If you could, what parts of yourself would you throw out?
I wish I could be all blasé and “woman-power” and act like I am perfectly comfortable in my middle-aged body. Smiling at myself in the mirror upon awakening every single morning in wonder at the transformation that seems to take place every night while I sleep.
I so want to be that graceful, all-knowing woman, who welcomes the aging process taking hold all over her body, as she books a yoga class or weekend retreat to some coastal spa, where she will consume nothing but raw kale and green tea, sitting in a cross-legged pose, and listening to nothing but the sound of birds, or waves or Enya.
I want to be her so badly that I can picture her in my mind and I know she has a name like Caryline, or Kathryn, or Jayne with the random “Y” just carelessly tossed into the mix- but it seems so far away from my reality.
I have been a pretty a good sport about this aging shit – I really, really have.
I have accepted my new stomach, and the loss of my once rounded bottom.
I woke up one morning and realized to my horror when I accidently glanced in the bathroom mirror while stepping into the shower that they had somehow decided to switch places! The fullness of my bum had sneakily moved around my waist somehow and placed itself in the front of my body at some point during my sleeping hours! And no matter how much celery I ate or how many squats I reluctantly did, while watching Sister Wives, and yelling at the t.v. ” you should ALL grab a few brother-husbands and fix his little red wagon but good!”, I have never been able to coax those body parts back to their original home stations. So, I reluctantly made lemonade with the lemons and moved on. I started eyeballing tunics and leggings online and laughed until I cried at the “shapers” that had built-in bums in them.
Side note: Shapers my ASS! Call it a girdle, girl – our mothers certainly did and who are we to think we are somehow better than that generation at the aging game, anyway? I can still recall the first time I walked in on my Mom fighting to get into one, and the combination of my squeal of utter shock and her efforts to get the damn thing up over her hips made us both erupt into giggles that left us gasping for breath afterwards. Me from giggling, and her, I’m sure, due to the combination of laughter and the oxygen restriction she was enduring due to the vice-grip that girdle had on her abdomen.
The lemonade I have made out of the sad state of my 60’s era National Geographic cover-worthy boobs, is that on cold winter days, while I am sitting in my house and feel the chill, they provide bonus warmth to my new stomach, and have actually become pretty good friends, as a result! They almost seem to suffer separation anxiety on the rare occasions when I need to strap on one of my industrial strength bras, with the steel reinforcements, and the 23 clips required in order to constrain all that matronly sexiness that just wants to ooze out at the most inopportune times in public. I’ll be totally honest here – sometimes just getting the thing on winds me – similar to the days I need to swap comforters out of the duvet covers.
Life’s a struggle and we all have our hills to conquer, but we carry on, don’t we ladies?
The hardest thing to make lemonade out of for me regarding the aging process has been the hair situation occurring in the last few years. This unforgiving trauma I endure on a daily basis has been one of the stealthiest missions of my life as a woman, and my secret shame.
In my youth, I had eyebrows like Brooke Shields. I actually had what some affectionately refer to as a “unibrow”, in fact. I was not allowed to pluck my eyebrows or shave any body part OR paint nails until I reached the age of 14 (some of my mother’s rules were absolutely wack- just pick an age out of your ass and make it law? Regardless of circumstance or evidence to the contrary??)
But I digress – the minute I hit 14, I went off in a frenzy of hair removal and nail painting. I spent more time pulling hair out of my body than I did eating, or sleeping or exercising, or cutting the David Cassidy pictures out of Teen Beat. Any pictures of me from that summer show my sleek, tanned, bare legs with cute polish on the toes and my brassy Sun-In’d tresses blowing in the breeze. Two razor-thin lines where my eyebrows used to be – one cocked up in what I thought made me look quizzical, and mature. Oh- and my boobs where they belonged- their original placement, their designated lane.
I have barely any eyebrows now. A few wispy strands here and there. And the majority of them a glaring white that makes me squint if I look too close. It can sometimes make my head ache so bad from the glare that I need
a vodka cocktail vitamins to make the pain go away. So, I sit there, with my cocktail vitamins and stare into the abyss mirror deciding which method I should deploy on that day to draw some on. I have pencils, and brow powders, and fancy brushes designed specifically to create eyebrows. Every shade from auburn to gray. Because the white hairs hurt my self esteem eyes, I usually pluck them all out, leaving myself with a larger canvas to work on. Most days, I just style my hair so that my bangs are hanging down past them, and call it a job well done!
Pat myself on the back for my exquisite time management skills.
The lemonade I cannot make and refuse to swallow involves my eyelashes. Somehow, maybe during that period of time that my ass went AWOL, my eyelashes started one by one dragging themselves down my face towards my chinny-chin-chin. I couldn’t swear in a court of law that the little hairs ARE my missing eyelashes, but I suspect that is what happened. So, now there is the extra work of removing them from my chin and then because life is so brutally unfair that it HAS to be a man, I cannot simply move them back where they belong – I have to decide whether I am going to use 56 coatings of mascara, glue a set of fake ones on ( glue= kryptonite), or just say screw it, and let my bangs grow even longer until they are completely covering my eyes. The mascara option is the one I most frequently choose, as it doesn’t involve the potential for blindness that the eyelash glue does and has frequently in the past.
The only downside to the mascara is that even with the application of the $40 primer to my eyelids, I end my days looking in a mirror to the sight of the menopause spiders© above my eyes. I assume it is because my temperature these days fluctuates from arctic deep freeze all the way to tropical rainforest, sometimes within a 5 minute span of time, but I am starting to take it personally, and that always means more vitamins.
The plus side to all of this aging bullshit, and disappearing body parts, and the sketchy hair realignment process, is that once you are my age, nobody really looks at you anymore anyway!
You are past the age of child-bearing, out tripping through the world blindly due to your long bangs, and the fact that your melting pool of mascara has temporarily blinded you. You are light-headed from the constriction of your bra and shape wear, hot-flashing like a mutha, sleep deprived and quite possibly in search of anyone to be mad at due to your raging hormones and the fact your face is slowly morphing into Doc’s from Back to the Future.
And you know what the answer to all of that is, don’t you?