yeah. And it better be pitchers not pints. “Can I get you a drink?” You bet. Jack neat with a Bud back. (For those among us that are not nor have they ever been a bit of a drinker, that is a Jack Daniels shot straight up with a Budweiser chaser.)

The order smacks of youth. Jack Daniels is the Crystal Light of whiskey. It’s almost water and sweet as candy. And Budweiser? No Bud Light for this girl with the metabolism of a 16-year-old boy, and nothing that tastes too much like beer.

But I was giving it my all. If one drink was good, two was better.

I was going for the gold. I frequently ignored that warm feeling that would rise in the back of my throat. You know that feeling. Eventually the warmth would travel up my spine and collide with my tonsils creating a burst of saliva. And then I knew. I was going to throw up. It was inevitable. I’d order a shot of Jaegermeister and head over to the bathroom. No big deal, hurl really quickly, knock back a cold shot of Jaeger and I was ready to Go, go, go!

Checking in, blissfully unaware of my fate.

Checking in, blissfully unaware of my fate.

What does this have to do with anything? You might have wondered how the sprint-triathlon turned out on Sunday. I went in with a little limp. TENS unit in the morning, lots of Advil. But I was determined that I wasn’t going to quit. The swim and and the bike would be fine, the run might be ugly. But I was going to finish strong.

The swim and the bike were uneventful. I got off my bike and took a few steps out of the transition area and as I started to run nowhere in my mind was I thinking of my early twenties and my penchant for boozing it up. But by the end of the first mile I could think of nothing else. My mouth was filled with spit. I wasn’t nauseous. Not really. But I was definitely going to puke, only I wasn’t ready to pay my tab.

At the second mile marker I was keeping pace with a gentleman that looked like he was hating it, too. “C’mon. One more mile. Let’s go, I might puke.” He laughed, but he steered clear of me. We traded off leading the way over the next ten minutes. I rounded the corner and could see the finish line and my mouth filled in that way where you know you have less than twenty seconds. Had I been 21 years old and in my favorite bar on the way to the bathroom I’d have been afraid I’d run in to someone that I knew. I had twenty seconds and max three words before I was going to let my Gatorade soaked puke fly freely.

I crossed the finish line. I wasn’t walking or limping. I was smiling and sweating. “I’m gonna puke,” I told the volunteer waiting to collect the time chips.

And puke I did.

With my hands on my knees I had three more words in my head. “Oh. Hell. Yes.” I did it. I finished. Injury, be damned. Who knew that the boozing of my twenties would have prepared me for this strange surge of athleticism in my thirties? As soon as the heaving stopped I thought “That wasn’t bad.  Let’s run it back again!”

Tri season is over for me. Love the new physical therapist. And I will keep training through the winter. Maybe even do a little of that old-school training of my twenties just to keep things interesting.


The Happiest Girl That Just Puked Ever

Down, but not out!!

Kelly at 22. Heading out to a party a 80’s Barbie. I was ironing a kimono. For a vry good reason, I am sure.

I think I was about twenty-two when I started doing that thing that the young people do – start acting irritated by the even younger people.  After all I had been hanging out at the Leafe (my favorite bar) forEVER.  How was I supposed to tolerate these kids turning twenty-one and acting like children in my favorite bar? Insert eye rolls.  Looking back I know that talking about how terribly old I was probably just made me sound so young.

What I would not give to be twenty-two again. In body, certainly not in mind.  A fairly good argument could be made that I am not too terribly far off from twenty-two in spirit, so there’s that.

This week I have felt old.  And not a seasoned, experienced, wise and sexy salt and pepper hair George Clooney old. More like a can’t get her creaky body out of bed in the morning, anti-inflammatory gobbling, “back in my day” saying, can’t run with the kids anymore old.

The feeling began last week in my ankles.  I’ve been sore.  And sore does not make this girl happy.  Skipping out on my exercise routine makes me homicidal.  I have two very strong personalities at play in my head and heart.  I am, first and foremost, a mother.  Second, I am an addict.  As a mother I give and give and give of myself.  That hour that I spend with Lucy zonked out in the stroller, Em riding her bike, I need that hour.  It is mine.  A selfish hour.  I turn my mind off and I sweat.  For me.  So I can give and give and give the other twenty-three hours of the day.  And as an addict? I need the endorphin rush. If I skip a day by four o’clock in the afternoon it is like day three without a cigarette in our house. (Which if you have ever quit smoking you know is the day are you are most likely to fly in to a homicidal rage.)

Zero runs at my target distance or speed. I guess I can be proud of listening to my body. I guess.

Lately the body has been conspiring against me.  I have woken up in pain more often than not.  I have been lazy with rescheduling my chiropractor appointment (edited: I went yesterday!) and my back has once again been sending up flares to remind me that I need to give it some love or it will stop letting me do the things to which I have grown accustomed.  Things like getting out of bed, retrieving things from my refrigerator, picking up my baby, walking around.

I had to make a choice.  Feed the mind or the body.  I decided to take care of the body, since it appears to be aging faster than the mind.  I cut way back on the jogging.  Took it sloooow.  I even walked.  And skipped days.  And did not kill people.  I have used my new found love of Pinterest to scour the interwebz for low impact high intensity exercises one can accomplish in their living room.

But it is not my aging ankles and back that were the greatest blow to my ego this week.  It was an awful, slow, painful realization that happened at the pool.

It was hot out.  Really hot out. The kind of day when you stand in the water all day because sitting pool side for even ten minutes is out of the question.  It was just me, two life guards, Em and her buddy and Lucy.  It was hot enough that even the life guards were in the pool.

As the day wore on we all got to talking.  The kids started making up a game where the guards chased this ball and there were points received for certain achievements.   Aside from the fact that two of the three children in the pool actually entered this world via my vagina and that technically I could have given birth to both of the life guards it was exactly like a scene from my own teenage years.  For a moment I let myself go there in my head.  It felt so good.  Goofing off. Making up games.  Teaching the big kids to play Jump or Dive.

And then a mini-van pulled up.  And a lady and her two kids came to the pool.  A lady I actually like well enough.  She waved at me as she put her things down on a table, in the shade, by the baby pool.  And it hit me.  I belong over there.  With the Grown Up.

For two hours I was a girl in the pool in a black one piece and a stylish summer fedora.  And now I was Mom again, in that black one piece with the side ruching that fools no-fucking-body and a hat because my post partum hairloss means that my head gets sunburned if I don’t.

And then it hit me again.  For two hours I had actually been that Grown Up hanging around the teenagers.  That Grown Up that lingers.

I was a life guard forever.  For years and years.  So, I know.  Even the Cool Grown Ups.  Two hours?? That qualifies as lingering.  I’m gonna need to take them some food.  And not something I baked. Because “Look, I baked these for you” does not a Cool Kid make.

If griping about being “so old” when I was twenty-two actually made me seem young than maybe complaining about my aging body at thirty-six will make me seem youthful.  Right?

Either way, it seems my bad case of Old is catching.  MQD has only been twenty-nine for two weeks and he found a grey hair in his goatee yesterday.  I’m not sure what the anti-venom is for a bad case of Old.  Beer? Vitamins? I am hoping that it is letting your six year old pick out your nail polish.

Note the age spots on my shin. Oh. Didn’t see them? Mesmerized by my sparkly fingers and toes? My plan is working!!

Wish upon a star…

Sometimes there is enough swirling about in the head and the heart that the only way to make sense of it is to write it all down and see what comes out.  And sometimes there aren’t really words to express what is brewing in there.

In 1976 I sat on my grandfather’s lap.

In ’79, maybe ’80 I liked to sit in his office that smelled like maraschino cherries and paper.

Somewhere around 1982 I fully understood we were not allowed to sit in his car unless we had washed our hands.  It was 1987 before I knew for sure he could not rub a penny in to his forearm and pull a dime out of my ear.  But only 1985 when I figured out how to make the “butterfly” fly away and come back again.

Pop-Pop took a spill recently, not the first of them, and I daresay if he can get himself up and at it again it will not be the last.    But as I rounded the corner at the nursing home to see him on his exercise bike I smiled.  He had an orange exercise bike in his basement office on Long Island.  It was the first exercise bike I had ever seen.  I tried to keep that smile on my face as I got the words out of my mouth “Pop-Pop, it’s Kelly…” not knowing if he’d recognize me.

He smiled at me.  And at first I thought I’d made it up that he looked a little exasperated with me for introducing myself.  But over the remainder of my visit he smirked when Mom told him I was pregnant, and “having a baby.”  As if to suggest that “of course I was pregnant with a BABY, Sherlock.”  He comes and goes, in and out.  Tired.  But in the moments that he is 100% there he is exactly the grandfather I had my whole life.  He responds to everything you say with a sly smile and a joke that makes you laugh even if you’re not positive it was not at your expense.

I wanted two things out of visiting him.  I wanted him to know that we were there and for him to meet Em.  And I wanted Em to meet him.  She dutifully showed him his own butterfly trick.  The magic trick he had taught me.  Although he had the resolve to wait until I’d figured out how he did it for the most part before he showed me.

He knew we were there.   We were leaving and he looked at Emily with those blue eyes that are as blue today as they have ever been and kinda snarled at her and laughed and suggested that she put her “dukes up”  and I laughed and said “Oh, now he wants to pick a fight with you, while we are leaving, Em!”  He smiled again before he closed his eyes and drifted back to wherever he goes when right now is too tiring, too painful, too… right now.   But before he closed his eyes she giggled.  And I knew she got to really meet him.

In the middle of our trip we did the only thing that makes sense to do.  I am sure I am not alone in the opinion that a nursing home can feel like one of the most difficult, most challenging… saddest places on earth.  So where do you go to balance things out?  Disney World, of course.

There was a moment during a show in front of Cinderella’s Castle that I turned to look at Emily.  I snapped a quick picture and I wish I had gotten one of myself.  I think I looked roughly the same.  Only I had big, fat tears rolling down my face.  Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty and Belle, spinning around the stage singing “Dreams really do come true…” it was too much for this sappy girl.

I haven’t written much about MQD’s and my wedding or about the overwhelming sense of joy I feel every time I am reminded that I am pregnant.  There just really aren’t any words.  Emily’s face in this moment… like she is looking at something that  is absolutely 100 % everything she dreamed it would be.  That’s how I feel every morning lately.

I was painfully aware of this all weekend.  I made it.  To the part where my  dreams come true.  And somehow I can’t stop thinking about anything but that if I don’t slow down and feel it… I’ll blink my eyes and be reaching out to hold the hand of my great grandchildren before I know it.  If I’m lucky…