Why the Words Stick in My Throat: Talking about Aging
close up portrait of a Jewish woman. You can see lines around her eyes and mouth as she looks directly into the lens.

I’ve only just begun to think about, talk about, and write about aging. I’ve avoided the subject for some time

Most people, I think, would respond by saying: Of course you don’t feel good about your body. That’s natural. Aging sucks.

But does it?

Or have we been taught to believe that aging sucks by a “beauty industry” that, in addition to hammering away at us with the words in the graphic, deluges us with articles like Reverse the Signs of Aging, Top 7 Tips to Prevent and Repair Aging, How to Fight Forehead Wrinkles, 4 Ways to Treat Sagging Breasts, and 3 Solutions for Sagging Skin. Even though aging is just what bodies do, the beauty industry would have us believe that aging sucks so badly that we have to go to perpetual war against it.

But I find it easier to talk about disability, because so much has been written about disability as a social construct that I can find a plethora of words that make sense and that reflect my experience. I don’t have to depend upon mainstream words like pity, suffering, tragedycharity, and inspiration. I don’t have to enter into the That Sucks narrative. I have a discourse with which to talk about disability from the inside: as a political condition, as a civil rights issue, as a marker of identity, as part of the diversity of human physicality.

Read more on The Body is Not an Apology.

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