Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Fresh from Florida

The parents flew us down to Florida for a week, which was really hard to come back from.  We spent most of the time in their gated retirement community swimming, sleeping and sunning.  It was a very welcome break after the craziness of this past semester.

About mid-week I noticed an absence of body consciousness on my part.  We were spending about two hours a day at the pool, and I was running around in sleeveless outfits the rest of the time.  While I go sleeveless in my usual haunts, I still have an undercurrent of anxiety whenever I do.  I feel conspicuous, and somehow daring (even if I know on some level that no one actually cares one way or the other if they can see my shoulders).  I suspect there was something about the age group in the community (55+).  When a gaggle of teenagers visiting their grandparents came to the pool to show off their bikinis, I would feel the anxiety creeping up again. 

There was something about the older crowd that made me feel free of body judgement.  Even though most of them seemed to be on Weight Watchers, I really felt that their criticism didn't extend beyond their own bodies.  They would tell friends they looked great, but the compliment seemed to arise from their clothing or health, rather than their weight. Is this a generational thing?  A reordering of priorities and prejudices as people age?  Or is it a false assumption on my part?  After all, feeling safe and being safe are not the same thing.  Has anyone else experienced a similar feeling?

If you're ever in the Sarasota area in winter, go see the Lipizzaner training sessions.  They're free (a hat is passed at the end) and you get to see how the young horses learn the various moves.  You also provide an audience for them to get used to clapping and visual distraction.  It's a much more intimate way to experience the Lipizzaners, and it can get really exciting if they're feeling fractious!

You also have no idea what grapefruit is supposed to taste like until you've had it right off the tree.  Who knew that it should be more sweet than bitter?  Well, other than people who live in the south of course :-)

If you're gluten-intolerant and flying Delta Airlines (maybe any airline) consider bringing a small bottle of handsoap on the plane.  The soap in the airplane bathroom said that it left a "coating of wheat proteins on your hands for long lasting moisture."  I've written the airline to complain. 

I hope everyone continues to have a safe winter season, wherever you are!


Dinaya Rose said...

As someone who is now 43. I know not that old. but hey....

I can tell you that i think that in general as you age you care much less about things like the body, how people act about it etc. For me its hard because the majority of people I hang out with are at least 10 years younger than me. Funny when I was younger it was the other way around. LOL

I think that its really hard because society programs us to think thin, and because of that we look in the mirror and even when we are thin we see fat. Then we start to program ourselves. I hate my arm flab, I hate my legs, I hate my shoulders etc... and than we have a much harder time getting past our own self judgment than the ones placed on us by society. Just my opinion and opinions will very.

I am really glad you had a good time at your Mom and dads. I miss them so much!

And OMG do I need some sort of vacation from reg daily life.

I would NEVER have guessed that soap would have gluten in it. Thank you for passing on that info.. OMG that is terrible. I have become so much more Gluten aware now that you guys need to be that I notice things all the time that say gluten free. But I never would have thought to check soaps. Will do from now on though.

Hugs to you. Miss you

alice said...

WOW - I never checked the soap on Delta flights. Thanks for the catch, and for writing to complain, since that sucks!

One thing that I've noticed while living in FL (in Sarasota, oddly enough), is that the heat means that body shaming takes different forms here. Sleeveless tops are just tops, and since it's so common to see all different types of bodies wearing 'revealing' clothing, it's less of a Statement.

I still feel some body fascism, it's just usually around someone trying to wear something 'too sexy' (and it's not just weight-based - there's definitely some discomfort among the younger crowd with older folks who are in the bar scene).