14 December 2009

Wrinkles and Folds

Today I noticed every line in my face, and every ounce of flab on my body. Maybe it's because I'm tired. Or maybe I am old and fat. It seemed that everyone--even the old profs at the department meeting--had smooth faces and lean bodies. What's happening to me?

Am I buying into society's expectations about women? If I'm wrinkly and flabby, I won't get a date, much less my book published, even if I have the mind of Virginia Woolf or Marie Curie, or the soul of Gloria Steinem or Dorothy Day. At least, that's how things seem.

Yes, every one of those lines around the corners of my lips looks like a crack in a weathered tenement building. And the swelling around my left side has subsided, but is still there--what, almost three weeks after my mishap. The doctor said that all I can give it is time, and that the baths I've been taking for other reasons are the best thing I can do for it.

But when a prof who's been at the college since the day it opened and another who's my mother's age and survived a stroke three years ago look younger than I do--or seem to--what does that say about me?

Someone once told someone--I forget who--that she "earned" every one of her wrinkles. Nice thought, but I wish I hadn't done so much to merit them. It's like when you go through a difficult experience--like, say, not knowing where your next meal is coming from-- and someone tells you it's building your character. Yeah, OK, I always want to tell such a person. But I'm not ready to have such depth yet. It would be nice to have what other people have, just for once.

Like being, if not young, at least youthful. Or looking it. I mean, some of my best friends are old (or at least older) women. But I don't want all of my friends to be just like me! Well, maybe that isn't so bad, now that I've accepted that I'm turning into my mother--or that I already am like her, and have been like her for as long as I can remember, at least in some ways. That's not such a bad thing, really, when I consider who my mother is!

Then again...part of my healing is developing wrinkes...at least in that part of my body. It's funny, isn't it, that part of being a healthy woman means having wrinkles--or folds, anyway--in that at least that part of your body? Now there's something no man will ever understand!

1 comment:

Gunnar Berg said...

Disclaimer: I've never been a woman. That said, as 64 year old man I can say with some confidence that what you are experiencing IS JUST THE BEGINNING! Or maybe the beginning of the end, depending how your life view. Hang in there, it'll get worse.