Sunday, February 21, 2016

     

                                                   
                                                             Proud of my Wrinkles



     I was telling a new friend of mine that my mother always lied to me about her age. I never knew exactly how old she was, and, as her daughter, I knew she was “old,” so it didn’t matter. She died at 73. My mother was always quite attractive, and her mission in life was to look beautiful. Appearance was everything to her, and it showed. She always dressed like a woman, walking tall in her stilettos, wearing skirts and feminine blouses, not pants and certainly never sweats or a t-shirt. She believed that posture was important so she taught me at a very early age to walk tall and “put your best points forward.” She sat with her shapely long legs crossed, never resorting to sitting like a man. Men admired her; some even lusted after her.

     Growing up as the daughter of such a woman, I suppose I had a choice. I could mimic her or reject her style. I chose to follow it. She wore some costume bling that I didn’t like so I was never into jewelry. The only real jewelry I wear often is her diamond ring and a gorgeous antique-inspired necklace that Mr. Wonderful bought me with his last bonus. Other than that, I don’t like anything that  jingles or moves on my arms or neck. 

     I remember my mother saying that the day she couldn’t wear her heels, they could just put her “in a box.” I feel the same. I cannot imagine wearing any less than a 4” heel or wedge, but I know one day, I will have to accept the fact that my legs, feet and back won’t tolerate it any longer. For now, at 72.5, I still like it up here. It would be like driving a VW “Bug” compared to a large SUV. Maybe I feel safe up here; I never feel superior like some wicked women think.

     There was a documentary on British television discussing six women between the ages of 75 and 91 who dress as they like, regardless of the “rules” of attire for “older women.” They are all active professionals whose faces show their ages, but whose bodies are fit and focused. They don’t care what others think of the way they dress or look; they dress as they choose, and they don’t worry about the criticism. I am with them. I dress as I like, and I am not afraid if something I wear might look better on someone younger.

      Then there are wrinkles. They are inevitable, and there is no longer any injection, operation or hocus-pocus that can relieve me of them and what they imply. My wrinkles reveal that I didn’t sit inside watching soaps on tv; I went out in God’s beautiful nature and enjoyed the fresh air and lots of sunshine. My wrinkles show that I have suffered in the trenches and reached for the stars. My wrinkles show that I gave birth to two beautiful daughters who make me proud every day of my life. Those creases are like medals on a soldier’s chest. They remind me of the battles fought and survived. They show courage and resilience. Any person who has no wrinkles by the time they are in their 70s has not lived fully, in my mind. 

      The other day, there was some note talking about how incredible it is that Mariah Carey looks so fabulous at age 45. Who doesn’t look fabulous at age 45? A woman doesn’t come into her own until at least 50, and the 40s are a woman’s prime—she should look fab at that age. How about a woman in her 70s who can wear a bikini and turn a head. Now that’s something worth headlining.

     I am not ashamed of my age, my wrinkles or my history. I have experienced almost every emotion deeply, or as someone said, “I have bled on the pages of my life.” I don’t hide or lie about how old I am; I am proud that I am without aches and pains and still have the energy and courage to stand on a stage and deliver a one-woman show. People can criticize all they want; but they need to look in the mirror first. Women can be very vicious. It’s not men who make the rules about what women should wear or how they look; it’s women. Sometimes we hurt our cause rather than promote it because we’re too jealous to applaud those who have the courage of their convictions and who are strong enough not to care about the fallout.


     Do you have wrinkles? What do yours represent? Do you lie about your age or refuse to divulge it? Why? Stand tall. Be proud of what you’ve accomplished and who you are. There is only one unique you, and no one can compete with that person because no one is you. YOU and you, alone, choose whether to allow a wrinkle to reveal your history. Artists don’t paint faces with no character. The fascination we have looking at such portraits has to do with the life we see etched into the skin of one unique being who lived authentically. I am 72 years young, and I am proud of my character. How about you?