This Sunday, I’ll be using 5 minutes of my allotted 15 minutes of fame for Listen To Your Mother NYC. I haven’t put much thought into it honestly because if I do, I have to think about the sold-out, 250 seat theater, the friends and family who will be there to support me, visionaries & revolutionaries Ann Imig and Deb Rox flying in to see us and the trauma of finding something to wear.
My 40s are fatter than my 30s for many a reason. I eat more, drink more and move less. Also, my 40+ year-old body is getting selfish in her old age. She’s all take, take, take and never gives back an ounce. She refuses to respond to my slimming efforts. Now, when I buckle down and healthy food for an entire week, nothing happens. Huh. Go figure.
For as much as I tried to get fit for Listen To Your Mother, and admittedly I didn’t try that hard, I will still be sporting the over 40 sedentary look on Sunday, grateful that the video will frame my upper, svelter self. I will not be fit or buff, but I will also not be mustached or uni-browed because Grazielle ripped out all the rogue hairs from my face while I twitched in agony with every flick of her dainty wrist.
Most days, I don’t mind looking like Mr. Potato Head and a Lady Weeble's love child. But then I go shopping for a special occasion like this here reading.
I loathe shopping. I suffer from Mannequilusionism (pron. man-uh-kin-i-LOO-zhun-izm) which is the delusion that what looks good on a mannequin will look good on my Ms. Weeblato body. When I try on the stylish outfit that the mannequin wears so well and stare in the mirror, the real-life reflection of my actual self slowly lowers a curtain over the image I had in my mind, and my self-esteem goes fetal.
I never used to admit that I had body image issues. Spending 4 years at an all-wimmin’s college amongst angry feminists (myself being one of them), left me shaking my fist at the patriarchy that prescribed an oppressive definition of wimyn and harshly judging those who opted into their tyranny. Eventually, I accepted the fact that I wanted to look good for me, and that I had to work at it to do it and that I could not, would not condition my brain to love my soft, gelatinous rolls. That said, I never had to work that hard to contain expansion. My 40+ year-old body has decided that it’s time to colonize the space around me.
With a Nordstrom gift card in my pocket and a resolve NOT to spend 5 hours shopping only to return home with a bra like I usually do, I set off to find something to wear.
Melanie, the tall, slender sales representative offered assistance, and I reluctantly accepted. She endured my self-deprecating comments while she selected some stylish pieces.
“I can actually hear that tube of flab around my midriff yelling, ‘JERONIMO!’ as it tries to bungee jump to the floor.”
“I tried to get pregnant so that my bump would make my ass look smaller, but then I realized I wouldn’t actually be showing in time.”
Melanie found a couple of things that set off a raging bout of Mannequilusionism. I would not be using my gift card that day. We had a great conversation though. She shared with me that she was also a blogger, writer and improv performer and that she had 2 daughters – one graduating college and one about to go to college. She had survived a few set backs here and there, but everything was copasetic these days.
“Give me some advice from a mother on the other side,” I begged.
“Don’t make too many rules. Just stick to a few. Love them. Spend time with them. Let them make mistakes.”
I left empty handed but with more than I bargained for. I got loving words of mother-wisdom, always in fashion and well suited for every body type. So “fitting” for the occasion.