It seems now that the first (and for a long time, the only) thing that I was comfortable with in my own body will be the first thing to go. Seeing my legs change, I question my future self-image. I am not scared of aging though. People whose faces and bodies look somehow "lived in" have always seemed very beautiful to me - but of course it is easy to say that now. Despite the first tiny wrinkles around my eyes, I look younger than I am. How self-conscious will I eventually become? Will this body of mine, one day, become something I loathe because it will look ugly to me? Will I have the courage to be brave, or will I hide? Will I see the same beauty in myself as I see in the faces and bodies of others? The optimist in me thinks that I will. I am in no hurry to issue a farewell to my legs.
Sunday, 25 July 2010
Farewell to Legs
Two summers ago I noticed an odd cluster of bright purple veins at the back of my left knee. It wasn't a bruise. It was the first warning sign of me having inherited my mother's legs and the troubles that come with them. I have had my share of body issues in the past, but the one thing I have always been perfectly happy with have been my legs. They are pretty long and well formed. I will never forget a comment an ex-boyfriend's mother once gave me: "it is strange that you are otherwise so skinny, but that you actually have legs." When I was in my late teens I'd try to disguise my small chest and bony elbows, but I never had any trouble wearing hotpants or miniskirts.
Since that first cluster of purple veins appeared, my legs have started going through a rather rapid transformation. The veins at the back of my knees have become a lot more visible, and similar clusters have started appearing all over my thighs and ankles. To some, they are hardly visible. To me, they are a constant reminder of my future: that things will not get better, they will get way worse.
If I wear a pair of shorts or a shorter skirt to town (and I still do, but for how long, I don't know), I will hold my purse on my lap, hoping that the person next to me on the bus will not see the ugly little veins on my thighs. Every once in a while I catch myself looking at other women's legs and ankles (just like Charlotte), trying to figure out if their legs look better or worse than mine, if they are older or younger than I am. My sister and I compare our clustered veins and make fun of it all. It makes it easier to have someone who shares the same destiny.
Shorts: thrifted, recycling centre
Belt: mom's old
Loafers: thrifted Bally, for 1 euro, recycling centre