Naked Mole Rat Love

My nose is growing bigger, either that or my face is shrinking. Neither prospect is comforting. This vessel of a body that so graciously afforded me portage in this human life has been nothing but a gift of the holiest kind, but must it wither in its final quarter like a certain avian Super Bowl team that played earlier this year? Can’t it rally? I know all the tropes about things that get better with age, like cheese and wine. Does anyone else notice that these examples happen in cellars? I’d probably age well too if I never came out of my basement.

Why can’t we humans have an experience similar to the tortoise? No, I’m not proposing we become land-dwelling reptiles, although, perhaps it’s from whence we came. But what if we could somehow acquire the tortoise’s trait of negligible senescence, the lack of symptoms of aging. Now, I admit, other animals with this feature, like lobsters, the naked mole rat, and some varieties of sturgeon fall into the ugly duckling category of beings. After all, no one said ever, “I love to cuddle up with my fish.” But, what is it that causes these animals of all others in the kingdom to play with the concept of immortality? And, furthermore, would you be willing to look like a naked mole rat to be seemingly ageless? I’ll answer for you. No way, no how! Really. Noting their jumbo protruding fangs in front of their sealed lips, even National Geographic would agree as they describe the naked mole rat as a “bratwurst with teeth.” Perhaps the walrus-rodent look could be tolerated, but it’s the other descriptive here that’s the deal breaker. Hooray and hail to living forever, but doing so naked? I don’t think so.

While scientists are studying these marvels of nature, I’m busy contemplating my navel. Seriously, when did my stomach grow into a new territory, worthy of statehood, and decide to create a life of its own? Doctors explain this post-menopausal muffin top as fat migrating to the midsection. Why? Is there a drought coming? Should I pack my bags and go with? At a recent appointment with my dermatologist, we talked about aging, as our human container displays the evidence of our decades on the planet. Discussing the common belly, she mentioned a term I’d never heard of, FUPA, an acronym for “fat upper pubic area.” A little Google research reveals that there is FUPA removal surgery, FUPA boot camp, and acute stress caused by rampant FUPA. As none of these options are appealing, in my own orbit, I will choose to think FUPA stands for “fabulously unfazed paunch acceptance.”

Right about now is when I should launch into uplifting prose about accepting ourselves. You know, all that gushy recognition of the bottom line, how this aging thing trumps the alternative. Or better, how gratitude is the way, the road to loving all parts of our being, all parts of the world, even the naked mole rat. But, I’ll refrain from these platitudes. Even though, we all know they’re true. We all are thankful for our bodies, the ones that were bestowed upon us at birth and have carried us a million miles through wonder, joy, loss, and love. And I’d like to recommend that we each light a candle every day, devoting a moment or, dare I say, five minutes to such appreciation and honor, but I’ll leave that to you. For me, at the minimum, I resolve to eliminate any unnecessary mirror gazing. Looking outward instead. Yes, there will be times I’ll unexpectedly catch a glimpse of myself in some random reflection, like a shop window or a toaster while heating my Pop-Tart, and on those days, I’ll wave, smile back at myself, and say, “You go, girl.”