Sitting here on a beautiful Sunday afternoon in my comfy recliner and my comfy granny panties, I'm feeling pretty awesome. Why is that? I'm so glad you asked because I want to tell you why. I just saw a picture of Cindy Crawford on the internet and my first thought was, "Oh my holy hell. Why would she let people see her like that?" Well, turns out the picture is a fake. It's "doctored" to make her look like she has a stomach that looks like mine.
She does, indeed, have a stomach; however, it doesn't look like what you see in the fake picture. Still, Cindy is NOT perfect. Intellectually, I know that no one is perfect.
I had no idea when I opened my laptop this morning that I was going to see a fake picture of Cindy Crawford's stomach. I was just going to check Facebook for a few minutes and then head on in to the kitchen to prepare a killer brunch. Standing at the stove, frying a half-pound of bacon, my mind kept going back to the picture, and how happy I was to think, falsely, that Cindy Crawford's stomach looks like my stomach.
Why is it so powerful in my mind? It reminded me of another picture of another super-model from back in the day. Do you remember that famous poster of Farah Fawcett from the 70s? I can see it in my mind so clearly. I was 16 and a junior in high school when that poster was so popular, and you know what? I had a killer body at 16. Big deal, everybody has a killer body at 16. I know that, but not everybody did what I did at 16.
What did I do? I'm so glad you asked because I want to tell you what I did. I wore a black, leather letter jacket at all times. I'm not talking about in the dead middle of winter. I'm talking about winter, spring, summer and fall. Yeah, I was proud of earning a letter jacket, but that's not the reason I wore the damn thing year round. Why did I do it? Because I was trying to cover up my killer body. Yep, that's why I did it. Oh lord, what I wouldn't give for my 16-year-old body now, and I sure wouldn't cover myself up in a black, leather letter jacket.
At 16, I was so painfully self-conscious that it was just easier to sweat to death than to expose my body. What a waste of time and effort and sweat. I must have looked completely ridiculous. People probably stared at me even more because I was wearing a black, leather letter jacket in west Texas where it can get up to 105 degrees in the summer.
What I didn't understand at 16, but I understand now is that people aren't really spending that much time thinking about me and what I'm wearing and what I'm feeling about what I'm wearing because they are thinking about what they are wearing and thinking and feeling. How I wish I had known that then. I would have been so much happier and not so self-conscious.
I wish I could have just gotten over myself at a much younger age. It finally happened, but not until I hit my fifties. Why did it happen then? I know exactly the reasons why, but it's a long and somewhat boring story involving raising teen-agers and facing death and loss and all the shit that life throws at you. We've all been there, or will get there, so I won't revisit that.
Had I known at 16 that someday I would climb a volcano in Italy, do a cannonball into the pool of a palace in Istanbul and laugh until I tinkled on myself while lunching with my girlfriends in good ol' west Texas then surely I would have not been so reluctant to remove my jacket.
I wish I still had that black, leather letter jacket. I kept it for decades in the back of my closet hanging next to approximately 29 pair of black pants ranging from size 8 to size 20 which I have amassed through the years. I looked for the jacket several months ago in preparation for my high school reunion. I wanted to find it and wear it to the reunion, but then I remembered I donated it to Goodwill before our last move. That's okay because it wouldn't have fit me now anyway, and maybe there's some 16-year-old girl out there wearing it right now and feeling confident and powerful and happy. And, that's just perfect.
Me and my bestie in high school in a photo booth in Gibsons in our jackets!!!!