Tangled webs (mostly around the eyes but also a little around the mouth)

As if it isn’t already obvious, I have really been struggling with the whole aging issue. That hoary fist must strike most people my age-ish with approximately the same amount of force, but to someone who had depended mostly on looks to get her through life, it feels like a frozen two-fisted whammy right in the titties. As I had stated in an earlier post, my greatest fear is finding myself old and alone, and I think that my kids will probably make sure that doesn’t happen, hopefully, but… who will LOVE me? I mean, whose eyes will light up whenever I walk into a room? Who will gaze at me adoringly and always see the young, fresh-faced girl he loved way back when? I thought it would be Scott, but over the past couple years I’ve started to wonder. I mean, he still tells me I’m pretty, but to be honest, that’s a distinct downgrade from his previous adjective, “beautiful.”

Last night we were watching a show that featured Marcia Gay Harden. Now, I like her as an actor, but I’ve never thought her particularly attractive. I don’t know what Scott’s always thought of her, but last night he said, “She’s actually held up really well for her age.” I agreed, and said, “Yeah, look at her neck. It looks better than mine!,” of course hoping he’d jump right over to my side and tell me, That’s ridiculous! NOBODY’S neck looks better than yours! But he didn’t… Instead, he rubbed his fingers together in the international “money” gesture, as in, She has the money for plastic surgery to make her neck look good. Which of course I interpreted to mean, To make her neck, and everything else about her, look better than anything YOU sport on your ugly, wrinkly old raggedy-ass body. As in: Kelly, hideous Marcia Gay Harden, who’s at least ten years older than you (actually only five), looks better than you. This comment, close on the heels of him answering my earlier challenge that he doesn’t think older women are beautiful, with the opinion that, well, Sophia Loren has still got it, hit me hard. Right in my particular solar plexus of fear.

My nemesis.

I’m talking about fear here. Rationality plays no part in my gut reaction, especially when faced with even a nugget of truth. I know Scott loves me, and he really wants to smooth out the rough patches we’ve been through over the last few years, and he can’t read my mind, especially when I’m not thinking but reacting, and it’s not always easy for him to express how he feels…

Nevertheless, to insulate myself against fear, I immediately want to starve my body and begin a stringent exercise program and in six months begin scanning the horizon for a new man who will unconditionally have the hots for my inevitably aging self.

Me, after six months of strenuous diet and exercise

Or give up men altogether and swing for the other side, which would probably be more accepting (since I would be). Despite my Rachel Weisz fixation.

Wait for me

But that’s the wrong strategy. I know that. And even “bettering” my marriage isn’t the answer. No, I have to – HAVE TO – continue my quest to learn to love myself, to be the woman I love. That means caring for myself in scary new ways, thinking about myself with scary new thoughts, and taking scary new actions. Then I won’t be quite as dependent upon what Scott, or anybody else, thinks of me. And maybe my own eyes will light up whenever I look in a mirror. And maybe I’ll be someone whose eyes light up for other people, making them feel loved, and thus end up feeling more loved myself. I have all this unfamiliar territory to traverse, and I’m not going to lie to you, it’s fucking scary. But I’m not going back to old habits. Baby needs a new pair of shoes, and baby really wants to buy them for herself this time. Love! xo

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7 Comments

Filed under Celebrity crush, God I'm depressed, Hope, Old women

7 responses to “Tangled webs (mostly around the eyes but also a little around the mouth)

  1. Excellent quest!
    They say that the whole shebang of telling yourself you love yourself actually does work.
    Plus you are a whole lot prettier than your nemesis.

    • That’s what they say, and I’m putting all my pennies in that basket now. I really don’t want to depend on other people to make me feel good anymore; that’s old, and lame, and I don’t know… I think my pin feathers have grown out and I’m ready to fly. That said, hee, I’ll take a giant leap back and thank you for saying I’m prettier than my nemesis. How do our necks compare, though? :)

      • Oh you have more neck than her, for sure! And purtier too. Neck is good. I wouldn’t like a floating head. Although it would be useful when taking off jumpers…

  2. twila

    I’ve always said that pretty girls have it tough. People always laughed at me, but it is sooo true. Being pretty is no guarantee for anything except maybe that you will come to depend on those looks and the grieving when they go will be that much greater.

    Let me be the first to tell ya….it gets better. Much better. There will be tough days and agonizing nights…times when you don’t recognize the woman in the mirror at all. Times when you lie awake in bed, mourning not only the the lost physical beauty but the lost years, opportunities, etc. That is all transient.

    There comes a morning when you will arise and be zen with it all. When you will feel the freedom that comes from a release from the guilded cage of concern over appearance. It is marvelous!! It will rock your socks off!!! It is like dreaming all your life about flying and then suddenly waking up and finding that you are as light as air, that you CAN fly!!! Freedom. What the plain girl knew all along. Now your words can be judged on their own merit. Now you can slip into a place unnoticed and observe without being observed. Now you can feel free to dress any old way you please, carry yourself however you desire and not worry about how you look. The freedom is wonderful! It WILL come, I promise you.

    It comes, not all at once, but in a gradual acceptance and then embracing of who you are, now, today. As in the buddhist dharma, it comes in a flash, then goes away. But that flash will show you that there is a marvelous freedom awaiting you. The flashes last longer until they stay and you are free from worrying over looks for the rest of your time. How silly it will all appear to you one day!!!

    And one of the first things to prove you are well on this path is the way you have been appreciating the beauty of older women. That is a signpost. I think all women do this. It is a way of appreciating in them what you can’t yet appreciate about yourself.

    What I appreciate is your honesty here. And I applaud your determination to buy your own shoes.

    • Oh Twila, you make me want to cry, not that I haven’t been on the verge of it for months now… But even MORE tears, because you understand and are offering me grounded hope. Grounded because I know beyond a shadow that you’ve been there and have gone through the transition I’m making now, and HOPE because of the true joy and freedom I sense in your words. I trust what you say about the flashes (hee, menopause?) coming closer and brighter as the days pass; I’ve experienced some of that already. I’m sailing along the cusp of that reality and it’s very exciting. I’m in one of the scariest and most exhilarating transitions of my life right now, and I am very grateful to get your heads up.

      I love love love what you said about my appreciation of older women; I think you’re right… And I really have wondered why I can find women my age and older simply gorgeous, but think myself so the opposite. That’s a great observation.

      I love you womens.

  3. There’s no sense in offering any pat advice–you already got yourself set on the right track by the end of your post!

    Interesting reading this and Twila’s response. It makes me reflect about how much I depend on my own looks. When I had psoriasis all over a few years ago, I learned a lot about my value apart from my looks, but that doesn’t mean I wasn’t glad when I was no longer embarrassed to show my skin. I have always wanted to age gracefully, like the old lady in one of the Anne of Green Gables books (I don’t remember her name, because it has been so long since I read them, but I remember that she always smelled of lavender, and that Anne and Diana thought she was absolutely beautiful.)

    I have already started dressing however I want, but I really do want my husband to find me attractive. I occasionally have dreams of younger men being attracted to me–possibly because I feel like I have lost that allure of youth–you know, the allure that comes from NOT being trailed by three children every time I leave my minivan, and having time to put on makeup in the morning! When many of the movie starlets are now almost a decade younger than me, it makes me realize that time, he don’t slow down for nobody. When I look at the actors that were the “heartthrobs” in my teenage years, and realize that they are now getting well past the years of “heartthrob-worthy” it shows me that that is not so far down the road. Best to learn to accept the inevitable now, and find value in other things.

    Maybe that’s why I am so driven to DO things… I think a greater fear for me than losing my looks is that something would happen to my hands. In fact, the very thought of it makes me shrivel up inside. Perhaps I’ll stop typing now before I dwell on it too long.

    Hugs, you!

    • Isn’t it interesting how different we all are, and how different our stories are? You’re clearly a beautiful woman, and I imagine you were beautiful all your life – yet it seems that stint of psoriasis may have been enough to shake you into wanting to be MORE than your looks. When I was little, and even older, I used to be afraid that God would let me be in a car crash or something equally horrible, where my face would be mutilated, to teach me humility (not that I was any huge great shakes!, it’s just that the little I had was ALL I felt I had). And now I feel The Car Crash Hath Come. And now I have to deal with it. It’s all relative, isn’t it? But so intensely personal. I grew up in a family that prized beauty (objectifying women) over everything else, though not exclusively. Still, it was tops… so that’s what I grew to believe, and belief systems are very hard to change. While my head recognizes that I’m competent, my belief system says I’m not, and that I have to make sure there’s some man in place to provide for me. I hate that I operate that way! But I have to try not to hate myself; instead, I want to love my me, and gently guide myself away from operating under that system. Oh, it is tangled, isn’t it? But not impossible to untangle, with work.

      All that to say, it sounds as if you’re pouring yourself into work now, in preparation. Of course, as you said, we won’t always have work either, and then what does our life come down to? YIKES! Just ‘being.’ And that’s probably when the foundation of love we’ve hopefully built throughout the years will sustain us. Hopefully. It’s good to talk about this stuff. It really does me good! Hugs you, too.

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