gain

There are so many things we as people and I as a double-X have gained with age. People told me of many of these things: experience, understanding, senses of sacrifice, first hand loss. There are also many things I’ve gained no one told me I would.

Photo of a woman's back, with stretch marks by her arm pits.

Photo courtesy of bhumika.B on Flickr. CC-BY.


1) Stretch Marks. Seriously. No one ever told me I’d get stretch marks. Most of them are from rapid weight gain, but I also have some from puberty. Around my breasts and on my hips. I have a few on the backs of my knees from cycling.

2) Body hair. In theory body hair comes with puberty, but I’ve always been a hairy kid. More than once I was asked if I was a werewolf. As a child. When people didn’t know werewolves are in books and not their neighborhoods. As I settle into quarter life, I noticed that I have a few long hairs that grow on my neck and chin. When I first saw one, I freaked out. I thought I was a weirdo and something was wrong with me. Then I began to notice that a lot of women have the occasional long hair growing somewhere we think women don’t have hair. I made a point to look around at people, and a few I knew well enough got asked directly about it.

3) Varicose/spider veins. I have mild, superficial spark looking veins. They are blue and purple and pink. Mostly they’re on my legs, a few light ones around my ankles. I have one on my left side and another pale pale one on my chest. The one on the back of my left thigh is the most prominent, a deep purple. As far as I can tell, this is just a thing. You get them. I got my first one when I was teaching and standing like five hours a day. More developed as I started biking, and then the other ones came along with circus.

A photo of me.

Photo courtesy of madprime on Flickr. CC-BY-SA

4. Lines. This picture is me circa July 4th, 2012. Notice the lines on my forehead and around my mouth. I have lines on my face. They are there. They will not go away. This is just how I am going to look. One day I noticed that when I smiled the lines that formed didn’t go away when I stopped smiling. “At least they’re the good kind,” madprime told me.

Photo of a woman with a broken heart drawn over her heart.

Photo courtesy of Identity Photogr@phy. CC-BY

5) Cellulite. I’m pretty sure there’s no need to explain this one. This lady has some around her stomach according to the description on Flickr.

There’s a loud conversation about how the media gives us unrealistic expectations about how we’re supposed to look. A lot of this focuses on things like the photoshopping of women’s bodies in magazines. Jezebel published before and after photos from a Lady Gaga photoshoot for Vogue, highlighting the way her overall shape was changed. I think these little falsehoods–stretch marks, cellulite, lines, dark circles under eyes–are even worse. I know my body is not some unnatural sleek shape, but I also didn’t know how positively normal all these little things happening to me as I age are.

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Old

When I was younger, my dad worked for larger corporations. I constructed this idea of corporate culture from what I saw him do and from there I had an understanding about being “old” and how it fit into corporate culture.

When he was at MBNA, as a family we would go to various family functions. We would do the MBNA walk for education every year. I forget how far it was, but really, it wasn’t that bad and at the end of it there was ice cream. Where and when I was going to get ice cream was a major concern of mine as a child. Once I cried on a family road trip because I slept through an ice cream stop. Seriously.

Now that I can get ice vegan-substitute-for-cream whenever I want, my driving forces for institutional interaction are different. I don’t go to “family themed” things. I don’t go to most things, unless my co-workers are going and I tag along.

However, with the start of GetFit@MIT looming, I find myself drawn into my first corporate involved and a strange feeling that this is what being an adult it: finding excitement in a social obligation to exercise a certain number of minutes a week.

GetFit@MIT is a program where you form teams. Each individual on the team is responsible for doing a certain number of minutes of exercise a week. Kind of. Because this is MIT, instead of individuals having a flat rate requirement, teams have an average-per-individual requirement. So, for example, if you have five people on your team and the weekly requirement is 150 minutes a person, your team total has to be at least 750 minutes.

The thing is, I’m -excited- about this. I’m totally into the idea of coming up with a humorous and hopefully intense team name. Puns, pop-culture references, and insults to others are all benefits in team names, as far as I’m concerned. “What’s What She Sped,” for an all-ladies racing team has potential. Mostly I’m thinking of pub quiz names that are funny to hear the announcer say.