Thursday, June 30, 2011

Being 40: Some Things Never Change

Although I have 4 months of BEING 40 under my belt, I'm still not quite an expert. I fear that I won't really get the hang of it or understand it fully until... well, until I turn 41. While I wait for the differences and the changes to reveal themselves in this new decade of my life, there are a few things I know for sure right now. The main thing being that... some things never change.

Here are the top ten things that are unaffected by BEING 40 (in no particular order):
  1. I still need ten hours of sleep to feel completely rested. I guess that whole "wake up bright eyed at 5AM and eat dinner by 4" stuff doesn't really start for another 30 or 40 years.
  2. I still struggle with my weight but I still see myself as beautiful.
  3. Being a strong woman doesn't mean you are unfeeling. My feelings are just as easily hurt now as they were when I was 39.
  4. I care what people think and I want people to like me.
  5. Women are still catty and mean after 40. I don't think it's something that we, as a race of people, ever really outgrow. And it usually only makes me sad when someone is being nasty to me. I usually don't think about it when I mock someone's silly dress.
  6. There are days when I still think I only have 4 good reasons for needing a man: 1) to pick me up at the door when it rains; 2) to share the chores (specifically trash duty & lawn mowing); 3) to lift really heavy stuff; 4) ahem... intimate adult interactions.
  7. There are days when I still think all I need is a good man.
  8. I still want babies. 
  9. I still want my parents to be proud of me. And not just when I am singing in front of thousands of people.
  10. People in St. Louis suck at driving. I am the only one doing it right.

Being 40: Doubly Blessed in the Breast

When I was 10 years old and in the fifth grade, I burst through the school doors as the bell rang to find my mother on the parking lot discussing training bras with the mothers of two of my classmates. They exchanged horror stories and comforted one another and I was HORRIFIED.

It took months for my mom to convince me that it was time to get used to wearing the undergarment of restraint even though I didn't really notice much of a reason for it. But when she finally got it on me, I refused to take it off. I was embarrassed by my blossoming bosoms and wanted to hide them as best I could. Keeping them covered in layers made me feel better but didn't make my changing body any less obvious.

By 14, I'd been felt up for the first time. Well, not quite. A certain boy, who shall remain nameless, tried to put his hand up my shirt and I freaked out. I will never forget it. I was in the driveway at the back of church and I was wearing my favorite white sweater and I said he was just my friend but I really liked him. And then it happened! And I screeched so loudly I nearly burst the stained glass windows across the way. He laughed. And again, I was so horribly embarrassed.

Those good for nothing boobs were a constant source of "OH. MY. GOD." for me. Total angst. I didn't want boobs. I didn't care what they were for or that boys seemed to like them. They got in the way when I tried to play ball and eventually, I could hardly sleep on my stomach any more without adjusting and shifting.

But no matter how hard I worked to hide them or strap them down and no matter how many nights I prayed that God would JUST MAKE THEM STOP GROWING, I had boobs and they weren't going away. Not only did I have them but I seemed to be doubly blessed in the breast.

Clearly I have adapted to the situation since I was 14 years old but the fact of the matter is that the grass is always greener on the other side. You always want what you don't have. And sometimes you don't want what you've got. But boobs are a part of being a woman and I am thankful for my healthy set. I am grateful for my girls. That said, if I could pick anything else to be doubly blessed with I might.

NOTE: I've never used this space to endorse a product. Until now... When you are well-endowed in the upper body region or doubly blessed in the breast, finding a bra that will stifle the jiggle and jump so you can workout without discomfort is nearly impossible. I recently discovered ENELL sports bras. When I say they secure you, I mean they LOCK YOU DOWN IN PLACE. I didn't realize what a problem I had until I put on this gear. I am moving faster than I have in years and I am able to work out harder so if you are a bigger busted woman looking for a sports bra, try ENELL!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Being 40: 60,000 strong

 Last Saturday, I had the opportunity to walk in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure with some very dear friends, one of whom is a five year survivor. Along the route, we connected with another friend of mine who is a ten year survivor this year. As we walked among the more than 60,000 participants, I was moved to tears a few times. The camaraderie and the unity of the people who packed the streets of downtown St. Louis was not only heart-warming it was also sometimes overwhelming.

Women walked with their daughters and sons, with their husbands and sisters, with their grandchildren and neighbors and coworkers. Some women proudly revealed their bald heads, the result of chemotherapy. Others were pushed in wheelchairs. There were pink tutus and pink wigs and dogs in pink tutus and wigs. Babies perched on parents' shoulders or rode along in wagons or strollers. The walkers were black and white, men and women, old and young.

It was a true representation of the disease. It is no respecter of persons. It affects everyone of us in one way or another. What an amazing experience! I am proud of you St. Louis. And I am thrilled to be celebrating with you Terri and Tammy! I hope that someday we are all just walking in celebration because a cure has been found.