Looking through the prism of the past, and the jolting reality of the present, what can one expect as the promise of aging. More important, is there any promise in aging or does one just live one day at a time feeling blessed that you wake up each morning?
I may have mentioned this in a previous blog; but it’s worth repeating because of the unexpected shock of passing a mirror one morning and glancing at an old woman whom I didn’t recognize, staring back at me. I stood stupefied looking at the messy hair, the sagging skin, and the washed out coloring, and asking myself “when in hell did I become this?” I had a bootylicious butt and small waist, with big sparking brown eyes and plump lips. That was the young “thing” I once was. I was never the beauty that my friend Shane was. I remember once walking into a bar with her and an up and coming business man, whom we both knew, came toward us and as he dropped down onto his drunken knees; he proposed marriage to Shane. He was not embarrassed and no one in the crowded bar seemed to take notice. Shane had that kind of effect on men. She was beautiful.
The fabled fountain of youth has been found and is being offered in the form of Botox and plastic surgeries. This fountain can be bathed in; submerging oneself into the painful waters that only hurt for a relatively short while with the promise of smooth skin and fat-free bodies. The moneyed and the wanna-bees hock their lives and/or inheritance trusting the promise of those knives and needles that have become the mystical waters searched for by voyagers and explorers of yore.
It’s not just women who wish to dive into and swim in the dangerous waters of the fountain. Men, bravely and boldly choose to navigate the knives and needles of the precious fountain too. They too, hang on to what used to be. After the shock of seeing myself as I am now, I wonder where did my youth go? When did the years sneak up on me and surreptitiously and criminally change my appearance? As I looked in the mirror each day, why couldn’t I see the changes as they occurred? It was really a jaw dropping experience to, at once, see oneself as an “old lady.”
Younger men refer to me as “mam” now. Even the ones with bald heads or grey hair no longer turn as they used to when I walk by. These days, the new reality is a relative going into hock for breast implants in her fifties. Another friend, a few years older than me, claimed that her swollen face and puffy eyes was due to “problems with aging” – well she didn’t actually lie. Her facial skin is now as smooth as a baby’s butt. She really looks marvelous.
Aging gracefully is the answer. But, how do you do that? A nip here, a tuck there, a needle as well – is that graceful? A good example of the dichotomy is Tippi Hedren, who starred in Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds” and her daughter, Melanie Griffith who starred in “Working Girl.” Google each of them and it’s amazing how beautiful the mother is with her aging face still beautiful and obviously not cosmetically altered, compared to her daughter. It’s not about the genes – Melanie was a beauty in her day. The difference in how they each have aged.
For a price, doctors offer the murky waters of that sought after fountain that I once dreamed of as a warm inviting place like the waters of the Caribbean, is now filled with knives, needles, strong lights and a doctor’s/surgeon’s steady hands that renders pain, blood and gobs of fat. Joan Rivers has swum too often in the dangerous waters, in my opinion. However, she seems as happy as one with her personality can be.
Am I going to take a chance on getting into the water? Maybe Botox. But, not plastic surgery; however, a little suction for getting rid of that stomach roll might not be so bad!
Aging brings about the break down of the body requiring pills, salves, other required surgeries and every kind of restriction imaginable from food, drink and activities. Can you blame one for wishing to look good as you break down?
However, as of right now: with acceptance and promise, play the music, take away the mirrors and sing with me as I gracefully dance into the daylight, laughing and unafraid.