I can’t leave my house without someone trying to feed me a cheeseburger or asking if I have cancer. As you get older, you learn to take things in stride. Nasty comments about appearances don’t have quite the sting they did in my twenties. Acceptance of my flaws as part of the wonderful, magic package of bullshit that I am didn’t come easy, but it did come. I must admit when the bashing started on one of my Facebook posts, I laughed at first, even made a joke myself. Hell, I own a mirror, y’all. I know what I look like. If I cried every time some green-eyed monster called me a tweaker we wouldn’t have a water shortage. I found it disturbing for another reason, a reason bigger than my non-existent ass. We cry out for equal treatment, yet we can’t treat each other as equals. It is infuriating. We demand a respect we refuse to give to others. How does that work, y’all? It doesn’t. We can’t go around bashing each other and expect to be taken seriously.
You may not know this about me, but I love fashion almost as much as I love my motorcycle. I don’t see that it makes me less of a biker. I don’t see that it makes me more of a biker. I don’t see the point of the whole “real biker” debate, but it does make for some good laughs. I digress. I love to dress it up. It’s who I am. I may have just ridden 600 miles, but I don’t want to look like it. I want to look pretty, dammit. Not for my man, not to impress you, but for me, because it is a fun, creative expression of who I am. Some days, I’m a hippie mama. Some days, I’m a well-dressed hippie mama. Every day, I am me, tall, skinny, ten thousand arms and legs that never move in the same direction at once, a body that is forever stuck in it’s adolescent awkward stage, me. And I like it. I like who I am, the woman I have grown into. It took fifty one years, and I am still a work in progress, but I am happy with the results so far. I know some folks think I should settle down more and quit trying to live like a “damn gypsy” but those people can bite me.
I don’t always like what I see when I look in the mirror. I don’t believe any of us do. I don’t live an Instagram or Facebook ready life, I am not sure anyone does, really. Crohn’s Disease is not nearly as glamourous as I make it look. I wake up with what I call “asshole eye” four days a week. My eye will be so swollen and puffy it looks like I am peering out of my butt. I asked my husband yesterday at OB’s Custom Bike Show how I can be so damn skinny and still have cellulite and a muffin top. He agreed, saying it made him wonder as well. Asshole. I see myself aging rapidly since I became really sick a couple years back and it kind of scares me sometimes, to be honest. I hate the lines around my mouth that come from smoking, but I kind of like the way my smile lines are coming out. I think. I look at this body, not always liking what I see, but it is mine and I take the best care of it I can. I look in the mirror and remind myself on those days what this body can do, has done and will do again.
If you stood naked in front of your mirror what story would your body tell you? Would you look at it for the warrior that it is? Look at what you have taken that body through, what it has survived, how it has thrived. Your body bears the marks of who you are, where you have been. Whether it is short, tall, round, flat, curvy or pear, you own the most magical machine ever known to mankind. You can, if you chose, create more people. That is something to be proud of in and of itself. What about the fact that that same body hauls around a 900lb piece of machinery through its legs, should you not be proud of that, does not the woman pulling up on the bike next to yours deserve the same respect? If you both stood face to face stripped bare, would you not see that we are all simply women who have earned these bodies, whatever shape they are in, the hard way? Would you finally understand that we all have a common goal, that our strength is in our bonds? Or would you judge her for the size of her hips, the color of her eyes, the shape of her breasts?
The ol’ man was furious as we rode home. “These girls don’t know you. They don’t know your story!” The truth is, all the less than sweet comments from my “wind sisters” did was make me proud of this ol’ rag tag lookin’ mess. I’ve survived, baby. At this point the only thing that can kill me is my own death. This body has kept on going and I am damn proud of that.
I don’t know your story, but I think a few of you are just a bit like me. Doing the best you can to be good to yourself and the people around you. I think some of you are probably struggling with things that would put this girl under and some of you are enjoying the most joyous part of your life right now. I don’t know your story, but I am your wind sister and I will be here to support you, to encourage you to love yourself and the body you are in, to love the sister next to you just as much. We can’t do this alone, ladies. We are all we’ve got.