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Thursday, January 24, 2008

The State of the Body


Yesterday I blogged about growing up with a feeling of being disconnected from others – to the extent that a psychiatrist speculated, years later, that I might have been somewhat autistic. This morning I read Cerebral Mum's blog about trying to enrol herself at University without her glasses, and feeling disoriented, confused and – yes – disconnected. And I remembered that I was nine years old before my adults realised I needed glasses.

It hadn't shown up too much in class because I was in fact short-sighted. Even with astigmatism as well, I could read my books all right – though people did keep urging me to literally take my nose out of them! ('You'll ruin your eyes,' they kept saying, and none of us realised my eyes were crook already.) And I liked my lessons (most of them) and didn't particularly want to muck up in class, so I was happy to sit in the front where I could see the blackboard.

Outside the classroom, and outside my beloved books, it was a different story. I gained an undeserved reputation for being 'stuck up' because I couldn't see who was who until they got close, so people thought I was ignoring them on purpose. As I said yesterday, I also couldn't interpret non-verbal cues very well, and I was physically clumsy. Therefore I was pretty hopeless in social situations, which increased my withdrawal into myself and into the world of reading, ideas and daydreams.

I'm not complaining exactly – I loved that world and still do – though I'm glad I also learned to relate to people eventually. I did have a few friends back then too, and I wonder how come they persevered with me in the face of my various oddities.

But what a revelation, to realise that the whole thing very probably stemmed not from some innate mental condition but a physical one, my poor eyesight!


Today in an unfamiliar shopping centre I rounded a corner and nearly collided with a huge, fat woman. A moment later I realised I was looking at a mirror wall, and the large lady was me!

Oh dear, I knew I'd put on a bit this last year – but THAT much? Evidently so. Yes, I was wearing my glasses; no chance of seeing wrong this time.

(This is why any photos you see here are at least a year old.)

Roll on Letitia! Hmmm, perhaps 'roll' is an unfortunate choice of word. What I mean is, my pal Letitia Lee is about to make a documentary on Thinkin Trim Taut Terrific and I can hardly wait to get the benefit of her expertise on the subject. She's used this method before to become slim. This time she had to get very big again on purpose, so as to be her own main demonstration model. I didn't exactly do it on purpose myself, more by carelessness, but I'm sure going to rectify the matter very purposefully!

Now, it's not that I think fat women can't be beautiful. I know some who are downright gorgeous! Luminous skin, wonderful eyes, great hair, volutptuous curves in all the right places....

And it's not that I think old women can't be sexy. The most delicious flirt I know, adored by her male friends of all ages, is a vibrant 80. She's also a believable blonde.

Alas, the woman in the mirror was not like this. The worst was, she didn't even reflect what I like to think of as my personality. She looked tentative, even a bit scared, and I have to say there wasn't much sign of intellect.

'Poor old thing,' I would have thought, had started to think, before I saw that she was me.

Well, I am of course a Senior Citizen – but I don't FEEL elderly on the inside. How shocking that I should look it, even despite my lovely magenta-coloured hair.

Something has to be done! I'll take all the help I can get, but actually I'm the one who has to do it. See you later, folks; I'm off out for a walk.

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