“Don’t be afraid. Change is such a beautiful thing,” said the Butterfly.” ~ Sabrina Newby
The other day, my daughter and I approached an escalator at the same time as a woman of a certain age.
Very graciously, my daughter motioned for her to go first. We all exchanged smiles. The lady was missing her top teeth and was more than a mite disheveled.
“Age before beauty!” said she, soulful eyes twinkling. “I have to accept it, I am old and getting older.” She repeated this mantra five times, which made me wonder if she was still in the process of convincing herself of that belief.
I, on the other hand, do not accept getting older. I am in complete denial of the fact and refuse to make peace with my aging body.
Once, I thought that when my hair turned grey, I would let it grow into voluminous curls and bask in my Arctic blondness. I have a friend who rocks this! But my hair turned crispy and a somewhat unflattering pewter (accent on the pew!). So now I color it.
I’ll admit that I’ve always been vain—or what I assume to be vain. To me, my outwardness reflects my inner being, and I do obsess about it in fits and starts.
I have been an organic farmer, passionately advocated for the environment, mucked around with piglet, goat and chicken poo, wandered many a wet and scrubby forest and written volumes about a woman’s inherent essence as a goddess—so you’d think that I would embrace aging like one. But it’s just not evolving like I imagined it would.
My belly and waist—which have almost always been trim, muscular and as velvety as the skin of a newt—are no longer under my command, but do what they want under the mysterious call of menopause. Estrogen and I are no longer friends, as it fluctuates to its own drummer. I’m not impressed.
We all have ideas of how we’ll age, and what we’ll do to mitigate the process (if anything). I know intellectually that I must love my body in all its forms. Well, I do love it in principle—but not what it’s doing! Nobody sent a memo about changes like less collagen or muscle loss. I don’t remember signing a consent form.
I am rebelling worse than a 16-year-old against my current condition. I thought I wouldn’t rebel because that would mean admitting my age and bodily foibles. But then I changed my mind, because really, we’re all (of menopausal age) in the same boat and might as well just talk about it. I can’t apologize for not aging gracefully, because I don’t want to. I want to be honest about where I’m at, and that is approaching my 56th birthday kicking and screaming. I don’t like the number—and it doesn’t help to say, “the number doesn’t matter, it’s how you feel.” How I feel is that the number is like a stamp that somebody placed irreverently on my forehead, and it screams: “Over the proverbial hill!”
I’ll just say it out loud: I don’t want to age. Is that wrong of me?