I remember in grade seven when all the girls were excited about becoming women. I spent grade six in England where the social girl language was probably different, because I don't remember anything being talked about. There must have been some kind of high-pitched squeaks that I didn't recognize, but when I returned to Canada it was palpable. All the cool girls were wearing plastic go-go boots and training bras. I always wondered what the breasts were being trained for, exactly. I tried one and discarded it soon after, relegated to my dresser drawer along with highly scented deodorant, ugly costume jewelry, and pantyhose. We all waited anxiously for our periods to start, and then complained when they did. My body continued to do what bodies do and it grew and formed in most surprising ways. As it happened, I felt my spirit, my character, the definable part of me changing unaccountably. I was not the common-sensical little girl any longer, I was a nonsensical mix of girl, woman, and beast. "And when she was good, she was very, very good, and when she was bad, she was horrid."

The initiation ceremonies of Junior High took me completely by surprise, the couplings and pairings, the whisperings, the poms poms and bottles. I remember a girl asking me "Do you drink?" I looked at her with astonishment - how could a person not drink? Was this another strange attribute of the Blond Westerner?

I turned away from adolescent drama, made my own way through the sex, drugs and rock 'n roll generation, and slowly became accustomed to being a woman. Childbearing and breastfeeding became part of my life, and when my youngest weaned I was sad but content.

Now, all of a sudden, the body is acting up again. I was always rather slim. 52 kilos was how much I weighed. That was part of me, except when I was pregnant (or that time in London when I survived on Guiness and chocolate cookies)... Now, suddenly, my waist has thickened. My hips are wider. The skin all over my body feels softer. Everything is somehow changing, changed. My body feels like it is not mine any more. I am trying hard to accept it. I think I should build up my abs - but I never used to build up my abs! I look at twenty year-olds and wonder - did I ever look like that? I ask my husband if he still loves me.

And I dream of sailing the Atlantic, or cutting loose, leaving the rat race, not doing the dishes....

Life is constant change, constant wonder. I am always at a crossroads. I wonder what I am going to do when I grow up...


  1. Thank you for sharing such an honest beautiful account of aging gracefully.


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