**This post is the second in a series I will continue about aging as a woman today and related stuff. It’s a bit of a rant so bare with me. I don’t take issue with wearing makeup in general, just for the record. :D** You can read my first HERE about having graying hair.
My novel (tentatively scheduled for publication later this year) features a woman in her mid-30s, like me. 😀 The reason I’m using this character besides being similar to me in age is because I’m a little exhausted with YA saturation. That’s not to say there aren’t stories out there about full grown adults, of course there are, but it seems that everyone is driven to young adult characters. Again, that’s fine. There are so many awesome books and characters who are young adult. I understand the appeal to write young adult characters but I’m also interested in the lives of other age brackets.
In addition to feeling uncomfortably saturated with young adult novels and movies all around me, I’m really really tired of all this focus on looking younger. I get it okay I do, guys I’m a woman eeking her way to 40. My skin is not perfect and fresh and my body gets irritated by a lot more stuff than it ever used to. I might not be old but I’m not young. All I’m saying is I do understand the appeal to still look young. I’m curious about what anti-aging lotions might actually be worth buying. I’m interested in prolonging my youthful looks. I might be embracing my grays but I’m not going to let them perform center stage, yet. So it’s not that I’m saying what the heck people, who cares. What I am asking is, why are we obsessed though?
More and more women and men it appears are getting plastic surgery. Just when you think your favorite actress will not yield to the pressure you see her under the lights looking different in some way that you just can’ put your finger on. From Jada Pinkett Smith to Nicole Kidman, they just can’t leave their f&*%ing faces alone!
I can only imagine the immense pressure women in Hollywood are under to look good and stay young. It’s real and it’s true that older women have a harder time than older men getting work. How come Marvel recast X-Men but Patrick Stewart still got to play the old Professor X? Why did Famke Janssen just get booted all together? No cameo roles for her? What about Halle Berry? I liked her as Storm even though I don’t think she’s a great actress she fit. And Jennifer Lawrence as Mystique? Oh God they killed me with that one! But even as men still seem to run Hollywood and so much more it is my belief that we are all overlooking our own roles in carrying on the toxic environment. Women are carrying on these ideals that aren’t real. Women are running every chance they can to get this or that plumped up. And we’re apparently okay with that!
Have you ever seen those infomercials about that magical make-up air brush device contraption machine thingy? How it covers your face perfectly with makeup, it just smooths away the blemishes? Transforms your look in seconds? Why are we okay with this? Do they talk to men like that? Now people, I’m not dissing makeup okay? I wear mascara, once in a great while I’ll put on some eyeliner or eye-shadow, lipstick even gloss. I love the way mascara looks. But I like makeup for occasions. I think you don’t wear your party dress to work or to the park so why wear your party face everywhere you go? That’s fine though, you like to dress your face up for the day, hey high five to you for rocking your thing. But if we look beyond the surface we are perpetuating a toxic mentality that somehow less than perfect needs to be covered. Your skin tone should be even. I’m not saying who cares about blemishes, good Lord I do not like zits and pimples and blotchy skin and the rosacea I now have. I’m not attacking makeup wearers or lovers, I’m attacking the industry and society’s overall mentality on it. That it’s this thing that women NEED to be whole. We’re supporting showing each other that it’s okay to hide behind false perfection just as long as you look good. And yet sometimes people wear so much makeup they really don’t look good at all! Your face is different from your neck! I like the character you’re trying to play but you’re trying too hard when I just want to dig my fingernail into your cheek just to see how thick it is. It’s too much!
There used to be a barista at my local coffee shop who painted her face every day in the kind of 50s style I’m sure you’ve all seen. It’s a cute look when done right and in the right context if you ask me. But every time I pulled up to the window and saw her I just wanted to take her to the bathroom and hand her a washcloth. Why the mask? Why not just some highlights or little bit of this or that? Why are you trying so hard to not have your face? I wanted to be one of her friends and say hey, I love you but stop, it doesn’t look good. Girls we can do better by each other than sitting around not saying anything about how we act like we hate our natural selves.
I know I might be being a jerk here but I’m frustrated people, I’m really really frustrated. Everyone wants to play the hero. Everyone wants to put nice sayings all over their social media and get thousands of likes. Everyone wants to be a humanitarian, as long as they look good doing it. To me it seems that we have all lost a piece of our humanity because we do not want to embrace age. We do not want to hold it up and say, look our elders are people, they are relevant. Why can’t we embrace the process of becoming them? If you’re getting married you embrace the act of being the bride, the soon to be wife right? If you were going to be a princess you’d probably go through some bad ass ritual. So why is it we’re all running and hiding from aging? Sure it sucks but it’s real. It’s one of the most real things about life. You’re going to get old, God willing, and it’s going to show. Why is it more acceptable to physically transform your face and look plastic than bear the wrinkles that say, I have amassed wisdom?
It’s not easy for me to look in the mirror, get all up and personal with it, and see all these fine lines on my face. A close up with the mirror at the dentist does not make me feel good. Yes I have pushed my skin back to a more taut day just to see the difference. I have a worrier’s forehead. I have laugh lines and they don’t go away when I’m not laughing. You don’t think I’ve imagined putting some fancy powder on my face and just looking like I’m 25 again? You don’t think with my small lips I can imagine the urge to just give em a little extra? I have used SnapChat in all its fun and glory and I see the difference between my face and my SnapChat filtered face. It’s not healthy. Everyone wants to put these pictures up of themselves that aren’t them and so we teach each other it’s okay to not be yourself even as we plaster our walls with the glorious idea of embracing who you really are.
I want to be a part of a wave of people who are actively learning to accept the changes that come with aging. I want to stop looking in the mirror and almost hating older me, almost, almost but no. I want to stop being afraid of how old I may or may not look. I want us all to truly embrace ourselves and the process of aging, to discuss how we cope with it. I want to grab a hold of this thing and say I’m okay with it because I need to know how I can use all this time I’ve got under my belt! I love older people and all their knowledge and I want them to know that they are still people. All the older people I know don’t think they’re as old as they are. Mentally they’re back 20 years. There’s so much life in them! It’s like we’re missing the point here; it’s not that there’s no life left in the old, it’s that they have magically absorbed it into their bodies!
My grandpa is 100 years old, 100 freaking years old, and he’s still walking and smiling and cracking little jokes when you don’t expect it. He’s kind and steadies himself to hug me and kiss me on the cheek. He’s stubborn and refuses to use two walking sticks no matter what my dad tells him. He just gets up every day to make it through another day. He does not quit. He has absorbed 100 years of life on this planet. He’s a pilot, a World War II veteran, a father, a husband, an athlete, a businessman, a friend, and an oh so bright soul. I’ll be damned if that man had time to be obsessed with his looks.
My grandpa doesn’t believe he’s 100 years old. That started the year prior, he didn’t believe he was 99. Wasn’t sure how old he thought he was but not that. It was kind of funny, and worrisome, but shit after 99 years you can have that one. I’ve been thinking about this more lately. Our bodies it seems age faster than out minds. Maybe he’s reached a place where he feels like it just doesn’t make sense that my mind and body would be so far off in age. Maybe it just doesn’t matter anymore. What if we became obsessed with what our minds are doing instead of what our bodies aren’t?
Have I frustrated you yet? Then let’s chat.