Solacetree

Anti Anti-Aging

Posted by:

Anti Anti-Aging

My hair is polished silver.  Though I am no longer sleek, I’m sexy and adore my Victoria’s Secret lingerie. I’m not an intellectual, but intelligent and love conversations that engage my brain.  My greatest lessons have been learned from experience, and I’ve earned my wisdom the hard way.  At age 56, I am living my life’s dream at last as a passionate, published full-time author.  And my culture considers me insignificant because I’m no longer twenty or thirty-something, nor on the brink of disaster as forty-something.  What the hell do they know, and why don’t they know it?  Not just because young adults say so, but many middle-aged and senior women believe it.

Six years ago, I wrote this poem for my fiftieth birthday:

Five-Oh

My experience is hanging
out of drawers,
growing under the bed
in effusive excess,
twirling from ceiling fans,
dripping from my tears.
I’ve stored it up for years
until my birthday
devalued all I know,
any truth and wisdom
gained only through error
and trial-sized experiments
rendered innocuous
by cultural consensus
that counts me up to forty-nine
then subtracts.

I began coloring my hair in my early 20’s, not because I didn’t like what I had, but for fun.  After 30 years of this, I gave myself an early present six months before my fiftieth birthday:  I decided to grow my hair color out, because I hadn’t a clue what was hidden underneath.  I figured that if my natural color sucked, I would disguise it again.  Look at the pictures of me on this website.  Granted, this lovely silver shade came gradually, and the transition might have been dreadful.  But the bottom line was I love how my hair looks today, and will never change it again.

Compliments abounded.  You know who hated it?  Only women.  This one fortyish woman with rabies chewed me out, degrading me for “letting myself go” and being unnecessarily unattractive.  I was appalled, not because I was embarrassed or hurt, but because of how effectively the anti-aging lie had stolen part of her self-esteem.  That slam wasn’t about me; it was her self-evaluation. 

Any product labeled “anti-aging” or “age-defying” aren’t for men.  A men’s skin-care product that claimed to make them “look ten years younger” would have a very limited market.  Guys don’t wear make-up.  Why do women?  Do I really have to tell you the answer?

Who buys that stuff?  Who tends to lie about their age?  Who keeps plastic surgeons in business?  If you’re a 50+ woman, think about it.  Getting older isn’t a disease; it’s a natural aspect of life.  Have you unconsciously decided birthdays determine your worth?  The current life-expectancy for women in the United States is 81 years.  That’s a long time to live as a second-class citizen, increasingly without value or a voice in our society. It’s our choice.

Yes, everyone has better-looking bodies when we’re young.  But if my beauty is based on not having wrinkles, I’m screwed.  If I have to look like a Victoria’s Secret model to buy their lingerie, the company better tell the sales clerks, because I tend to buy what I try on and they always take my money.  So why don’t some of their models look like me?  Those girls are going to have to change careers in a few years unless the company changes.  Who has to power to change that?  Us.  All at once?  No.  “Us” means one person at a time.  You have to decide what you want, how you want to live.  Are you really living authentically?

 I’m a child of the ‘60’s, a genuine hippie (still am).  I didn’t wear make-up until I graduated from college and got a job for which I had to wear a suit, pantyhose, and make-up.  Been there/did that for a lot of years, got burned out, and found a job at a ridiculously low wage so I could dump the make-up, etc. and look like myself again.

Now I work at home as a full-time, published author and can wear a swimsuit and fuzzy bunny slippers to work if I want.  Yet I wore a tiny bit of make-up for my professional photos to look….well, professional, but still 95% like the authentic me.  When I’m asked to speak at a traditional church, I wear slacks instead of jeans, or a dress (albeit bohemian).

But do you know why I wear no make-up, have silver hair, and dress like I do?  Because that’s the inner me expressed on the outside.  Do you know why I wear slinky lingerie?  Not for Bud, even though he likes it, but because I like how it makes me feel.  I buy really good skin care products, but NEVER anything that degrades who I am, because I’m already beautiful, for that’s how God made me.  My age doesn’t determine my significance.  My abilities don’t define my worth.  And any marketing company, person, or institution who tells me differently, to hell with them.  But not to hell with me.

3


About the Author:

I never have found a box that fits me, so I follow Jesus into the wild. My husband, Bud, and I are two life-long hippies, parents of four grown children, and live in Bartlett, TN, with six cats, two dogs, and no TV. We are voracious readers and have loaded bookshelves in every room in the house except the kitchen and bathrooms. As a wordsmith, I write in long-hand everyday and use a computer by necessity. I am part of an eclectic group of Jesus-followers called Outlaw Preachers and have a passion for prison ministry. I am also an advocate for middle-aged and senior women, and anyone who suffers from depression. My musical tastes include Stevie Ray Vaughn, Joni Mitchell, old scratchy-record blues, and the great classical sacred choral works. One other thing: dark chocolate and garlic are major food groups, but not together.

Discussion

  1. Teri  September 15, 2011

    Applauding wildly over here – amen and amen and amen. Women are beautiful in all our shapes, sizes and stages of life but society does an amazing job of selling us the idea that we’re not. My 14 year old daughter thing that the ads for anti-aging products are the most absurd thing she has ever heard of. I pray daily that her attitude about them doesn’t change as she grows up and ages surrounded and bombarded by messages that tell her she is less than because she’s not a waifish perpetual 20-something. That is one reason I’m so glad she has you in her being your gorgeous silver haired self and living up to your name, Joy. 🙂

    (reply)
  2. Joy  September 15, 2011

    Teri, I’m so glad to hear this from you, and especially that your daughter “gets it”. It grieves me to see young girls/women damaged by the belief that they have to buy into the marketing aimed at them. The result is a huge increase in slender girls on diets, their self-esteem influenced by comparison to models in magazines — an image that doesn’t match reality for most of us.

    (reply)
  3. http://diendan.tienkiem.net/entry.php?b=24681  March 8, 2013

    Thanks for your personal marvelous posting! I truly enjoyed reading it, you might be
    a great author.I will ensure that I bookmark your blog and
    may come back later on. I want to encourage one to continue your
    great work, have a nice weekend!

    (reply)

Add a Comment