As I pored through the last of photos and memorabilia, this photo softly turned up the corners of my shrinking lips.
I had forgotten about this. Michael, a friend from long ago, had called to ask for a photo shoot. He was a professional photographer and had been doing food shoots for various publications and was ready to practice portraits.
Holding this small sample shoot, I remember he had given me an 8×10 color of it. Hmm. Oh yes, Mario, an across the hall neighbor at the Hopkins House circa early 1980s, had asked to borrow it to practice moving from painting landscapes to portraits. Apparently, I was the unpaid portrait model.
This all made the corners of my now diminishing and drying lips smile. Gone were the days of full luscious, kissable lips, higher than now cheekbones, and green eyes that sparkled.
One could feel remorse for lost beauty, even a deep despair.
But not me. Okay, I admit my clothing is loose and casual now—all the time. I stopped wearing bathing suits and shorts…I need to change that—I do live in Florida after all. On a side note, I cannot believe the gyms expect some type of clothing in the saunas now. Really? Saunas are for bare naked bums parked on towels on wooden benches.
I decided years ago to keep up my skincare and movement routines. But life has a way of overpowering one regarding muscle and bone strength. I saw muscle loss creep up when I sustained an injury and working out was minimal. I felt the collagen melt out of my face and lips and suck me dry as a desert on a 108-degree August noon walk.
I noticed my mid-knee pants creep closer to my ankles. This was getting scary. Would I wake up one morning to a shrunken skeletal frame with a beating heart and breathing lungs?
Then I felt the shift. What did I have?
I have wisdom. I have two loving felines and a home for us as well as food. I have clothing, mostly eco-friendly. I have books and the study of Ayurveda, yoga, and a laundry list of subjects that keep my mind stimulated. I have grown to enjoy making my meals instead of eating out, of walking instead of driving, of growing microgreens, herbs, and greens in my apartment.
I have peace, serenity, and a “nothing bothers me” attitude when folks decide to be condescending, angry, or down-right-mean. I no longer need to have negative folks in my aura.
I have a sense of freedom and love for myself—complete with shrunken lips, cellulite, and skinny ankles.
One day, my sarcopenic body will be wrapped in an eco-friendly shroud and lowered by volunteers in a shallow grave with no headstone. I will allow the critters to feast on me, the fungi and trees to engage their roots around my decomposing earthly bones, and I will, again, be one with nature. One with Momma Earth.
I will be free.
Rite of passage
With wrinkled and sagging bum
And sweet memories.
I have no regrets.
Many mistakes taught me well
My journey proceeds
In spirit, nineteen
My bones and flesh defy me
But I can still fly
Wild weird witty
Wonderful, wandering wisdom