"You're going to feel like shit," she shrieked through the telephone. "Unless you do something." Do something as in take the bio-identical hormones Suzanne Somers swears by. "She" was a fairly recent acquaintance, who didn't know me well enough to know how absolutely freakishly immobile I can become any time I'm told there's something I "must" do.
My response is usually a silent "we'll see about that." I had happened to share with this new friend that I blamed a recent spate of migraines on hormones and the weather. But both would pass and I was confident I would feel fine in a few days. That's when she began to extol the virtues of Bio-Identical hormones. That's when I politely opined I preferred to be guided by my body. That's when she - ordained minister, self-proclaimed theologian, international traveler, among other things - turned into a harpy.
A few years ago, I had tried to add more soy to my diet, after reading and hearing about all the benefits to be reaped. Soy left me with a mostly metallic taste in my mouth. It didn't make me feel good. At best it made me feel weirdly hollow. My body knew I was trying to trick it. So when my new friend clued me in to her own fear of growing old - I could hear it in the timbre of her voice - I had to think about if Suzanne Somers was the person I wanted to pattern my behavior after.
I have nothing against Ms. Somers. As an actress, she entertained me. But when I look at her now, and I mean no offense, she doesn't look like someone I want to look like. And I don't believe that a woman's body needs to have things "replaced" or levels "maintained." The way I looked at it, this is a change my body has adapted to go through. All of the older women I knew - my grandmother and my aunts and my mother - lived lives that seemed just fine without much artificial enhancement by today's standards at all. Why would I want to hang on to something nature had designed me to stop?
This was my attitude about childbirth, after all. I've given birth to four children, all without so much as a bullet to bite on. Admittedly, my labors were relatively fast - the longest was the first and that only lasted a textbook twelve hours. But mostly what kept me grunting and groaning and huffing and humming was my sheer aversion to hospitals, needles and medical personnel in general unless I decide they're necessary.
But as I said to my father, who was amazed by my ability in this regard, all I felt I had to do was get out of the way. I reasoned then that a billion years or more of evolution had gone into the design of my body, that humans had been birthing humans since before we called ourselves "human." I knew that if I could trust that my body somehow knew exactly what to do - in the same way a dog mother knows what to do - everything would go the way it was supposed to go.
Well, said my father, it sure worked well for you.
What I really heard in my friend's voice was fear.. and not so much fear of getting older...more like fear of losing youth. And that's what I see on the frozen Barbie faces of the public figures who are clearly engaged in an all out war on Time.
Maybe it's easier for me to contemplate giving up my youth because I did some really dumb things when I was younger. What youth has going for it is the fabulous body but no one appreciates it while it's at its meridian. I see that in my own girls, but that's another post.
But my body has served me well. I've had a lot of fun with it. It really hasn't ever let me down. Sooner or later, no matter what I look like, I'm going to have to die. Why would I want to torture myself into trying to look forever 35?
So I decided that despite my friend's heart-felt warning, I would do what I do best ....which is nothing.
And to wait and see what happened next. Blessed Be.