After having this wonderful connected moment and love fest with my right hemisphere last evening, my awareness slid quite stealthily back into the other side of my brain. Everything went downhill when I looked in the mirror and saw a pimple the size of a Buick on my chin. Oh, good God! I’m forty-four years old and should be thinking of wrinkle cream, not Clearasil. I donned my foundation as I do every day and put in an extra concerted effort to cover up my “flaw,” as I had labeled it. No amount of camouflage could conceal the mountainous growth that had sprouted overnight. In fact in the more I fussed the more obvious it became. Then I got to thinking. And as you have read, that can be a dangerous thing.
Not only has my life changed dramatically over the past two months, but I have noticed that my body is following suit. Before I go on, please understand that I like myself … I really do. I dig me. I enjoy being with me—we’ve been hanging out a great deal lately. I even think I’m funny and kind of cute. But when I look in the mirror, I see the signs of age. I know it is inevitable. I used to say that I’m proud of my age and that I’d never be the kind of woman who’d ever lie about it. Perhaps that was because I look quite young and most never guess my true age. Nowadays, the guesses are getting closer and closer to the truth. And I imagine, in time they will be bang on. How will I feel to be a woman who actually looks middle-aged?
My eyelids are drooping slightly. I notice that the taut jaw line I once had has softened and sagged—the beginning of jowls. I have unruly gray hair that stands at attention on the top of my head and no amount of gel or goop will relax them. In the mornings, I am making “head lines” because my skin is loose and doesn’t spring back like it did in my youth.
Why do I fuss? Why am I still so focused on the outside when I have travelled many miles on my spiritual journey, learning to love my insides? Why am I afraid of people seeing me, all of me, pimples, cellulite, and stretch marks—the whole shebang?
I have been questioning and searching for many years and know that life is not about a destination of sorts, but choosing to live in the moment. Though I am still slightly (gross understatement if I am trying to be honest here) unnerved about unknowns, my shoulders have dropped and I have learnt to let out my breaths instead of keeping them bottled inside from fear.
Is fear of aging just the plight of women? Do most women feel this way? If they don’t, how have they come to peace with growing old? Some grow old gracefully while others fight tooth and nail all the way to the plastic surgeon’s office. I am reminded of beauties like Lauren Bacall, Dame Judi Dench, and Maya Angelou whose looks never faded, they simply changed. It has been said that women age while men become distinguished. I’m not entirely sure that is true. I think—and correct me if I am wrong fellas—that men struggle just as much about being handsome as we do about being pretty. I’ve been in the company of men who are challenged by their growing and soft waists, their receding hairlines and expanding foreheads. Grecian formula is on the shelves of the stores for a reason. My question is more about society’s view. Are men and women expected to be without flaw? We are bombarded by television shows and billboards that drill into our heads that thin is in, that youth is where it’s at and when I don’t measure up, I have felt somehow less than whole. I have felt that way often.
Here’s a question. Even if I did get down to a size 2 and had smoother, more supple skin, would I be content and more accepting of myself? Probably not.
I believe my resistance to the flow of life comes from the realm of my ego and this morning mine had a meltdown. There is no such thing as time in the spiritual world. It is in this concrete world of ego that time, control, and fear exist. I know all too well that feeling unworthy comes from fear. Every day that passes and every new line on my face has me believe that more and more. Careful what I wish for. I must admit, that part of me thinks that now as a single woman with two children, there is a chance I may end up alone. Perhaps this fighting to hold onto my youth is all coming from me not believing that I am good, whole, perfect, and lovable just the way I am. Holy shit!
Did all of this mental diarrhea come from me just looking at the mirror and seeing a zit this morning? Ugh.
I will close with the beautiful words of Audrey Hepburn. I aspire to be as strong, graceful, giving, free, and confident as she was.
This is a poem that Audrey Hepburn shared with her family just weeks before she died.
For attractive lips, speak words of kindness.
For lovely eyes, seek out the good in people.
For a slim figure, share your food with the hungry.
For beautiful hair, let a child run his fingers through it once a day.
For poise, walk with the knowledge you never walk alone.
We leave you a tradition of the future. The tender loving care of human beings will never
People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, redeemed
and redeemed and redeemed. Never throw anyone away.
Remember, if you ever need a helping hand you’ll find one at the end of your arm.
As you grow older, you’ll discover that you have two hands: one for helping yourself, the
second for helping others.
You’ve great days still ahead of you. May there be many of them.