Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Mature, full bodied and complex

And the rest of you.

I was just telling a friend how I have been fighting with my own insecurities lately around my self esteem, my appearance, my age. Lo and behold one of my favorite Twitterers/bloggers/activists/cool dudes, Nezua of The Unapologetic Mexican, posted this:

it's time to call it a tumblr day when... - imaginando
its part of that ageist thing in (at least US culture). we have unspoken fears that all we are worth is our tight skin and firm shapes. rarely is it reinforced that living years gives you an arc to better compare changes and events in life; compare people, seeing more people and hearing more stories gives you a wider context of information to tally and thus KNOW things and understand them; having had more relationships has taught you more about yourself as well as people as well as relationships; that watching your body wear out inevitably forces you to shift focus onto Essence (knowledge, creative spirit, love power, maturity), not Symbol (tight abs, tight skin, perkiness); that more time spent on Earth generally means more patience or a clearer focus, you’ve had time to test out many distractions and now are on your way to learning how to see past your own defenses and have shed more misconceptions (or at least had the time to work at it), and so now can learn from those older than yourself, as well as learn from the young while at the same time put up with their condescension, as they too, been often been raised in an ageist culture, themselves. In other words, you will get the chance to face that cocky, stupid, shallow punk you may have once been!

It’s worse when the aging defer to the early part of the circle; deny age, are shamed of age, try to be younger than they are….this sends a message to the young(er) that we ought fear age, we ought think little of it, that all that matters is the beginning of the arc and that is a dangerous and wrong thing to teach.

I am proud of my years. I am so much more than I was 20 years ago. And more than I was ten years ago. And now, am released from fearing age quite as much as I did, because I know it means more wisdom and less ignorance. If I want it to, that is. Because it also requires work.
I find the ageism thing is particularly hard on women. We really are encouraged to maintain a youthful appearance as long as possible and there are companies all over the world making megabucks on just that bullshit. It's hard to buck that social programming, I know I fail at it quite often.

It's especially hard now that I find myself single again at 38. I'm no longer a cute twenty something with tight skin and perky tits. I don't begrudge young women those things because, yanno, I was there once too and it was fun but I do realize that I need to not mourn what I've lost because in so many ways, I've gained. Yes, at 18 I had a hot body and nice skin but guess what? I was also ridiculously insecure and inhibited. Nowdays, things aren't so lovely on this face and body but my mind is a much sexier playground than it used to be.

I guess the trick is to stop worrying about the people who think I'm less desirable/interesting/fun beause of my age and spend my time around those who love me and my laugh lines.

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