I’m slightly freaked out.
Ok, so it’s more like I’m freaked out in an overreaction that presents itself in a melodramatic show of: wailing and gnashing of teeth, listening to sad music for emotional cutting purposes, and gorging myself on chocolate, cookie dough ice cream, and copious amounts of homemade wine.
I’m (gasp!) turning 35 in just over a month.
To be stereotypical as possible– How did this happen? How am I this old?
I burst into tears today while doing laundry; grieving over the passing of my youth, I imagine.
I’ve got crow’s feet and white hair.
My cheek isn’t as high as it used to be.
My tits certainly aren’t where they used to be.
My ass never really has been what I wanted it to be.
Bottom line, I can tell that my looks are fading, and I’m taking the loss of them terribly hard.
This shock and sadness over my appearance solidifies what I’ve been adamantly denying for years. Admitting it is the first step, so here we go, folks…
I’m superficial and vain.
That song IS about me.
Although I’ve never been what some would call a “real beauty,” like Elizabeth Taylor, Jennifer Aniston, or Ingrid Bergman; with the right makeup, lighting, and Instagram filter, I can hold my own.
I was a late bloomer though. In high school, I was a dorky girl with a flannel shirt ’round my waist and wild Alanis Morissette hair–because middle-of-nowhere-Tennessee is exactly the place for the 90’s grunge look, right?
Wild hair coupled with an outrageous wardrobe that was equal parts thrift store and hand me downs pretty much nailed down my role as the token teenage misanthrope. I never felt pretty in high school, not even at my prom.
So naturally I tried to reinvent myself in college as a pretty and preppy sorority girl.
There were two problems, though: 1. The sorority I joined was full of rabble rousing girls who cared more about having good times than being the cutest group of girls on campus. (and boy, did we had some good times, folks…whew!) And 2. It was the late 90’s when wearing baggy overalls and an Old Navy tee was considered being “cute.”
Thank God for Sex and the City and In Style magazine! I suddenly became aware of haute couture, dressing for my body type, how to tame my Alanis mane, and the right way to apply make up.
I was 20, and feeling pretty for the first time!
I felt pretty confident most of the time during my early 20’s–especially when walking arm-in-arm with my two girlfriends who were taller than my own 5’9″ frame. We’d wear four inch stilettos and own any bar we walked into. Ah, those glorious 20’s! With all the cat calls and wolf whistles, I’d forgotten there was ever a time when I felt less than beautiful.
I rode this wave of beauty for more than a decade; navigating two pregnancies and the coinciding yo-yo weight with clothing savvy to minimize the flaws in my appearance.
Stacey and Clinton would’ve been so proud.
This upcoming birthday, though is messing with my head like a philosophy professor.
I’m actually seeing the bloom fading before my eyes…
I decided to do something daring, adventurous, and Sex and the City inspired.
I had boudoir and nudie pictures taken.
Oh yes, I did.
Now, dear readers, there is photographic evidence that I once was pretty.
I know that real beauty is on the inside. It’s in the way mothers love their children. It’s in the way girlfriends are always there for one another. It’s in the tears you cry when you’re moved with overwhelming compassion for a stranger. It’s the sweat on your brow as you prepare a big Sunday afternoon feast for your family. It’s the light in your eyes when you laugh.
I know all of these things.
But that doesn’t make the onset of middle age any easier.
Photo by: Emily Ann Hill Photography.