Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Mirror, mirror

is it inevitable that the mother of a teenager thinks about aging quite a bit? After all, we see it unfold rapidly in front of us with our children. The transformation from child to adult in the teen years seems to unfold at the pace of old silent movies. I have to wonder if it's carrying me along so quickly as well.

I got out of the habit of looking at myself for years. It was just too depressing to have transformed from an appealing, voluptuous young woman to some frump who looked haggard, frustrated and angry. I could do it only in bits and pieces. An unplucked eyebrow would loom in the magnifying mirror. The hem of my dress would be caught in a quick glance over my shoulder, a manicure and comparatively delicate wrist noted with a beguiling stretched arm., the curve of ankle over a pretty heel regarded in a shoe store mirror that kept the focus on the product. Even when forced to take in my entire image at one shot, like in a dressing room mirror, I'd still break it down to how a garment fit where. Shoulders OK, snug at the bust, waist too high, nice drape over the hips, oops, no ass at all in this, hem at the wide spot of my calf...that can be fixed...this might do...yes to this, no to that.

Now, I find myself changing again, and someone sort of familiar and sort of not looks back at me from the mirror. I admit I'm compelled both with seeing who I used to be and who I am becoming. Age has both paled and mottled me, added moles, gray hairs and lines and reshaped everything. It's a lot to take in. It's not all bad. In noticing the changes from where I was and to where I will be, I can't help wondering just how much of the present I'm missing. That's another moment for faith though. I just believe that my self-recognition will catch up to me when I need it.

I see the old lady I'll be, bejowled and with a wavering neck. The lines around my mouth are pulling down more and more, but there's a tiny, tiny upturn at the corner of my lip that's never been there before. It hides where Mrs. Darling's kiss did, and I think that's where I'll always carry a piece of my youth, the one I was too dumb to appreciate when I had it. I'll have glorious laugh lines that shoot out from my eyes and spread across my temples and cheeks. My smile will have truly carved itself on my face. The lines on my forehead are near my hairline. They give me a rather quizzical expression as if I frequently look wide eyed and surprised at what the world places in front of me. I guess it's true. I'll wear my ponderings on my forehead, showing both thought and pleasure. I think I'll like the old lady who's lurking behind the mirror. I know I liked the girl I was. I just didn't know it at the time.

I'm seeing these changes because they're physical ones, but I know that the real changes are the ones that happen inside. It's exciting to me to know that in many ways, I'm coming home to myself again. This is not just in terms of my health and size, but in being the person I thought I would be. I'm also getting a hint inside this thick skull that I still have the ability to become someone I hadn't expected as well, someone strong who manages disappointment and fear, someone whose niceness is not quite virtue or vice, someone with a better sense of humor than expected and someone with grace, just not the physical kind. I sure didn't expect to see that.

,

5 Comments:

Blogger Lisa :-] said...

I look in the mirror and see...that I'm getting old. Not particularly exciting. When I look inside myself, especially with the things I've rediscovered in the past nine months, I see things that are pretty darned exciting...

The best years of our lives? (though you're a few behind me...)

April 24, 2007 11:31 PM  
Blogger Gannet Girl said...

Isn't it amazing?

I'm certainly not pleased with the physical me. But I am stunned by the interior me.

Yesterday as I thought about three Major Things that bother me, ways that I respond out of old patterns and hurts, I suddenly realized that I can reinterpret my past and myself and change those patterned responses. I think that has to do with what you are talking about: becoming someone with grace.

I have also realized, in this past year of major transition, how positively people respond to my contributions and how often they ask me for something else. The response is obviously to an interior something, since little Miss America in a bikini I ain't.

I think this stage of life is incredble.

Now if only I could retain two or three memory cells and sleep through an entire night ... .

April 25, 2007 6:07 AM  
Blogger Charlene said...

The older I get, the more like me I become.

April 25, 2007 10:04 AM  
Blogger sunflowerkat said...

For me...the physical changes kind of shock me sometimes. I haven't gotten to a place where I've made much peace with what's happening on the outside, or where I'm destined to go. Sometimes I wonder if I'll every figure any of it out. I think taking a big leap of faith at this point in life is probably a very good thing.

April 25, 2007 4:59 PM  
Blogger emmapeelDallas said...

What a great post! You've described, so well, the combination of physical and psychological changes that occur as we begin to get old, or perhaps as we begin to be aware that we're getting older. I'm getting along to well (and it's such a pleasant surprise that this has happened!) with my younger daughter, who's living with me now that she's getting divorced. We've talked about it a lot, and she said one night, "Part of it, Mom, is that you're now so comfortable with yourself that you're comfortable to be around..."

A nice compliment, and true, and what you're describing sounds very much like that...

Judi

April 26, 2007 2:23 AM  

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