Monday, March 15, 2021

This is 44

Today I turn 44, tossing a wink and both middle fingers in the air toward society’s attempts to make aging women feel like we lose relevance and vitality with every added gray, pound, line, year. 

No matter what I do, try, or buy, I’ll never weigh what I did at 15. My face will never look as fresh as it did at 16. My hair will never be the uniform color it was at 18. 

I don’t want to look like I did at 15, 16, or 18. Every day I’m on this earth I become more myself. I sink deeper into her. I want to look like her too. 

Many people do not get the privilege of aging so I’m not walking back a second of it. I don’t want to erase the years I’ve lived that are written across this body which has carried me through this world so carefully since I was born a Tuesday child in March 1977 when the daffodils were up early in my Gamma’s yard. 

Youth is great. It is for trying on a bunch of things, thinking you are invincible and have all the time in the world, being wrong over and over again while thinking you’re right every time. But just like I wouldn’t go back to re-live it, I’m not wasting an iota of energy in my 40s chasing what I looked like 25 years ago. I’m not trading who I am now and all the wonderful things the years have brought me (or the wisdom when what the years brought was not too fucking wonderful) for unlined skin. I love getting older. The alternative is not attractive. 

I want to be healthy, hydrated, and moisturized. Like everyone, I have appearance preferences when it comes to myself. I have not used a hair dryer in going on 10 years. I wear what I’m comfortable in. I love how lipstick looks. I don’t do face makeup. I prefer solo walking. I want to always be strong enough to get up off the toilet without assistance in my old age. I like having my hair colored and my nails painted. I do those things for me. Whatever you do regarding your appearance and how your body functions, I hope you do it because it makes you feel good in your skin or provides you with a health benefit - not because you feel like you have to to be worthy of something in this life, or like the only beauty and relevance is beauty and relevance in proximity to youth, or like your appearance is more important than what’s in your head, heart, and soul. It’s not. 

I am a 100% believer that you look your best when you FEEL your best, regardless of what your actual appearance is at that time. I look my best 

When I’m sitting in a loose circle on the beach with people I love, nowhere to be but there, sun warm on my skin, head thrown back laughing
When I’m walking around taking pictures of things that catch my eye
When I’m watching my dogs run ahead of me on the beach
When I’m walking with my head down trolling for shells and other treasures
When I’m outside for Magic Hour
When I’m traveling and overwhelmed in the best way with what’s in front of and around me
When I’m alone in my car, windows down, sunroof open, music loud, singing like it’s my job, driving too fast
When I’m slunk down low in a chair on the porch unaware of anything but the book I’m reading 
When I’m saying what needs to be said or standing up for what is right
When I’m riding my bike on the boardwalk 
When I sit back immediately after painting my nails 
When it’s my birthday and I’m not working 

In most of my feeling best instances my hair is probably wild, there’s probably a coffee stain on my shirt, I definitely have dog hair all over me, I may or may not have showered, 98% of the time there are sunglasses. You get the picture. But I feel good.. I am happy. That looks better than anything I can slather on my face.

I could write for days about how the world ushers aging women toward the wings just as we come more into our own power and how society attempts to shrink women and reduce them to their appearance because if we spend our time, money, and mental energy fighting the inevitable aging process, we’ve got very little left to give to making true, lasting, substantive change to the state of women in the world because we’re too tired at the end of the day. If we used the same energy we have for unearthing wrinkle erasers toward a massive strike until we are a society that values women’s safety and autonomy more than protecting men’s fragility when challenged in a patriarchal system that supports violence, we might actually see a world where any woman anywhere can walk home at any time of day or night without fear because we  stopped the world until it was so. 

But it’s my birthday so I’ll spare you the rest of my feminist manifesto. 

Happy Monday! I’ll be off doing whatever the fuck I want. Beware the Ides of March. 

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