Nudity. I don’t like to contemplate it anymore. Oh, I’m not philosophically opposed to it in any way, shape, or form – except the way, shape and form that I personally inhabit these days. Menopause and time have morphed me into someone I don’t recognize. Especially naked.

After my morning shower, I look in the mirror and I literally scramble to put on my clothes. I try to view myself from limited vantage points when confronted by my reflection. I’ve become an expert at the millisecond glance. Things have shifted, slipped, and padded in ways that I never envisioned. I’m equal parts fascinated and horrified.

Some days, I think to myself "oh what the heck, this is what a fifty-something woman looks like. I look ‘good for my age’. " (At one time, I thought the phrase "looks good for her age" was insulting, now it seems like a legitimate compliment.) Luckily, if my husband notices that I’m not the svelte young thing I once was, well, bad eyesight and good sense keep him from remarking on it.

Recently, I was lamenting (sounds slightly more highbrow than whining) to my massage/healing practitioner about how I want to lose weight. "No!" he commanded loudly. "No! You’re healthy. Why are women always worrying so much about their weight? Stop it! If you tell me that you want to get stronger and more fit, great. And if you tone and tighten as a byproduct of that, well okay. But NO setting out to lose weight."

"But," I whined on. "My clothes are tight."

"Then go around naked more," he admonished. "Clean house in the nude – write in the nude – pay bills in the nude."

So I’m trying his advice. Luckily, we live in an extremely rural area, so there are no neighbors or passersby to offend. Our long driveway gives me plenty of warning, should I need to make myself presentable for company.

My husband seems to like this new development. The cats don’t seem to care. (Although the lap sitting is a bit of the problem when they contentedly start to knead my thighs with their claws. Pillows help.)

And I have to say that I’m feeling much better about my fifty year old shape. It’s voluptuous, it’s mature, and it’s healthy. Most important, it’s mine.

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