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It’s a Small Thing: The Struggle with Body Image

Woman standing with a towel onKevin here. . .

As we age, many of us pick up a few extra pounds. More like most of us. And, we don’t like it. We miss how we used to look and the way our clothes used to fit. Vick feels this way about her body. She tries, but the weight only comes off reluctantly. And the other day, she asked if it bothered me.

I love Vicki, and at first, I wanted to say I didn’t care in the slightest. But I realized that wasn’t quite true. I would love it if she looked like she did 20 or 40 years ago! Like all of us, I find youth attractive, and neither of us is young. Quite the contrary. But what Vick looks like pales compared to who she is, and the few extra pounds are not what I think of when I see her.

I think about how she shares herself deeply and honestly with me. I love the way she navigates through life, using her sharp and accurate intuition. I treasure the deep knowledge of people that her 40 years as a therapist has given her, and I enjoy her wicked wit and deep empathy. I glory in her open sexuality, how she tells me what she needs and is excited to give me what I want. She is my life partner, and I am so grateful we are together. I would be bereft without her. And, I love her body… its femininity… its sleek softness… its responsiveness.

So, that extra weight? Well, it’s a small thing!

Victoria here. . .

Well, my beloved, you made me tear up with that one. I have to admit that sometimes, more times than I want to admit, I struggle with how my body looks these days. It’s hard for me to believe you love me now that I am older and, well, not the girl or even woman I used to be.

Aging is strange. On the one hand, I know I am a happier person, like fine, aged red wine, mellow with deep tinges of blackberry and pomegranate. And, to be honest, I am content with who I am—for the first time in my life.

But there is always that crushing comparison with younger, more attractive women…I just can’t help comparing  myself to them. Their skin is like fine china, smooth and luminous. And their sinuous curves—so elegant, so svelte, and powerful. I think it would be different if we lived in a culture that values maturity and the wisdom gleaned from experience rather than physical appearances.

I’m beginning to believe that comparing myself to younger women is a way to lament the loss of my own youth, that by envying their youth I remember mine. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to be them—I just want my younger body and face back.

But there is no comparing the young and the aged. They are both stages of life, each necessary for a full life with its own relevance, beauty and value. 

Kevin sees my inner beauty—what an incredible man! I’m beginning to realize that I sell him short when I question his ability to love me more deeply than my physical appearance. . . that my superficiality is a barrier to deepening our love. So, it’s time for me to stop judging myself by my appearance and appreciate the value of who I am as a whole person. He is showing me how to age gracefully—what a loving gift. I am a lucky woman.

4 Comments

  1. Anonymous June 27, 2019 at 4:14 pm - Reply

    Great read. Love you guys!

    Eric

  2. Karen June 27, 2019 at 6:02 pm - Reply

    You two inspire your friends to deepen and broaden our psyches as well as our capacity for intimacy. The energy between the two of you is eternally youthful. Thank you for generously sharing your lives.

  3. Anonymous June 28, 2019 at 7:10 am - Reply

    Thank you both for raising this issue and for showing your vulnerability Vicki. I am struggling too with body image and self-comparison, and I know it is a cage I make for myself. Sometimes I can look at someone young and see them with an older body, and see the youthful body of someone older, and that helps to release myself from the constraints of my personal self-view.

    • Victoria July 7, 2019 at 4:25 pm - Reply

      Yes, comparing ourselves to others is a cage of our own making. As far as I can tell, the comparison thing is with us pretty much all the time, sometimes more or less than others. With maturity and meditation, I’ve reduced that nagging habit, but I’m still vulnerable about aging. Not surprising when you consider the possibly innate competitiveness between women for a man. But thankfully, even that is growing less as I become more aware of my self-talk and core beliefs, and choose to let all that goopy stuff just float by without buying into it. Keep up the good work!

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2019-07-07T16:14:51+00:00