Wednesday, July 20, 2011

There was an old lady...

Joan Rivers' face -the result of our society's ageist sexism
Help me!  I am getting old.  The first clues were easy enough to dismiss, the first gray hairs appeared at 30, but were easily plucked and discarded.  The fine lines around my eyes could be tamed by sleep and a cheap eye cream, but no longer.  But the proverbial straw has been watching my breasts deflate and head south.  I knew that sooner or later big changes were gonna come, but I didn't expect it at 36.  I thought I had until 40, and then I would get my middle-aged card punched and I could age gracefully. But that isn't happening.  I will not go quietly into that dark night!  I hate that my skin is getting thinner and wrinkly in places where just a year ago it was firm (although squishy thanks to the layer of fat).  I am even getting age spots.  What the fuck is that about?!

Last week I had a date with a feminist friend of mine, and I confessed my lapse in feminist self-image.  She is going through similar changes in her physical self and could relate to me, but she has decided to rage against the machine, our sexist, superficial culture.  Whereas I had been raging against the cells of my body.  Both activities feel futile, but at least she is focusing her rage outward, where it belongs.

I am going to age, sag, wrinkle and gray no matter what I do, provided I am lucky enough to keep living for the next several decades.  However, there is a chance that together we can change our culture, however small.  If we all refuse to participate in bashing our bodies, then maybe our daughters won't look at their stretch marks and wrinkles with disgust, but will embrace their bodies for all the joy and pleasure and accomplishment they bring to their lives.

My body has grown, carried and fed two babies.  My body has run hundreds (maybe thousands of miles).  My body has blown more than a few minds (mine included).  My body has created delightful food and cultivated beautiful flowers.  My body has snuggled friends close and slapped rude men.  My body has suffered injury and healed itself.  My body is indeed a wonderland.

I don't expect that I am going to get over the grief of the aging process any time soon. But I do believe that with time and mindfulness, I can embrace the body that I have now.  I am holding on to the fact that according to the "experts" I am supposed to be entering my sexual peak years.  I guess that's a nice consolation prize. 

1 comment:

Thanks for sharing your thoughts.