Foreign Bodies

My skin is a boundary– it parts that which is me from that which is not me. But I have been shrinking, and my skin is enclosing some other me. I look in the mirror, and she’s someone else. Someone with creaky knees who doesn’t run as fast as me and can’t do near as many sit-ups. She is someone with almost my face, but she weighs a little more, and her flesh hangs differently and she can’t stretch as far. She aches more than I do.

Perhaps she is me after all. I am a bone thing, ossifying alive. We are dying every day. I do not know this woman in the mirror– because the me I know is just a girl. She’s waiting for things to be right. She’s waiting to grow up. Maybe she will wait through the heat death of the universe before she realizes she is grown.

Perhaps this is what aging is, becoming yourself over and again. We thought we knew what it was to win a self from the jaws of our peers fleeing public high schools, clinging to scraps of identity, at home in a body we thought could be like a house. But houses decay, and sometimes there are no fixes. Creaky knees and broken noses, old aches that won’t go away flaring up when the pressure changes with the rain. I am not the me I was. This familiar body I’ve lived in all my life has grown strange. I am a foreigner in my own flesh.

One thought on “Foreign Bodies”

  1. Aging is a process, growing or shrinking. Perhaps Yeates was onto something when he wrote <>things fall apart, the center cannot hold<>.I, too, have looked in the mirror and seen a stranger looking back; a stranger with more grey hair and the beginnings of wrinkles, who is and isn’t the girl in the picture I keep on my dresser. A stranger who hurt her ankle on a step a younger self would have been fine bounding down.I have decided that I cannot stop the process, but I can help shape it. Now begins the age of paying attention to things once taken for granted, of reading labels, and of walks for the sake of walking.

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