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Arcs in the Air - an Autobiography Box 'Remember' prompt

10.07.2002

feeling kinda how a girl feels

this is the 'remember' prompt that i pulled from The Autobiography Box -

Create a word portrait of yourself. Using as much descriptive language as possible, draw a picture of yourself, including physical attributes but also the things that have given your face character — what you inherited from your parents, what life and time have done to alter it.

fitting that i should pull that one, as i've been thinking a fair amount about my body lately. i feel a bit as if i don't know this body anymore.

i look at my hands on the keyboard. they're reasonable hands, fingers not too short or long, altho i'll never play piano; i think my thumbs belong to someone with strong character. i don't really know what it is that tells me that, but that's how they seem. i'm wearing a chunky silver ring on my right thumb, and a silver clasp band watch dangles off the wrist just below it. my wrists are skinny (some, in a more flattering mood, would say 'delicate'). wrap the middle finger and thumb around the other wrist, and i can touch the thumb joint. they haven't always been good to me, these wrists. RSI bad enough that i couldn't lift a coffee mug, and frustration. i baby them now, with ergonomic wrist supports and trackballs and stretching every so often.

there's a large freckle on the back of each hand. not mirror images: one by the wrist, one in the middle, by the vein that shows more on hot days than other times. i don't remember them always being there, but then again, i can't remember a time that they weren't. i've always had freckles here and there. one of the gifts of the Irish Tan. but i have this idea that my skin was unmarked once. i could look at the back of my hand and see ...nothing. no freckles, no scars, no wrinkles. the changes sneak in, and one day you do an unconscious inventory; it's like opening a brand new map.

i glance down at my hands again, and wonder at the netting of near wrinkles - not quite, just that the cross hatching is more pronounced than i remember. an image pops into my head: sitting on a boulder in the woods with a friend, peeling a pomegranate. i didn't stay in touch with jane, but that image has stayed with me. something about the exotic-ness of the discovery - i'd never had a pomegranate. and i can look down at the young me, holding the fruit split open to blood red seeds. are there freckles on those hands? i don't know. i don't think so.

there are freckles in unexpected places these days. they aren't sun freckles; they're old people freckles. showering one morning, my hands ran over a bit of sandpaper. examination: not quite freckle, not quite mole. a quick visit to the dermatologist, fears allayed. but now i see them everywhere. they're sprinkled across my stomach. hmph. stomach that used to be flat and silky soft, with just one mole between navel and breastbone. now, it's a little poochy. i distinctly remember the first time i felt that little roll, sitting down. odd sensation, and i thought 'where did all that come from? or - where did my stomach go? this isn't mine.'

and the pooch shows up in other places. the thighs, so, fine. i expected that. i got my dad's crappy teeth, bad eyesight, wonky knees, and (apparently) tempermant. now i discover that i have his mother's thighs. this makes me angry, as i never wanted to have anything from doris. short, thick, mean little woman. i work, irregularly, at keeping it at bay, but the genes will out eventually. and back fat... don't even get me started. just enough that there's a little pooch over the edge of the bra strap. bleach.

mind you, i don't look at this body and think it's fat, not by a long stretch. it's just not the one i started with anymore.

but still, the only person i can see when i look at this body is me. i've been told i look like my sister. we have to tell our baby pictures apart by the furniture, so i suppose it's true. but as much as we're alike, that's how much we're different. i see her when i look at her, and me when i look in the mirror. a little, i see the people in my past, but not too much.

the hands, the hands... they are the part of me that is most 'me'. when i talk, they dance thru the air; i can't talk without them. friends have forced me to sit on my hands, and conversation has stopped. every so often, i catch the arc formed by that space between thumb and forefinger as i emphasize a point, and i'm happy. somehow, in that arc, is the essence of me.

yesterday :: tomorrow

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