Friday, November 06, 2015

Tori: How old am I?

It's been... well, quite a weekend.

Mike took me to a party at the house of one of his grad school friends'. It was literary-themed, so I went as Lady Mad Hatter (sparkly purple jacket, bustier, fishnets and top hat of course) and we got him a red checked topcoat and bunny ears so he could be the White Rabbit (I was hoping for gender-swapped Alice, but oh well.) The party was very chill - there was a lot of activity in the kitchen (where Mike was holding court) but I settled in with some couples in the living room, where we sat around on the couches and drank wine, which is more my pace lately.

Unfortunately, the weather's unpredictability lately has really made me feel gross, and I started to get a really serious headache around 11, so I went to find Mike. "Hey, you can stay if you want, but I kind of just want to go home and crawl into bed."

He looked really disappointed in me, asked if maybe I could take some Advil or anything, and I said I would stay longer if he really wanted me to, but I was feeling drowsy and I would quite like to split early if he was cool with it.

He let me go. I felt terrible for leaving, and I wished he would want to come home and take care of me, but I didn't want him to leave the party on my account. Conflicting emotions that resulted in me really having to fight back tears my whole way home. Stupid PMS.

I got home and started to undress for bed, leaving the costume in a heap on the floor and scrubbing my makeup off. I moved from the vanity to the full-body mirror to give myself a good look, to take stock of the way my boobs hang, my butt flattens, my muffin top bunches up. Not that I necessarily mind any of this - I'm not tight little 22-year-old Tori anymore, in the body that intimidated me when I first got here. I carry my wear-and-tear proudly, and honestly I think it makes me feel real, at home with myself, and downright sexy. I wasn't meant to be the pin-up in the body I inherited, I was meant to be me.

We all change over time, usually too subtly to notice... I just happen to have a more recent starting point to reference, a vivid idea of what that girl looked like when she first appeared in my mirror. With some tricks and cheats, I can still look like her, and I've got many more years ahead of being a babe, I'm sure. But when I let it all hang out, I'm... this.

It's not perfect, but I like it - love it, own it - but it leads me to my next thought.

I'm old. Older than I seem, anyway.

I will never quite look as old as I really am. I was born for the first time in 1982, which means I am in reality a 33-year-old person. That being is stuffed into a 28-year-old body, which has really seen a lot in the past five years. I know that doesn't make me a senior citizen, but while I reveled in my youth when I got that extra five years back, that time is now gone and I am older to the world than I was when I went to the Inn. I'm ready to slow down. Is that reasonable at 28, or is it because, in my mind, I'm 33?

This is a stupid dilemma to be having, but also a serious one. Is my brain 5 years ahead of my body? Who am I really? Just when I thought I knew, I found a new thing to obsess about.  I practically wanted to book a CAT scan just to see if my brain looked like that of a 33-year-old man, but I don't think I would want to know if it does.

 Basically, I'm just tired.

On my worst days, I feel like I cheated the aging process, and now feel irrationally afraid of the fact that this is the body I will continue to age in, grow old in, maybe even have a baby in.

Mike came over an hour later - definitely earlier than he would have if I had stayed as long as he wanted - and found me curled up in bed with a book and a glass of water, trying to ignore my anxiety. He crawled into bed next to me and I let him fold me up in my arms. We talked a bit about how I was feeling, and I gave him the abridged version about how I was really feeling "my age." He reassured me that the best years were ahead, and I told him I agreed. Then he said "Besides, there's nothing wrong with staying in bed as long as you want. You've earned it."

He started to kiss and caress me and for a second I thought of uttering that time-honored phrase: Not tonight I have a headache. But if we're being honest, I've always found a good tumble helps with that.

As long as I don't have to do too much.

I love him. I am fighting the urge to tell him just yet because I know it's going to scare him, but we're very stable, and he gives me so much attention and reassurance. It's not perfect, I'd like him to be more available to me, but when he's with me, I really feel it.

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