I found my first gray hair last week. What I mean is the first gray hair on my mane. A couple of months ago I found a maverick eyebrow. I plucked it and found it was gray. A few months before that I noticed that the coarse black hairs I hate so much that grow from moles were no longer black. My first gray hair showed up about three years ago and was further south. That's all the detail I'll give.
The gray hair joins the litany of my middle age complaints. Sagging skin on my jowls. Wrinkles. Soft middle scarred with stretch marks like cat scratches. Holding my books farther and farther from my eyes. What's next? Chorister arms? Hip replacement? A housedress?
Deep down, though, I'm pretty proud of my body. It certainly isn't the model skinny you see on the front of magazines but it has done some amazing things.
May 26, 2005. The day I stopped loving Tom Cruise. That is the day he slammed Brooke Shields for publicly announcing her reaction to postpartum depression. She chose medication. Gasp! Since then I've felt nothing but contempt for the man who has never had his body rewired while internal organs are pushed aside and changes in hormonal balance makes you cry because the cat coughed up a hairball.
On this particular day, my own body was waging a war with itself, having pushed a person the size of a pot roast through a hole the size of a nostril, and for some mysterious reason, my previously aesthetically pleasing breasts became as hard as granite were leaking sustenance for a child that was wholly dependent on me. No amount of positive thinking was going to magically restore my sleep deprived, physically rewired body. Nope. Instead I did what any sane woman would do.
I painted the family room. And the kitchen. And the entry.
To this day, I can't properly articulate my manic response to giving birth. I can only sit back, sigh and enjoy the ambiance of the colors.
What I can articulate is that this body has been stretched, pushed, pulled, and used in ways I could never truly imagine until I did it. My hormones waged a war within me causing me to reject all forms of nutrition for 8 long months four times, burst into tears for no apparent reason, leak milk from my husband's previous toys and paint faux leather on a wall or two using a cloth and different paint combinations.
But ultimately, I might whine about my body's changes and aging process. The truth is that I am secretly very, very proud of what my body has done.