My good and very talented photographer friend Peter Paradise Michaels found this photo in his archives the other day and sent it to me. It was taken about 10 years ago.
As I enter my birth month, and the last year of my 30s, It has brought me to reflect on how much this body has done and felt in 10 years. A little weathering has happened. I feel aware of aging. I have a grey streak in my hair, my belly skin stretched out in pregnancy and remains that way, I have a small umbilical hernia, little aches and pains I did not have 10 years ago.
And yet, in some ways I feel more vitality than I ever have. With age, with birthing a baby and mothering, has come wisdom (and folly). And more capacity to love. I never felt less capacity to love, and it is ever expanding.
I am aware of the privilege of conventional and unconventional attractiveness and how I have benefited from that privilege.
The flip side of that coin is some of the negativity I have experienced as a “young attractive woman”. How many times I have been cat called. How many times I have felt objectified, without the depth of me being seen. How many men have pursued me as a prize. How many women have seen me as a threat and treated me as such.
Today feels raw and vulnerable. My wish for us is to see and love one another beyond our skin. To soften the judgements, positive or negative, we project upon others based on how they look, around age, skin color, perceived beauty. Under the skin of each of us is simply this. Raw humanity.