Residual Self-Image

You know the bit in The Matrix when Neo’s been freed, and then they put him into the loading program and he’s got hair again and Morpheus says it’s his residual self-image?

Mine is apparently stuck at age twelve.

In my head I am both more tan and more blonde than I am in reality. This has nothing to do with our culture’s valorization of those qualities — at least I don’t think so — it’s that I used to be such a person, and my hindbrain hasn’t quite gotten the memo that years have passed since then.

As a kid, I spent literally hours a day in the pool. I did swim team in the morning; I played around in the water during the afternoon. And fortunately the Scandinavian genes did not win out, because I tanned instead of burning to a crisp. In college, I worked on digs for a few weeks each summer; my first two years of grad school, I took outdoor jobs for the entirety of the season. I like being outside; I like getting sunshine. I often don’t realize how little I do that anymore. So when I see a photo of myself, my reaction is generally “good GOD what happened?” For some reason, looking in a mirror doesn’t do it; it’s not until I look at a picture that I realize how ridiculously pale I’ve become. Okay, sure, yay for less risk of skin cancer — but being tan makes me happy, because it tells me I’ve been in the sun, and the sun is a major source of joy in my life.

Where the hair is concerned, it’s more genetics than lifestyle (though the lack of sunlight has some effect). Like my mother and brother, I started out very blonde, and have gotten darker over time. Which is fine . . . except that again, my brain hasn’t caught up. I’ve only just wrapped my mind around the fact that I can no longer call myself even a dark blonde. My hair is brown, folks — which will come as no surprise to anybody who’s seen me, but apparently I’m a bit slow on the uptake. In my head, I’m a twenty-nine-year-old version of my twelve-year-old self.

To a lesser degree, it extends to other things, too. Most of them ballet-related. What do you mean, I can’t drop cold into the full front splits anymore? (I can still get there, but it takes warming up. I haven’t used that as the start of my stretching since I was sixteen.) My physical therapist had me doing one-foot toe-raises on the edge of a step, so my heel sinks below the horizontal, and I was appalled to discover that three sets of fifteen was (and still is) WAY beyond my capabilities; I’m up to three sets of ten, and that’s progress from where I started. My days of pointe, they are far behind me. But sometimes I forget that.

I know I’m not the only one with this kind of discrepancy between self-image and reality. We mostly hear about it in the context of weight, though: either the anorexic who sees herself as still fat, or the legions of women who feel they ought to be five or ten or twenty pounds lighter than they are. I’d like to hear about the other aspects, the weird little points where your brain is still stuck in the past, or an alternate reality that never truly existed. What’s your residual self-image?

0 Responses to “Residual Self-Image”

  1. kendokamel

    From time to time, I still imagine myself with a curve in my lower back (the kind that’s supposed to be there, not the one I got from the scoliosis) and able to put the bottom of my foot against the back of my head.

    But, ever since my back surgery in 1992 (when they fused some vertebrae and screwed titanium rods down either side of my spine), that just hasn’t happened. (Nor will it ever, again. (; )

    Growing up, I had terrible self-image. I always pictured myself as ugly – and looking back at all of those pictures of me in the 80s, with the frizzy hair and horrifying glasses, it’s not difficult to see why. Comparing that to pictures of me, today, I don’t think I really am ugly – but whenever I go out in public (even when I’m heavily costumed for dance or what-have-you), I feel as if people are really seeing some sort of freak when they look at me.

    • Marie Brennan

      ’80’s fashion made us all look bad. <g>

      Tongue-in-cheek comment aside, I’m sorry you grew up with that image of yourself; it’s terrible to experience that kind of self-doubt just by going out in public. And I hear you about the medical changes: that kind of thing is traumatic in both a physical and a psychological sense. Even when you know it was the right thing to do for your well-being, it’s still hard to adjust.

  2. moonandserpent

    I don’t think mine would surprise anyone.

    • Marie Brennan

      Not since you began talking about it more openly, no. I admit I was surprised when I first heard, but that was just because you hadn’t said much about it (within my hearing, anyway) before.

      I do keep my fingers crossed for you getting to where you want to be.

      • moonandserpent

        I was incredibly private about it for a long, long time but as the situation got worse and worse, and as it looked more and more likely that I was going to transistion, privacy was a luxury I didn’t think I could afford.

        Especially coming from someone paid to write about transparency 😛

        I’m not happy where I am. I’m doing well, but its a cheap copout – taking the path of least resistance. Most days, I can’t look in the mirror in the morning because of that residual self image. I get a brief jab of ontological shock at seeing this very familiar (and dead handsome) face staring at me when I know that it’s not mine.

        Every morning.

        Since I was… ummm… wee. For as long as I can remember, my days have begun by not recognizing the stranger in the mirror.

        • Marie Brennan

          I realized, after I posted, that what I was talking about (the discrepancy between image and self) was probably the same issue trans people deal with; my own personal examples are “toes dipped in the water” rather than “swimming in the deep end” level engagement, but it does help me a little bit in understanding what that feels like.

          I really do hope the path of least resistance ends up being a temporary measure, that eventually leads you to a place where you can become the person you see in your head.

          • moonandserpent

            Well, I can’t speak for all transpeople, just this one, but yeah it’s like that for me. Plug me into the matrix and I guarantee you won’t get a burly 250lb guy on the other end.

            (It always surprised me, since Larry had already begun presenting as Linda by the time they were in production, that there were not any visible transpeople in the Matrix sequels.)

            And it’s unlikely I’ll ever find a way for my head and body to match. As my doctor says, I’m too successful at passing as male. And I honestly can’t afford the treatments even if I did hit my something’s-gotta-give-limit.

          • moonandserpent

            Sorry if I got a little heavy there… this has been on my mind a lot.

          • Marie Brennan

            It’s affording them at some point in the future that I’ve got my fingers crossed for. You may not be able to actively hope for that, because you have to get through your day — but your friends are free to do it for you.

            And no need to apologize for your comments; as I said, I realized after I posted that this could go in more serious directions than I originally thought.

  3. d_aulnoy

    Hm … well, for the longest time, I had pretty severe body dysmorphia, and thought I was much larger than I apparently am. It took V. dragging me to not one, but two fancy dept. stores to get resized before I’d accept my measurements … and when she triumphantly said, “Someone with your band vs. cup size CAN’T be fat: you’re just curvy!” I promptly hyperventilated.

    Ridiculous, right? But apparently, I had something invested in that self-image.

    In terms of other things? I believe a strong jaw is a mark of character, and in photos, I’m always unpleasantly surprised by my lack thereof (in my defense, it’s not an angle one tends to see oneself at). Um … what else? Ah, yes. In my head, I am still and forever a redhead. Perhaps someday I will have the free time to make will conform to reality?

    • d_aulnoy

      Oh! And a recently realized one: I adore how I look in corsets, but it’s rare that I wear one as it’s intended – as an undergarment. Having tried that recently, I was taken aback by how little difference there was, visually, between my waist @28 inches and my waist @25 inches. Amazing how much of it is all in our heads ….

      • Marie Brennan

        Oh, see, for me a corset makes a HUGE difference visually. I am short-waisted, so even a small change in measurement gives me inward curvature that isn’t there naturally.

    • Marie Brennan

      . . . well, if it’s any comfort, I had to go look for pictures of you to check my “wait, you mean you DON’T have a strong jaw?” reaction. So you project the character just fine, whatever your actual mandibles look like. 🙂

      Re: hair — “still” a redhead implies you were once. Was that a dye job you really loved, or your natural color that has faded, or what?

      Oh, that’s another one for my own list: I still have green eyes. Which I do, a little, but the self-image again goes back to when I was twelve and had tinted lenses that made them EMERALD green.

  4. mrissa

    Interestingly, it’s not my self-image that’s stuck with me as a blonde, it’s my mom’s image of me. I haven’t been a real blonde since I was 6, but Mom still thinks of me as her little blonde girl.

    I also built in the idea that my body would change a lot more over time than it has, so I sort of have the reverse of residual self-image stuff so far. Mom kept telling me I shouldn’t get my engagement ring resized to fit (we got it on a really humid hot day in Tampa, so it fit me for a few hours once), because I would get older and gain weight. That was 13 years ago. I still have not gained weight.

    • Marie Brennan

      You do not look like the kind of metabolism that is going to gain any significant amount of weight — not without serious effort, anyway. Especially not with your exercise regimen.

      Parents probably get a pass on that whole residual image thing; to some degree, we’re always going to be their little girls or boys. 🙂

  5. la_marquise_de_

    I’m 5′ 2″ in my head. I was a tiny, 5’2″ UK size 8 (that’s a 4 in US sizes)until I was 17. And then overnight, I’m this huge great lumbering 5’8″ thing and UK size 12. I hate my height. It’s not me.
    Also, my natural hair colour is dark blue. I don’t care what the genetics say. MY real self has blue hair.

    • Marie Brennan

      Growth spurts, man. They mess with your head. I am not what you would call well-endowed, but there was a period of time as a teenager when I got very annoyed with how large my breasts were getting, because I was a ballet dancer and they just got in the way.

      There’s an impulse, of course, to say something to you about how it’s fine to be tall. But I’m sure you know that, and I’m just as sure it won’t make a dent in the part of your brain that still thinks of you as 5’2″. Any more than reminding myself that my brown hair is perfectly attractive and natural will change the fact that I still think I’m blonde. This is not a thing of logic.

      Also, my natural hair colour is dark blue.

      Hee! I like that one. It’s a great example of how this doesn’t just happen because society promotes a certain image or we get stuck in our own past; sometimes you just have this idea, and it’s part of you even though there’s no logical reason why.

      • kendokamel

        OH! Speaking of “growth-spurts”, when I had my back surgery, I gained 3.5″ inches in height in six hours. I went in at 4’10 and came out a little over 5’1″. (They partially straightened out my spine – without scoliosis I might have been 5’4″!)

        Talk about messing with the head – it took a couple of weeks to get used to everything – seeing stuff at a new height, noticing that my shirts were all suddenly “shorter”…

        • Marie Brennan

          Oh wow. I know what a difference it makes just putting on heels; imagining sudden a change to my actual body . . . I’m surprised you adjusted that fast!

    • diatryma

      A friend of mine thinks of her hair as naturally blue. The shade may change, but even when she had it dyed back to natural, she left blue streaks in.

      • Marie Brennan

        I no longer feel weird about the fact that one of my (unpublished) novels features a race of humans whose hair is blue. (Why is their hair blue? Because they showed up in my head that way.)

  6. beccastareyes

    I think I look about how I do in college. I gained a lot of weight once I started cooking and buying my own groceries, rather than living on dorm food, and it still amazes me. I also forget I walk less than I used to, so I get winded more easily.

    Also noticed how clothing changes my self-image. Put me in a blazer and button-up shirt and I feel more businesslike and… well, attractive in a confident, powerful way. Put me in gym clothing and get me moving and I get the same kind of confidence and power. Despite the fact I’m an uncoordinated weakling, I still feel like a dancer.

    • Marie Brennan

      Clothing has a huge effect, on yourself as well as on the people who see you. Even if you don’t look in a mirror, it feels different, and it makes you move differently, all of which has an effect on your self-perception. All I have to do is put my hair up in a bun and my brain kicks over into ballet mode.

  7. pathseeker42

    I’ve had some experience with this, but sometimes my brain doesn’t change what other people look like. If there was someone I looked up to (in both senses) as a kid, my brain still registers them as taller than me now that I’m an adult. It was quite the shock when I visited my old tae kwon do school during college, looked in the mirror wall at the end of the room and realized I was taller than my instructor.

    • Marie Brennan

      Oh, yes! An old high school friend of mine lives out here now, and her family recently came to visit; I was gobsmacked to see that her little brother is no longer eight years old. Of course he wasn’t, that was ten years ago . . . but I’m not sure I’ll ever successfully update my image of him. (The funniest part is that my friend, his sister, feels the same way.)

      I have no idea what my height was or is relative to my old dance instructors. They’re all taller than me, whatever the physical reality might be.

  8. j_cheney

    I’m Hispanic…and thin. I didn’t realize until first grade that I wasn’t like all the kids I knew (in El Paso).

    I’m still sometimes startled by the Scotch/German/Norwegian giantess that I’ve become…

    • Marie Brennan

      Oh, that’s a fascinating example. It says interesting things about the way you, as a minority among Hispanics, were accepted into the group: clearly you didn’t suffer a lot of early mockery for being different, or else you would have been more aware of it. So if a Hispanic or black or Asian kid, etc, is similarly accepted into a majority-white group, they still might have self-image issues skewed toward whiteness, not because their appearance has been denigrated (which is the factor I’m familiar with), but simply because they identify with the people they see every day. I knew about that to some extent, but your example really brings it into focus.

      Interesting. Thinky thoughts. Thanks for sharing.

      • j_cheney

        I don’t recall any discrimination as a child. Might be rosy glasses there, but I suspect my school was simply well mixed.

        Also, the assorted northern genes did win out in my case, and during my years of swim team I burned…and burned…and burned…(continue ad nauseam.)

        • Marie Brennan

          While out running errands, I figured out a better way to phrase what I was trying to get at: I knew kids could have a reaction of, “I wish I looked more like the people around me” — but I didn’t really get until now how it could be, “what do you mean I don’t look like the people around me?”

          • j_cheney

            That was it, exactly. I distinctly recall the day when I realized that I didn’t look like Imelda, I looked like Janis…

  9. desperance

    I’ve just been talking about this! In my head, I have a beard. I’ve had a beard since I was nineteen; of course I have a beard.

    Apparently, none of my friends think I have a beard. By them, these days I’m just stubbly.

    • Marie Brennan

      Heh. That’s one that never would have occurred to me, what with facial hair not being a part of my own daily life.

      I think deliberate stubble counts as a beard style these days, anwyay.

  10. hawkwing_lb

    In my head, I’m the flatchested kid I was when I was twelve to seventeen or so, tall and not exactly weedy, but not all that broad at the shoulder, either.

    I’m always surprised when I look in a mirror and realise I have breasts. And upper body muscle. In the last few years, I grew what sometimes seems like the shoulders of a tank.

    • Marie Brennan

      When they give you those talks as a kid about “how your body will change,” they always seem to leave out things like shoulders and muscle . . . .

      • hawkwing_lb


        (Not that it happened altogether by accident. But I was UK size 14 for a decade, and within the last two years, I’ve got to the point where size 18 feels a little tight across the shoulders.)

        • Marie Brennan

          Have you been lifting weights, or what?

          (Asks the woman with no shoulders to speak of. No, seriously, they go like this: /. There’s a reason I don’t carry a purse; I have nowhere to put the strap.)

  11. diatryma

    In my head, my hair is shorter than it is– not by much, but some. It’s also a more uniform pale blonde. I am thinner, but it’s more that I am prettier and thus have less going on under my chin; I generally look more like I do in high-school pictures of myself. I am tall and tall and tall, and I am underweight. I have small breasts and they never show.

    In reality, my hair is long but not even and will return to in-my-head length in the next week, when I get it trimmed. I’ve gained thirty pounds in about three years, but I still watch out for heat waves and exertion. I have a couple low-cut tanks that I wore and thought, “Oh, this is how women make their cleavage look attractive!”

    A lot of the facial stuff is just that I don’t see myself very often. I don’t hear myself nearly as often as I hear my mental voice, either, so that’s sometimes a surprise.

    • Marie Brennan

      The voice thing: YES. Boy howdy, do I not sound like I think I do.

      • hakamadare

        yup, this is probably the most glaring difference for me. i start to cringe anticipatorily when i’m about to hear a recording of my speaking voice, because my own recorded voice sounds to me like that of a toddler: a bit overprecise, fussy, warbling.

        what’s even worse is that hearing my speaking voice really makes me worry about what my singing voice sounds like; i haven’t recorded myself singing frequently enough to know, and i get so much pleasure from how my singing voice sounds from the inside that i’m really scared to ruin that by discovering how awful it may sound from the outside.


  12. Anonymous

    Residual other-image

    Of course my sister is blond, what do you mean she isn’t?
    Oh yeah, that’s right, she hasn’t really be blond for oh, maybe thirty years.
    But my image of her as a sister in terms of her hair color is way back there before her hair started darkening up. Nevermind that she’s grown up, has two kids, etc. She’s never colored her hair, so her husband doesn’t even think of her as a blond.

    • Marie Brennan

      Re: Residual other-image

      For a moment I thought this was my brother commenting. <g> (Until I got to the details that clearly weren’t referring to me.)

      I didn’t think when I made the post about the way we do this with other people, too — but it’s true.

  13. sartorias

    In my head I’m still a size three blonde, without squirrel pouch cheeks and a sagging chin.

    • Marie Brennan

      . . . is it bad of me that the minute you said that, it created a mental image of you with your cheeks stuffed cartoon-full of acorns?

      (And you look so very startled in the mental image, too.)

      Anyway, on a more serious note, yeah — I can already tell where wrinkles are starting to form (the downside of all that sunshine), and I’m having to mentally prep for the changes that age will bring. I don’t want to be one of those people who resorts to ridiculous measures to try and look twenty my whole life . . . but I can see why people do it.

    • Marie Brennan

      I’m always nervous about humour coming through on the screen, so coming back to add: I certainly don’t see you the way you described. Which is why the cartoon version in my head is funny. 🙂

  14. latvianchick

    In my head I’m short. Now, at 5’6″ I’m not exactly TALL in real life. But all through school I was the shortest or second-shortest kid in class, and it shocks me sometimes to find that I’m actually taller than other people. It makes me feel gangly.

    My school experiences were, of course, in Russia and Latvia. And the stereotype of tall Slavic / Baltic women is totally true. I was absolutely the runt of the litter.

    • Marie Brennan

      And I felt like a relative giant when I went to Japan. It’s all in the comparisons, innit?

      I’m curious — do you know the average height for women over there? Last I checked, in the U.S. it was right around 5’5″ or 5’6″.

      • latvianchick

        Best I can find, the average height for women in Russia is not much more than that – 5’6″. Which is a bit puzzling, but there we go.

  15. ninja_turbo

    I have two strong residual self-images that aren’t the me of now:

    One is the seventeen-year-old me, who was substantially heavier, with bad acne and thoroughly unimpressive hair. I don’t as much see myself as that version as the rest of my self-image is strongly informed by having been heavier for most of a decade as a teenager, mostly up until I got to college and then especially when I did Semester at Sea.

    Which is the other — From the beginning of Semester at Sea to the end, I dropped at least twenty pounds, shaved my head and got a ton of sun. The me that I was at the end of SAS was the slimmest and tannest I’ve ever been, and it was awesome. That self-image runs from SAS through when I was in Oregon and dancing tango all the rutting time (something I cannot do these days).

  16. gollumgollum

    This is weird enough that i almost feel strange admitting it. Because in real life? I’m hobbit-sized (okay, tall-for-a-hobbit), hobbit-shaped, and female.

    But in my head? I look exactly like Christian Bale, and have since i first saw Empire of the Sun.

    Back then i saw myself as a boy; now i’ve sort of adjusted to the fact that i’m female, but i still expect my face to have that high cheekboned boy look. Hell, i still expect to have Christian Bale’s head on a female body. And it works. Much like i don’t recognize the person in the mirror.

    (If you’re curious, this is why i felt so strongly that Christian Bale had to be the casting for Thraxx–because he’s who i saw in my head when i put the costume on.)

    • Marie Brennan

      Bale as Thraxx was never an unreasonable casting; he could totally play an Ailill bastard. IIRC, the quibbling was over whether Bale was also cast as somebody else (can’t recall who), and that’s just a matter of players staking territory, so to speak. And if you had that kind of identification with him from an early age, I totally see why you made the connection later.

  17. octavia_b

    This is a fascinating thought. I spent my entire childhood being the tallest in the class (taller even than the boys) and was always told I was going to be a ‘big’ woman. It’s taken me years to realise that I’m actually quite petite. I am 5’4″ and an Australian size 8 (US 4). I spent a long time wearing clothes that were too big for me because my brain just didn’t accept how small I was. I look back at photos of myself as a late teen and think “I was tiny. Why did I feel like such a heffalump?”

    • Marie Brennan

      I’ve heard that kind of story before, girls who got their growth spurt early but didn’t keep growing later, who went from being tall (relative to others) to being short (ditto). It can definitely mess with you.

  18. pentane

    When I was 20, I spent 2-3 hours in the gym and was slightly heavier than I am now (very different weight distribution, as that was more than 20 years ago).

    I’ve forgotten about how hard it was to find clothes then and the ten thousand things you have to deal with when off the rack is too small (I’m also 6’4″), but I still see myself that way.

    I’m also not in denial about being grey/white, but I don’t see myself as having grey/white hair.

    • Marie Brennan

      Good phrasing there — I’m not in denial about my hair color, either; I just don’t see myself that way.

      As for the muscle thing, yeah, I imagine that’s a bit like my residual ballet self.

  19. prosewitch

    Most of my residual image dates back to when I went through puberty and went from being a stick-thin kid who played soccer all the time to a woman with hips and thighs that stuck out. I felt awkward and had no idea how to relate to my body, since it looked different in everything I would’ve normally worn (pants, shorts, and T-shirts). The development on my lower half was not matched by similar proportions on my upper half, although I am active enough to be grateful that I’ve never had large breasts.

    It’s taken over a decade of dancing, modeling, and having confidence-boosting experiences (e.g. wearing clothing that makes me look/feel good, being found sexually attractive by others) to help me get over the feeling of being ungainly, fat, and too feminine in all the wrong places, and even now, I sometimes regress to that time of low self-esteem.

    • Marie Brennan

      I, too, was stick-thin — to the point where I see photos of myself as a kid and wonder how I made it to adulthood without snapping in half. Puberty was a bit of a shocker, yeah. >_<

  20. aulus_poliutos

    I’m one of the rare women who sees herself a bit thinner in front of the mirror. It’s always when I see photos of me that I say, damn, you should really lose a few pounds.

    I can’t jump onto a galloping horse these days, and I need a leg up when I ride Roman style (different saddle, no stirrups). Somehow the fact that most of the men also need a leg up despite being younger doesn’t really help. I’ve grown stiff and I hate that even more than those extra pounds.

    • Marie Brennan

      I’m kind of with you on the mirror/photo thing. Photos in generally are weird, actually.

      Interesting about the Roman riding thing; makes me envision lots of middle-aged Roman generals needing a leg up, too. 🙂

  21. elizaeffect

    I was a sports queen as a kid. Felt like I was best or second-best at everything I tried. All the kids would move back when I came up to the plate in kickball, because I was the freaking Babe Ruth of the playground.

    Then I hit puberty. Suddenly I couldn’t do chin-ups or climb ropes anymore. I worked really hard to keep up in soccer, but by age fourteen I was the worst player on the team, reviled as an anchor around their necks. In the last ten years I fell out of sports entirely (except for intermittent karate) and developed a disability. Karate is great to keep me moving around but I don’t pretend that I’m even half as good as I was as a teenager, even when I was constantly growing and having to readjust my reflexes.

    In spite of all evidence to the contrary, I have been known to threaten to beat up 7-foot-tall muscular men. Because in my head, I can punch through walls. It’s how I cope.

    • Marie Brennan

      The disability thing throws an extra wrench in the gears, yeah. I’m glad you’re able to keep doing karate, though; being able to keep that self-image is in some ways just as important as the actual physical activity.

  22. d_c_m

    Oh but this is a good post!!!

    I have always struggled with how I look. I have always been big. I hit full maturity at 12 – and from then on successfully passed for the ages of 16-24. No kidding. I used to get in to bars without being carded. I used to have classmates in middle school ask me if I was a teacher. And I used to have college boys hit on me because they thought I was 18-22.

    This leads up to supporting the idea that I have always felt fat and 40.

    Now that I am fat and in my forties, 46 to be exact, well I find I actually am what I always felt I was. 🙂 This does make me giggle at times.

    I used to always wish that I would grow-up to be thin and beautiful. I still have sorrow that that won’t happen now. But I also feel that getting older is not new to me and thus is perhaps less traumatic for me than others.

    Oh and my body has changed since back surgery. I am looking forward to the day when I when I can walk heel-toe and NOT have any pain at all.

    • Marie Brennan

      You always struck me as being more comfortable with aging than most women are — which I think is a good thing, in case text doesn’t make that clear. We get taught to struggle so hard against it, I kind of have to applaud you for being sane about it. (Though I can understand that feeling like you’re 40 when you’re 20 might not be the best thing in the world.)

      • d_c_m

        Awww, thanks!!

        And hey, it makes me happy when I see Helen Mirren and Dame Judi Dench get great roles and media coverage. Let’s add Meryl Streep to that as well. 🙂

        Yes, women are given a lot of grief about getting old. So we should take the experience into our own hands and realize, hey, it’s kinda fun. 🙂

        Be well.

  23. ailaes

    As a kid, I was very much a tomboy: Running around, riding my bike, falling out of trees, doing the spin thing on bars with my knee, etc.

    Then came my mid-twenties, and between falling over backward on a trampoline, and banging against a wall at work, my scoliosis kicked in and my knee went to hell. I’m only now starting to realize that while I can be active again, I can’t run around like I’m ten anymore and not expect consequences. Which I do forget at times.

    In my mind I’m taller than I am, mainly because I’ve been wearing heeled boots since I was a teenager. I’m 5’6″, yet in my mind I’m more like 5’8″ – 5’9″.

    I also see myself being skinner than I am. For my height I’m at a healthy weight, yet still have a bit of a tummy. I’m starting to look into Pilates and Yoga, to tone up and also get some of my flexibility back.

    • Marie Brennan

      There’s been a lot of comments touching on injuries and disability, which makes a lot of sense. Even under normal aging conditions, we generally can’t run around like we’re ten anymore and not expect consequences*; trauma really magnifies that.

      *Excepting any of my readers who may happen to be ten.

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