The bare truth

One’s body is almost always covered in life. From the baptismal dress to the swimsuit to the twin set to stockings and veils and everything between.

For all of my life it was impressed on me by all those I knew that dressing in a proper way at all times, whether in the home or outside of it, is the right way to live.

Of late I have seen that dressing is not always something necessary or desirable at all, at home at least.

I read and hear and see so much nowadays of so many people for whom their bodies are a constant and obsessive focus. If I’m honest, my body was never something I thought about especially. Dressing adequately for whatever occasion or situation in which I found myself was usual and what I wore, as long as it fit properly, was never anything more than a necessity. What it contained didn’t cross my mind.

And so, alone yesterday at home while Audrey was out, I stood naked in front of my full-length mirror.

From the top of my head all the way down to my feet I scrutinized every inch of my body.

It would require many pages and a patience in you, reading this, that I would not expect and so, this is a potted version of what I saw.

Hair of an indeterminate shade of brown, naturally curled, unremarkable. My face, lightly lined in a way one would expect for someone of my, some would say middle, age. My blue-grey eyes have a shine and an enquiring look, perhaps only because I was examining them when I was looking. My lips are neither especially full or thin, in between, average. When they smile they soften my eyes and lately, they have been smiling quite a bit. I have a rounded chin. It doesn’t jut out like a film star nor is it undershot. It shows a determination I had never noticed. My nose is small, rounded though not bulbous. One would have to say average too. Ears, a little long but shaped in a pleasing way.

My shoulders are slightly narrow though not especially so. Arms, well, what can be said about arms? They could do with some ‘toning’ I believe it’s called now but that is about all I can say about them.

Breasts. I have always been blessed, if that can be said, with full breasts and large-ish nipples, at least compared to Audrey’s which are my only basis for comparison. They are softer than they once were though not too pendulous. Time will turn them southward no doubt. For now they are as one would expect. I am told they swell in a pleasing manner, if Audrey’s none-too-unbiased opinion is to be believed.

My tummy is not that of a girl anymore. It protrudes a little, though it does not appear particularly large. I suppose you could say it is the tummy of a person who enjoys what she eats but she doesn’t enjoyed it too much. It is comfortable and not overly distended. My doctor has not yet remarked on it and don’t they like to remark when a person reaches a certain age?

I have what are sometimes termed ‘child-bearing hips’ though no child ever tested the veracity of the epithet. They are round and fleshy. Not much more can be said really.

My pubic hair, I do not shave it or otherwise tend it as is the apparent trend nowadays, is dark and unremarkable. It covers what it normally covers and nothing protrudes to be seen outside the thatch of hair. I have not felt the need to examine further, certainly not in a mirror, though I have learned not to say never with such things.

I have solid legs, strong but lacking in tone as I mentioned earlier with my arms. Audrey is encouraging me to begin a regular walking regime and when the weather becomes a little less hostile, I certainly shall. We shall walk together, in the hills and the forest. My thighs meet where they once stood apart. Perhaps exercise will help with this. My knees are unremarkable, they are simply knees. My calves and shins likewise. My feet are short and a little wide and shaped in a pleasant way. I have a pronounced arch which I am told is helpful though I have no idea why.

Behind me, as far as I can see, my back is straight with a slight hunch though not pronounced. My bottom is as round as my hips and though generous, it is not excessively large.

Gazing for so long at myself in a mirror began as highly uncomfortable. After a while it became less so and after a time I quite enjoyed looking. It wasn’t what I expected nor was it particularly surprising. Being the first time I had done it at all, it felt as though I were meeting someone familiar after a long time apart.

I feel less self-conscious now. When Audrey looks at me I don’t wonder anymore what she is seeing. Now I know. I may no longer be the girl I once was but I do now feel comfortable with how I appear. Perhaps in the summer I may visit one of those places with Audrey where one can go about outside unclothed. Let’s see shall we?

Until next we meet,

Kate.

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