Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Abstract Me

Today I was crocheting a water bottle holder and it turned into a cosmetic/jewelry pouch. A circle done in crochet can easily get out of control. One or two extra rounds and you have the base of a purse. Another couple of rounds and it's a placemat. Keep going, it's a bedside rug. It doesn't take long to knit a house cover when you're going round and round in crochet. That is one of the things I like about using that crochet hook. You can pick a stitch, use it mindlessly, and just keep going. When you are finished, you cut the yarn, pull it through one stitch, and voila! it's a whatever-you-want-thinga-ma-bobby. It is very easy for me to make three-dimensional shapes with crochet, making rows turn and take off in other directions, connecting parts to form cones and rings and knobs, or satisfying my desire for caffeinated, off-the-charts asymmetry. I know that there will come a time when I stop worrying about the sale-ability of my crochet pieces, and turn them into the abstracts that they long to be.

Sometimes I think I was meant to be an abstract. I am older, with the softened jawline and fuzzy dumpling shape of a 52-year-old who has lived on prednisone for almost two decades. As parts get saggier, lumpier, more affected by gravity and medicines and lupus, they show their asymmetry more. Seen in the dark, or as a shadow on the wall, I can imagine myself a mysterious, amorphous creature that is the sculpture made by a mad scientist-artist like...myself. Oddly enough, I appreciate this, or at least I do not run from it. I can look in the mirror and see interesting shapes and evolution without crying for that past body. I know that my slim, crisp, muscular shape, the 35 year-old body just before lupus, was healthier and more conventionally attractive, but this is the body that holds me now. Now I am older, wiser, experienced, more compassionate, much more patient. Now I let my creativity reign, enjoy my own humor, and listen to my feelings. In its own way, the body works well. It is hearty, flexible, endures pain well and expresses pleasure luxuriously. It is not a shell to be discarded.

I think about this when I meet new men. Can they appreciate the miracle of health and life hard-won, the number of treatments this body has endured to be functioning so well in the present? Or do they just see the asymmetry and lumpiness and "lack of self control" that modern morons see as the basis for all bodies that blossom with obesity? Unlike the stereotypical woman polled, I do not prefer death or stupidity (a kind of death) to obesity. I'll take what I've got and live in it.

In elementary school, my daughter would say, "Mommy, you are soft." She never asked if something was wrong, or why I wasn't thinner or harder like other moms. Now 21, she draws and paints abstracts.


1 comment:

  1. Dear Essie,
    Smart is the new skinny!