Friday, March 25, 2016

Older bodies

As soon as we think of older bodies, we seem likely to think of wrinkles, decay and problems.  I have an older body and I have wrinkles, some types of decay and some problems.  But I am focusing on a reminder that, roughly speaking, we are our bodies.  Just as we are more than our elbows, we are also more than attractiveness, prestige from great appearances, and king because of our biceps.

Keep in mind that if the body fully ceases to function, it is ready for cremation.  Your head and brain and eyes and muscles are all part of your body.  So, it is fundamental, more so that just stuffing for a bathing suit, more important that a source of shame that I am not the male model of a 20-something. It is true that I am not such a model but if I have expensive plastic surgery done so that I do look like I am a young weight lifter, I will be a grotesque ghost of youth.

It is like my mind.  My knowledge and my experiences are not what they were.  I have no wish to have my brain rearranged so that I know and believe and hope what I did at age 25.  My mind and my opinions and my body are what they are and happen to be quite marvelous.  You can marvel at them if you wish but they are still fine, still wondrous if you skip this opportunity.   

When Mrs. Hughes, the head housekeeper of Downton Abby, played by Phyllis Logan, was asked by Mr. Carson for her hand in marriage, she worried.  What might he think of her body on their wedding night?  She was not a young woman in her biological prime.  He might be displeased or worse by her appearance.  She engaged her friend, the chief cook, Mrs. Pattmore, to talk to Mr. Carson.  Maybe he just wanted a relation of convenience (no sex and such).  Nope, he wanted the whole deal.  Trepidation and quaking (!) (very arousing!!)

I guess it all worked out all right.  They were smiling and friendly toward each other over the next days. At first I thought, how cute, how quaint.  Then, I realized that between the media and our natural biological stereotypes as to what a hot female and a hot male should look like when nude, it is very easy to feel ashamed of one's older body.  This despite the fact that this body has transported one's mind and gut and heart ever since birth!

Ok, maybe you don't want to run your hands over my chest any more.  But have a little respect! Wrinkled and deflated, chunks of fat and all, this body has won many battles and continues on, the very symbol of excellence and achievement.

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