If I ever meet Twiggy on the street I will smile and then slap the hell out of her. Until she came along women like Marilyn Monroe rocked size 12 pants, and voluptuousness was a virtue, not a sin.
Granted, the roll around my stomach might not be particularly voluptuous, but it has been nobly earned. I carried two additional human beings in there and am now in active menopause. Loss of estrogen causes the magnificent middle.
Or maybe my body thinks I'm drowning from the sweat created by hot flashes and has instinctively built an inner tube so I can survive.
Like Vladimir and Estragon in Beckett's play, "Waiting for Godot," I have waited endlessly for the arrival of the perfect body. Like Godot, it has never shown up.
The irony is that when I look at pictures of me in my 20s and 30s, I realize that I had an excellent figure. The thing that kept me from seeing it was the barrage of messages that told women we were never pretty enough, never thin enough and never ripped enough.
I observe so many women in my age group who are mostly muscle and bone and apparently don't eat for weeks at a time. I have a desperate need to take them out for a burger and fries.
The wisdom that comes with being in my 50s, as well as my menopausal, maniacal impatience, have come together in the form of acceptance. Finally, I admit that I'm tired of waiting for my perfect body. Why? Because:
• I've spent 35 years waiting to buy that new wardrobe as soon as I lose 10 lbs. I'm down to four shirts and three pairs of pants. It's time to buy.
• I believe my body is fine just the way it is. It gets me around. It can do hot yoga for 90 minutes. It can fall down deck stairs without breaking a bone. And two humans exist because of the cells this body gave them.
• My husband says most men like to have a little weight on their women. Of course they want 80 percent of the weight to be located in the boobs, but I believe him. I choose not to have breast implants, but if I pull my back fat forward I can create some tremendous cleavage.
• Fashion designers who want to save money on material and be supplied with human hangers for the runway have promulgated the goal of being ridiculously skinny. They will not be allowed to impact my self-esteem so their lives can be easier.
• Too many women I know are terrified that they won't attract a man if they gain a few pounds. If I have to choose between eating popcorn or having a man give me a once-over, I'm going for the popcorn every time. A glance takes two seconds, but popcorn can last through an entire movie.
In the second act of "Waiting for Godot," Vladmir and Estragon have a series of scenes in which they try on articles of clothing that do not seem to fit, causing them to be frustrated as they wait for the mysterious Godot.
I've had the same experience in dressing rooms across this nation. I leave the house determined to buy a new outfit, but once I enter the silent, dingy dressing room my heart begins to pound. I step into the stall, trying to forget that fact that it's called a stall, and avoid the full-length mirror, which suddenly becomes the bully on the playground as I refuse to make eye contact.
I take off the least amount of clothing possible, but inevitably lose my balance and have to look up. The cruel fluorescent lights expose every flaw on my body, including the appendix scar remaining from my third grade appendectomy. My appendix burst, and they had to cut a much wider scar than normal. At 8 years old, that was cool. At 52 years old, it looks a little like a deep cut on a rotting grapefruit.
My dressing room experience inevitably causes me to slam the clothes down and find the closest Cinnabon. Like Vladmir and Estragon, I leave the dressing room without a new direction. Instead, I sit on a bench and wonder when that perfect body will arrive.
The last scene in "Waiting for Godot," shows Vladmir and Estragon still waiting. Finally, they agree to leave but neither of them makes any move to go.
I'm not waiting for the Godot body any longer, because it is here and it has housed me beautifully for 52 years.
In fact, I am taking this body out on a date, and I will buy it an entire wardrobe, at its perfect, 52-year-old size. While trying on clothes, we are going to make eye-contact with mirrors and celebrate the appendectomy scar that evidences a battle won.
I'll celebrate this amazing machine that survived five concussions and two babies and several bouts with mononucleosis and more flu than any one body should ever have to handle.
And then I will treat it to a Cinnabon dessert. And we will journey on together, until death do us part.
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