A few weeks before my thirty sixth birthday, I woke up at my usual time of 6:00 am. It was a beautiful sunny Saturday morning, mid June. Sitting on the toilet and contemplating the day ahead, I looked down and there it was, a gray pubic hair. Instinctively I shouted at my crotch, " Nooooo ! This can't be happening. This is so fucked up. I haven't used you yet, you can't be aging !"
I have never been obsessed with age, for it is but a number. Yet, I have always been amazed with the notion of growing older, growing up. I remember the first time someone bestowed me with the ominous "ma'am". It was physically painful. I swore to never utter the word. Even if the woman I addressed was a hundred years old, I'd refer to her as Miss, and hopefully people will repay me in kindness. My niece and nephews call me by my first name, unadorned with any title. I actually cringe when called auntie by some misguided youth. It's not that I have no desire to be a ma'am or auntie, I simply don't feel like one. I never did.
I was in the fifth grade when the idea of elderliness first dawned on me. Meeting my best friends during recess, I kept tell them that, " We're in the FIFTH grade! I can't believe that we are in the fifth grade. This is so huge." They didn't respond with words, they just gave me what-the-fuck looks. Still, in the feeble mind of an eleven year old girl, fifth grade somehow amounted to the threshold of adulthood. It marked a point of no return, where all innocence was lost amidst the hardship of life. I can't help but wonder if certain milestones change who we grow up to be. I'm inclined to believe this is true. I wonder how different I'd be had I married and became a mother, had I studied Literature instead of Management, or had I stayed in touch with my childhood friends. The possibilities are limitless.
As the years passed, I didn't put much thought into aging. I didn't mind the additional responsibilities that came with each birthday. Yet, I desponded at the external displays of maturity we were expected to exhibit. Apparently adolescent young ladies could no longer have pig tails or wear jeans and sneakers everywhere. All of a sudden I was expected to have bangs and don skirts, stockings and high heels for crying out loud. The ability to balance one's self in high heels is allegedly a god-given gift to any woman. I acquiesced for a while until I discovered my own sense of style and confidence to dress for myself and not others. And yes, I have a special place in my heart for stilettos.
My family didn't make a huge deal out of birthdays. Nevertheless, I got a somewhat shindig for my sixteenth. I had a couple of friends over for cake and a bit of dancing. Although I turned sixteen that day, I didn't feel any different than I did at fourteen. Something must had been wrong with me. I was never a youthful person. I opted out of parties for the company of films and books. I was more at ease with my older sister and her friends than kids my own age. I always amused that I had an old soul. Yet, in my heart of hearts I knew that I was an eternal six year old. If I could, I would dress in nothing but shorts and t-shirts. I'd run everywhere instead of walk, and I'd skip into work every morning. I've always felt like this, regardless of my age. Thus my confusion in attempting to reconcile with the physical manifestation of my aging body.
I'm not the same person I was a year ago. I know that. I'm not the same person I was in college either. For one thing, I can hold my own in any discussion on most subjects, or at least I can fake interest.I have discovered my self esteem and can admit mistakes and defeat with grace. I'm at ease with who I am. However, each wrinkle that appears on my brow fills my heart with dread that my body is conspiring against me. Now, that I have finally learned how to enjoy life, my body is getting in the way. It's becoming a hindrance. I can no longer read for hours on end without getting glass-burns (red irritation on my nose where my glasses rest). I can barely walk up a flight of stairs without taking a moment to catch my breathe. I can't be outside without sunblock. I reaped what I sowed. I abused my body when I was younger. I neglected to exercise and indulged in every unhealthy food choice available. And for that, I'm truly sorry. I vow to turn back time as much as I can. I have commenced my first every beauty regime of facial cremes and body-basting lotions. I workout on regular bases, and eat consciously. Most importantly, I allow myself to embrace happiness where ever I may find it. I allow myself to laugh without the concern of crowfeet. I allow myself , a well-read perpetual six year old silly old fart with a decaying molecular structure, to be the person I am without loathing or judgement. I'll never be able to align the internal and eternal me with my external self, and that's just fine. For I am who I am and will always be.