I’ve spent most of my life considering my body my enemy. We’ve never agreed on anything. If I wanted to have a few drinks, my body didn’t. Usually, I won the evening battle. My body won the morning battle.
I wanted to play in the NBA, and I worked hard until I had the moves, the shots, and a great play-by-play commentary. My body apparently wanted to fly beneath the radar. It refused to grow. Not even grow tall enough to let me dunk! All I was left with was my commentary.
My body was always out there in front, making an impression. It had people look at it and judge me on how it was dressed. I didn’t care how it dressed. I wasn’t about whether my socks matched or my shoes were Italian or Chinese knockoffs of Converse All Stars. What did my feet have to do with me? But my body won again. People never saw “me” — like the real me.
I realized when I looked in the mirror this morning, my body had won. Not just a few battles, here and there. Today I knew, the big old flabby thing had finally and irrevocably won the war.
I don’t know who that is in the mirror. It looks a hell of a lot like a mean old fart who kicks dogs for fun. That’s not me. I love dogs. Most dogs. And some cats.
I’m a sharp 25 year old. The thing in the mirror looks like a league bowler for an 8th place senior center team.
I’m a sexy guy. Mirror Man looks like a pervert without his raincoat.
I’m fun. It looks like it has the heartbreak of constipation.
When I was younger, I admit I didn’t take care of my body. I didn’t exercise unless I was playing something I could win. I ate what I wanted to eat when I wanted to eat it. And I drank. I drank a lot.
Even back then, my body fought back, making me pay badly for my sins against it, sneakily gaining a few pounds at a time, slowly losing my long distance eyesight. So if I wanted to look at a woman, the clunky glasses my body wore would screw it up, and make her want to look at someone else rather than at me. And in its most insidious move, strand-by-strand, it started thinning my hair.
I fought back. (Cue the theme from Rocky as underscoring.) I played more tennis so I could win over not only my opponent, but it! I picked up cool prescription sunglasses and shaved my head. I was holding my own, reflecting the image of a cooler, hipper me that my body was trying to destroy.
But I realized this morning, it’s game over. My body won. I’ve lost — big-time.
This loss has made me think. Well, maybe it’s writing this blog that’s making me think. It works that way, sometimes.
Maybe I’m not alone in this battle. Maybe you’ve fought the same battle. Probably, you fought it better than me. And probably you haven’t conceded defeat as I have. Probably, you’re still fighting.
Doink! I hear the sound of sartori!
Doink! I realized what I’m seeing isn’t as important as I thought. Doink! I’ve been thinking that when I looked at you, I was looking at you, the real you. But I wasn’t. Doink! I wasn’t seeing you at all, anymore than you were seeing me.
And my epiphany is that irrespective of our avatars, here on OS we see each other better than others in the real world see us. Here, we are what we think and write. And others on Open Salon see us exactly that way, the real us.
And that, I’m sorry to admit, that’s really not quite enough consolation.