I booked a morning at the spa. An hour in a tub room, to be followed by breakfast out. Because the Pirate wouldn’t be coming, I booked a room with a sauna, not a steam room.
I got in and undressed and showered off. I took my magazine and headed into the sauna. It says something that it didn’t feel hot to me, although the thermometer read 115 degrees. I sat there for fifteen minutes reading a short fiction piece without breaking a significant sweat. That can’t be good.
I had showered off before I got into the sauna, and when I got up there was the wet Rorschach imprint of my bum and vulva and thighs on the very dry wood of the seat. It was both bigger and smaller than I expected and it looked pleasing, like something that should be framed somewhere. Unlike my lumpy body, the imprint looked smooth and ordered. I watched while it disappeared into the dry wood, and I was only just now beginning to sweat.
At this point, I think I’ve made some peace with my body. I work out regularly, but I know that it’s unlikely that I’m ever going to significantly change shape, and that’s okay. My shape is not the conventional shape of beauty, which I have realized works entirely to my benefit. It means that the people who find me beautiful must make an effort to do so. They come to my body through my mind, and by the time they get there, they are receptive to the way that I am beautiful. Either that, or they stand behind me when I’m wearing tight pants. I’ve been told that works, too.
As I was being shown into my tub room, I realized that all of the people at the spa at that time of the morning were women of a certain age, and by the time I left, I understood what we had all gotten. To walk out of a place feeling that the person you are is the right person for you to be, and that the physical part of that person is every bit as right as the emotional and spiritual parts – that is an amazing gift. It’s a gift that you can only receive from yourself, and it can only be given in private.