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Archive for June, 2012

Nakedness

So, as I mentioned, there’s a new guy in my life. And sometime soon I’ll have the opportunity to get naked with someone for the first time since my surgery last August. I’m a little nervous about the prospect of my clothes coming off to reveal a six-inch scar right across my lower abdomen. I lost almost 10 lbs. when I had my surgery (the weight of my uterus and giant fibroid “baby”, I guess) but I’ve gained a few of them back. And I lost a LOT of muscle tone in that area. I guess it’s understandable that muscles are going to be weak after you’ve sliced through them, but it’s taking longer to heal and rebuild than I thought it would. Long story short, I don’t like the way my body looks from navel to thighs right now.

Clarification: I like the way my body looks in my clothes just fine. Everything fits much better than before my surgery and I’m even rocking the skinny jeans again. I’m not overweight by any stretch of the imagination. But my clothes hide the scar and the love handles on my hips and my flabby, untoned abdomen. I don’t like the way I look naked. If I’m standing at the mirror after a shower, I hurry to wrap a towel around my waist or put on some undies just so I don’t have to look at the offending area.

And there’s the root of my insecurity. New Guy has commented on my “fantastic” figure, and I’m afraid the reality of my naked body won’t live up to his expectations.

I’ve been dieting and trying to exercise more, and I’ve lost 2.5 lbs. in the last couple of months. But it’s not about weight loss or about the numbers on the scale; it’s about toning and firming, and I’m not seeing results there yet. I know I’m not going to see noticeable results in the next three weeks. So I just have to make peace with this body that I have right now, to trust that he doesn’t expect me to look like one of those 22-year-olds you see at the beach in a bikini with a stomach that’s almost concave. (I didn’t look like that when I was 22 and it’s sure as hell not happening at 47.)

He doesn’t expect that. My rational mind knows this. He’s not one of those overgrown boys who only dates women half his age. In an effort to reassure myself, I looked back a couple of years on his Facebook timeline to see if there were pictures of his ex-wife. I found a picture of the two of them in Halloween costumes from 2009: a pretty blonde with an hourglass figure – hips and waist and thighs all definitely wider than mine. Realistically, there’s no way she didn’t have some flab and cellulite under that pirate wench costume. He still thought she was gorgeous. And he thinks I’m gorgeous, too.

::deep breath::

Now about being emotionally naked and vulnerable, truly intimate with the first man since my husband… THAT is some scary shit. But I’m walking toward it anyway, arms wide open, because there’s no experience of love and joy that doesn’t involve the risk of pain. You can’t shut yourself off from pain without shutting out the good stuff, too. I was numb for too damn long. I’m ready to FEEL.

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Last night I went dancing with a couple of girlfriends. We had a great time… laughing, dancing our asses off, flirting with the boys in the band… I felt free, happy, empowered.

And then in the last set the band played Eric Clapton’s “Wonderful Tonight.” Halfway through the first verse, tears began streaming down my face and I had to get out of there. “Wonderful Tonight” was our last dance at our wedding reception. Hearing it played live, for the first time since that night in April 2009, I was blindsided by grief. In the parking lot I sobbed against my friend’s shoulder, remembering the way I felt swaying in my new husband’s arms, singing softly “my darling, you were wonderful tonight.” I thought our life together was just beginning. Less than a year later, he was dead.

It’s been over two years since he died. Most of the time I’m OK. I’m seeing someone new — it’s a brand new thing, just beginning to develop, and it’s too soon to know whether it’s going to go anywhere — but I’m enjoying it and he makes me feel special. I don’t feel lonely anymore. Most of the time I’m happy.

It was a bit of a shock how fast I could go from happy to sobbing, a reminder that the grief isn’t gone but only lying dormant under the surface.

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Sneaking back in

Uh, hi. Remember me? I know I fell off the radar for a while…

I felt the need to go inward for a while, to keep  my personal stuff to myself while I worked through the next layer of grief and healing. And when I surfaced from that, or thought I had anyway, I got busy LIVING. I filled all my free hours with fun plans, joined a couple of dating sites (with less than stellar results and not even any good stories, damn it)… and then there was an unhealthy obsession with a completely unavailable man that kept me occupied for a while.

I stopped journaling when I decided to do NaNoWriMo last November, giving all my writing time and energy to complete a 50,000 word novel in 30 days. I finished the first draft, though I don’t know if I’ll ever do anything more with it… and then I never really got back to journaling or blogging. Just in the last couple of weeks I’ve started to feel the urge to write about my internal life again. I’ve been scribbling in my old spiral notebook, making notes in a Microsoft Word document when I’m supposed to be working. And now I’m sneaking back in here, wondering if there’s anyone still listening.

Is there anybody out there? Just nod if you can hear me.

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