“Are you getting up?”
I remove my ear plug. Sometime during the night the other had been removed. In a half-conscious state, I had reasoned that both earplugs were unnecessary, but one was still required. Logic don’t live around here at three a.m.
“I’m sleeping in. I was getting up in five minutes.”
There’s nothing more frustrating that being woken mere minutes before you intend, without enough time to go back to sleep.
I get up and stumble to the washroom. The world is a blur with the early morning brain-fog and the lack of optometric correction. But who needs sight when you’ve made the same trip more than 1,200 times?
At the counter, I lean in close. Close enough to see the tired face staring back at me. Eyes – failing, bloodshot eyes, tired from a late night of work. Make-up free skin, not quite awake, dull, asleep. Confused skin. Clinging to youth with gripping, desperate talons, slipping into maturity. No wrinkles yet, but there are a few threatening to break the surface.
I pull back slightly, to where everything begins to get fuzzy. I can’t see the flaws from here. My hair, which has been the bane of my existence since the day it sprouted from my still-forming skull, has settled into such that I have less detest for it and more apathetic co-inhabitancy. I could do without the frizz, without the unruly waves, the cowlick at the back of my neck. But it’s just fine. For once in my life, I don’t have the urge to shave myself bald. This morning, it sits on the top of my head; controlled in a bun, bangs forced back with a pin.
I step back once more, away from the mirror this time, to see myself as a whole. Well, the blurry outline of myself surrounded by bokeh. The shape hasn’t changed, this much I can tell. Sure, the curve of my hips is more pronounced and, if I turn to the side, there is a bit more junk in my proverbial trunk, but it’s still the same. Even in this dulled visual state, I can still recognize that it’s me staring back.
This body has given me my girls. Overlooking the years before them, those years are only memories, it gave me my children. Created them and carried them in my womb, nourished them on my breast, nurtured them with my arms. The changes are merely reminders of that. The curves, the scars, the subtle and dramatic differences are simply tattoos illustrating two lives that have lived within and are loved completely and wholy by everything this body can offer.
After thirty years and two children, I’m lucky to be able to say that what I see, however tired and aged and soft, is still me. My failing, uncooperative eyes still look like mine. My skin, my older, changing skin still feels like mine. My hair, frizzy and unruly, still behaves like mine. And my body. My exhausted, barely coping body. My body that has endured stress and strain with strength and resilience. It’s still mine.
Changed and unchanged, my body is still mine.