Okay, so that title is a little misleading. First of all, I’m too cheap for Land’s End, second, I’m a Target addict anyway, so you know my business-butch uniform is Mossimo and Merona 4lyfe, y’all.
Third, I’m not really into worshipping anything, including Satan. (Even though Baphomet is exactly the kind of dreamy bad boy I would have happily brought home to meet my mother in high school, where she would have almost certainly been like, listen up Spazzy Star, your boyfriend’s eyeliner is a little crooked, and you better not have sex in my house because you know the rules. And then I would say, UGH, you don’t even understand me, and break up with Baphomet for being really polite to my mom and thanking her for the warm chocolate chip cookies.)
All of this is to say that getting older is a weird thing. I simultaneously feel like I am adulting the hell out of things, and like I need an adult, because what am I actually doing, and who let me raise children and manage people and own a car and definitely WHO GAVE ME CREDIT CARDS?
I used to think that I wouldn’t freak out about getting older. I mean, what’s the big deal? Most of it, so far, is pretty awesome. But I find myself concerned about maybe this being my midpoint. Can I really already be halfway through life? Is that being too generous with myself given family health history, my deep abiding affection for snacks, and the unkind way I’ve treated my body for the first half? I don’t know about you, but the existential dread has been creeping up, and folks, I’m probably going to die some day and right now, I am not about that.
Only slightly less worrisome than dying, I can no longer inhale an entire pizza. Not I can no longer eat a whole pizza and not gain weight, because those genetics were never mine to play with, but specifically if I even try I will die of heartburn. What the fuck is this heartburn shit? Why am I humming the Alka Seltzer song as those tablets plop and fizz? Also, apparently blood sugar is a thing not to be trifled with, and I am fond of trifling with things.
I also said I wouldn’t care when my face started to age, and for the most part, that’s true, but I find myself being proud of looking young, and what the hell is that garbage, brain? I’m sure that’s in no way related to the fact aging as a woman can be akin to disappearing. Except to cat callers. Those assholes are out to harass anyone, young or old. I hate those guys.
When I go all the way into the rabbit hole, I think about the way older people are infantilized to an extent– oh, are those old people adorable? Man, call me adorable when I’m eighty and I will slap you with my walker. There’s a societal diminishment that occurs when people “age out.” They are relegated to stereotype boxes, the full force of their personalities and experiences distilled into consumable stories; the cute, feisty old person, or the cute, sweet old person, without regard for nuance. No one person is that flat, especially if they’ve lived eighty years.
Actively aging women are ridiculed for trying to appear younger, to maintain their youth, the moment it becomes apparent there’s an effort factor. You should buy this anti-wrinkle cream, but fuck you if you admit to using it, and double fuck you if you get any work done. How dare you not maintain youthful suppleness through will power, you old bitches. Middle age is like a long stretch of missing the mark. It’s not that I dislike my appearance as I age, more so I don’t like that there’s a presumption that I somehow lose value from the time I stop looking twenty-five to the point at which I achieve Helen Mirren status. (Okay, that is not going to happen. Helen Mirren came from the sea, not from humanity, and you’re crazy if you think otherwise. She is clearly a divine mermaid or sea unicorn sent to walk among us mortals.)
In the meantime, I’ll hang out here in acceptable age lady limbo– at least I’m in good company. And yes, I’ve been using a lot of moisturizer lately, thanks for asking.