Exploring the ruins
“How have you been?” exclaimed Girl A, embracing Girl B as she emerged from the ladies room stall.
I was at an informal college reunion at a bar in New York City. I stood at the sink washing my hands and reapplying lipstick, watching them both out of the corner of my eye.
“I’m great! I’m married,” Girl B exclaimed, extending her left hand for inspection.
“Me too!” said Girl A, repeating the gesture.
“Do you have kids?” asked Girl A.
“Noooo!” affirmed Girl B with a tone that implied Girl A had just asked her if she had herpes or some other equally nasty venereal disease.
“Me neither,” said Girl A assuredly. “They’re just too much work.”
“Yes. And besides,” added Girl B, “they ruin your body.”
At the time, I gave little thought to the remark. In fact, I probably even glanced at their lithe frames accented by Scarlett O’Hara-sized waists and silently agreed. In fact, I could even empathize with them on a certain level. After all, I was one of them not all that long ago.
But since that night, I’ve turned the conversation over in my head and I realize now that it really irritates me.
These last few months and weeks I have put my body through the paces. I learned to swim and have spent hours and hours in the pool. I have run with blisters on my feet and aching knees. I have cycled up never ending hills and in freezing cold rain and wind.
Yes, my body has flaws. A thicker waist. Certain parts aren’t as perky as they once were. I have wrinkles and crinkles and creases where there once was smooth skin. But in 11 days, I will complete my first sprint triathlon.
My “ruined” body—probably stronger than it’s ever been—will be tested and pushed. And it will cross the finish line.
It is not the thinnest it’s ever been. It is not perfect (but was it ever? No.), but it grew two babies—gave life to two little miracles—and continues to perform in ways I didn’t think possible when I was in my early 30s.
If that is what ruined means, I'm OK with that.