Perspective. It’s not something I have ever been good at, or am good at having some sort of handle on. I’m always just so, “in it.” You know when you are depressed, and people say, be thankful for what you have. Be thankful you have running water and your health and all that. During this speech, I tune out and my mind just goes, “blah blah blah.” I have running water, but I don’t have all the things I WANT AND NEED! I am completely spoiled, and have no perspective, and I own it.
But, then I was talking to one of my oldest friends the other day. We have been friends so long, I actually don’t like to say how many years, because now it’s starting to age me dramatically. So we were talking about body images and the like. She was mentioning how she used to see an old picture of herself in a bikini on vacation, and stare at it. Just venerate this photo and her body in the picture. A strange mix of awe and, “oh I wish I still looked like that.” We continued to have a long discussion about ourselves in our twenties. A strange thing, I had a much better (or at least thinner) body then, but I was a much more miserable person. Sure there is a small part (ok big part) of me that wishes I still had the taut skin, no love handles, and the ability to loose weight from just eating healthy for a few days. But, I certainly don’t wish back all that I had up in my neurotic head back then. I over-analyzed everything in my twenties. Would have deep bouts of depression, thinking how hard life was, from my pedestal in my loft on the Bowery. I don’t wish that back on myself. But, then my friend said something that struck me, that I’m trying to take with me and have some perspective on. She said, “well, in ten years from now, we will probably look back at pictures of ourselves today, and think, wow, I wish I had that body.” Isn’t that the truth? But, isn’t that so hard to do? I know I’ve talked about this general idea before, and always circle back to it. But, I just find it so f*cking hard! Having perspective! When I see that little dimple start forming on my upper thigh, the self-loathing kicks in, and my heart sinks a bit. Someday, most likely, most sadly, most dreadfully, I’ll probably have tons of little dimples punctuating my upper thighs. But, I can’t seem to be grateful for what I have in the here and now. No, no perspective.
I want to use an annoying yoga/self-help word now, but I’m really trying to be more “mindful” of this, myself, and my thoughts. I can get toxic with myself faster than I’d like to admit. The negative thoughts breed on themselves like a cold virus in a kindergarten class. So, now I’m trying to be more “aware” and start switching my thoughts, and switching my perspective on those that I idolize. By idolize, I mean those women that I swoon for. The young ones with the bodies so thin. The arms like little twigs and the thigh gaps like craters between their legs. No, I’m going to stop being jealous of these young girls, and start looking up to my women tribe who make me feel empowered, and have nothing to do with their body size or looks. I’ll give you an example, Florence Welch. Now, let’s be straight here. I think she is a bad ass hot biatch with hair ablaze and a wildness that makes me feel like the tame grandma I am. But, I had a moment with Ms. Welch and I would like to share it with you here.
A while back, I was watching my beloved, Graham Norton. I had heard one of Florence and the Machine’s latest song, but never took to it. But, then this night, on Graham, she was the musical guest. I thought I would watch, kind of half-listening, waiting for him to get to my favorite part, the last segment with the audience member in the red chair. Yet, when Florence came on, my mind was blown, and my spirit howled from within. That’s right, I just said spirit howled from within(I know too many self-help)but, sh*t it did; it howled like a wolf, from the couch.
So many women we admire today, in my eyes don’t deserve the adoration they receive, most especially from the younger generation. But, here was this vision, this fiery woman on my television screen singing with such strength and conviction, whilst sort of Woodstock-hippie-barefoot dancing on stage. It left me transfixed, gobsmacked, astonished. I was mesmerized, and wanted to worship her like the musical rock goddess she is.
Now, when I hear that song, I get a sense of self-empowerment. I gain my here and now perspective. A sort of primal instinct to be my strongest me. This me includes the widened hips, cellulite, and lengthy array of bodily issues I have. But, it also includes the me in this moment. I want to worship the me of today, not the me of yesterday. Yes, my thighs might be bigger, but they are strong, they are mine. My arms are bigger for sure, but they also spend much of the day carrying my treasured senior dog around the streets of NYC. I love my turkey wings for that. For being able to pick him up, and cuddle him, and whisper in his ear, “live forever.” Now, when I hear that Florence and the Machine song, I use it as my anthem. My self-help and all the bull sh*t that comes with it soundtrack to the new me. The one who has perspective, or at least is consciously trying to learn and trying to have some perspective. To count my blessings, to relish my life and moments; bulginess and all. I thank the universe for giving me that serendipity on the couch to see Florence in all her rock goddess glory. To give me a new female to aspire to, a tenaciousness to work towards, and a song to do it all to. I hope you can find your own song, or woman that makes you feel strong. And if not, here is mine, for you to borrow. Listen to it, envision the best you, and then think, you are probably already that person. You just have to have the courage to put that person out there, to let her come out onto the stage, barefoot and all. She is waiting. She is inside, and I know she is just ready to come out and rock.