I remember myself as a young woman. Unblemished skin, silk mahogany hair and a slender figure. I yearned for longer legs and would say there was a six-foot supermodel hidden, crouched and stuffed, in this diminutive form, and it wanted to be unleashed. 

I’m an old woman now, with the vagaries of an ageing body and multiple textures in my hair. Inside I’m a blessed spaciousness but nobody gets to see that. All they see is a cadaver of gelatinous pulp and wretched wrinkles that forge chasms across my chin, along with the tufts of dried grass that make their acquaintance with the soft down that has always existed there. Eyebrows that were once slight and refined, now charge their way towards my hairline. Tweezers that only had an outing once in a blue moon, now have a daily excursion in front of the ten times magnification mirror. Twenty-twenty vision got lost somewhere in the ether and can only be seen now with the benefit of hindsight. 

I turn my back to my gorgeous younger self, not wanting to abject myself to what I have lost. My eyes fix only on what lies ahead, even though time and space is short compared to that behind me.

I console myself with the knowledge of how my younger life felt. Scared, scorned, scarified by my imaginings. I lived a life belied by the external visage. The outer skin, pure and faultless, the inside tormented. My mind, scourged by questions and demands, never allowed me to feel good enough. My mind, fearful and hesitant, never allowed me to step forward in confidence. My mind, a battle ground, a war that raged between two selves, never allowed me any compassion for my tortured soul. From that beleaguered mind, I was blind to the beauty of my physical form. 

Some days I pretend I’d give my hind teeth to look like I did again, but I’d not exchange it, not in a million years, for the exquisite tenderness I now harbour deep inside. Unless of course you can offer me a pair of longer legs.