Before you get all “no way” and “shut up” on me, hear me out. I have made a solid effort at putting on a few pounds this off season. Solid. For one thing, it’s time to just eat what I want when I want for awhile. For another thing, I needed to completely recover and reset my body systems. Rest is good for that but so is adding a few pounds.
Back to the shower. I looked at the side of my leg and thought – AH! What is THAT!? I looked at it. Looked at it some more and realized to myself that in the past few weeks, two of doing nothing at all, one of calling 40 minutes of swimming as my “training”, I purchased myself a Louis Vitton sized set of saddle bags.
For those of you that don’t know (men), the saddle bag is a special place on a woman’s body along the side of your leg where the butt meets the thigh. No matter how much you swim, bike or run it is always there to some degree. You can do all the lateral lunges and leg lifts you want but the bags will remain.
I think women have just accepted that it is yet another part of their body – like it or not – that they have to deal with. Also in this category would be ovaries and bunions. I understand the purpose of ovaries and I realize how I have made my own bunions. But saddlebags? Where did they come from? And why?
I look down again and wonder - what exactly is a saddle bag? Is it an extension of my thigh or an overgrowth of my ass? I had to find out. So I pick my ass cheeks up and realized that it was an overgrowth of the ass or a sudden drooping. Kind of like a fallen arch. My ass just fell. A few pounds.
A reason for yet another bra in my drawer. Or perhaps this is the point at which one decides it’s time to buy a girdle. Maybe this is what happens when you get old. And I’m convinced I’m getting old. It really is happening. I was in the airport this morning and thought it was really, really hot. So hot I had to ask the clerk behind the counter in a store: is it hot in here? She said it was but that it was also probably her hot flashes. I said that maybe I was starting to have hot flashes too. She said I was too young but I’m guessing she thought I was 12 when really I’m….closer to 60.
Really. Do the math. I am.
So first today I started hot flashing and then I discovered I have these new saddlebags. Right now I’m into that whole reusable bag thing at the grocery store so maybe there is a use for my saddlebags too. So I thought about the evolutionary purpose of saddlebags. Why do women need them? What purpose do they serve?
I know it’s an extra storage of fat and beyond the child bearing reasons there had to be something. Babies don’t crave your saddle bags, know what I mean? Imagine myself cave woman walking around with saddlebags…..wait a minute. I’ve got it. I wonder if it’s an extra reserve in case your next meal doesn’t come back. Let’s say your caveman mate goes out to kill something big and meaty but gets eaten alive by that meaty thing. You, as a woman, could exist on berries and roots but what about the fatty meat? That is when you start dipping into your saddle bag reserve.
Am I right? Or am I right?
I was so glad about my new theory because earlier in the day I had come home from a weekend away to find no food in the house. Let me back up. I called Chris to ask if there was food in the house and he said yes – then listed what we had; peppers, spinach, chicken and an avocado. Perfect! All of my favorites.
What he failed to mention was that the peppers were wrinkly, the chicken was canned, the spinach was ok but the avocado – that was just a pile of green mush being held in by a leathery outside. Until I picked it up and it exploded in mushy greenness all over the counter.
There was no (edible) food in the house.
What to do? I guess what I didn’t realize was that I had all I needed right at the bottom of my ass. My saddlebags. I could have fed off of them for the rest of the day.
In addition to the hot flashes, the sudden-onset-saddlebags (actual medical condition), I’ve just had one of those weeks where I feel like when I look in the mirror I look old. Like all of the wrinkles popped out in a week and all of a sudden I realized I have lines on my cheeks from where I smile. Seems like everything popped out in the past 7 days – lines, wrinkles and saddlebags.
For a day I tried to make a concerted effort not to frown, raise my eyebrows, look surprised or even smile. In preservation of my face I decided to be emotionless. Because all of that emotion is starting to show. There are two lines on my forehead that won’t go away. I tried to rub them away, get more sleep or moisturize them to death. But no dice. They were (are) still there.
Aging, gaining weight, is this what I have to look forward to in my post-athletic life? It’s not much fun to stand critical in front of a mirror every morning looking at lines and bags. And if I absolutely MUST get a new bag can it not be something made by Timbuktu? That’s much more functional. All of this makes me wish I didn’t have a mirror. Put this on husband’s list of things to do – remove all mirrors from house.
Because if we didn’t look we wouldn’t evaluate ourselves and if there was no evaluation we’d all be right. It’s a test we’d all pass and we’d all be pretty. Yes put us in front of ourselves and the inner critic starts to talk loud. Really loud. Too loud.
Shut up already
When I was in Seattle, I was watching the news with Pete and Melissa. At home we have some crummy old television so I have no idea how the world looks in high definition. On their fancy high definition television I realized we all look like crap! Holy too much detail! When did newscasters get so wrinkly? When did everything on Kathy Lee’s face start pointing up? It was enough to make me want to spend the rest of my life indoors with SP80 wearing a straw hat.
To protect myself from household bulbs.
But how ridiculous is that. I told Melissa that I would wear my furrow lines, angry lines, happy lines and sun tan lines on my face proudly one day (I guess one day starting this week). Because each line etches a memory of a story that I own. Each line in my forehead tells a tale of determination on a bike, each line around my eyes was built from focusing on a point far off in the distance that I ran towards on a hard run, each tightening of my skin from dryness is linked to yet another lap in the pool. I am proud of all of these lines.
Melissa said that we value so much the way people look that no one has any character – because we don’t value character any more. She was right. I can think of some women I know who spend a lot of time getting really pretty and keeping themselves pretty but sit down to have a conversation with them and it’s like talking to a wall. You can keep your pretty porcelain faces, my face one day will be full of character and emotion. Of living life without holding back. All of it will be right there boasting that I tried to live life to the fullest – even if that means being out in full sun.
And I guess this is how I should feel about the newly acquired saddlebags. I will say – there lies a few weeks of letting go. Of letting down my guard and letting anything in the form of chocolate, peanut butter, sweet and delectable into my mouth. Followed by a big old yum and when will I get more.
I suppose these are the consequences to enjoying yourself. You grow old, you get wrinkles, you find grey hairs, you develop saddlebags. But it’s not stopping me. I’m still going to live life full and eat until I’m more than full for a few more weeks. And to celebrate I’m going to put a big old Prada stamp on the side of my thighs and treat my ass to the best girdle money can buy.
When I finally do show up at masters again, they'll all be asking me where I got my new designer bags. I'm not telling them. I can't reveal all the secrets of my training plan.