I am old. I have been on this planet for over forty years. I know, to someone who has been here for sixty or eighty years forty is young. For me forty is old and my body is letting my know it. I admit, I have not treated her very well. I smoked for over twenty years. I did not move her and exercise her enough. I filled her full of fast food and sugary junk. She is now telling me to fix this situation. I know that one of the reasons I did not treat her well is that I didn’t like her very much. She is not six feet tall. She is not naturally slender. She is not beautiful in the way magazine editors tell me she ought to be. Intellectually I know this is complete nonsense and when I was a much younger woman I felt perfectly happy with her. But as I have aged somehow this crap has bothered me more. Recently, I have realized this unhappiness has less to do with how my body looks than what my body does. I mean, really, if I were so ashamed of the jiggle in my belly would I get up in front of hundreds of people and take my clothes off? (I’m a burlesque performer, in case this is your first time here.) Probably not. What is bothering me is that she hurts when she moves and sometimes when she doesn’t (which may be the real problem). I have a bum knee, fallen arches, seemingly chronic tendinitis in an ankle, my lower back is always stiff and I often have headaches. I love to dance. I love to ride my bike. I want to dance more. I want to fly on aerial silks. I want to go on long bike rides. I want to do yoga. And, I have often used the ‘I’m old, tired, and stiff’ excuse to not do stuff. I have come to the realization – and I know you’re all thinking, ‘Well, duh!’ – that unless I move the old, tired, stiff body she’s never going to do the things I want her to do. So, I am going to move her this summer. I have signed up for a workout class with my favourite dance studio. I am going to try my hand at ‘flying’ on fabric suspended from the ceiling. I will do yoga once a week, walk my dog and ride my bike more. I hope my lovely body becomes stronger and more willing to do what I ask of her.
That’s the plan anyway!