Thinned Skinned, Moon Faced, Bloated and Down in the Dumps

Nude Woman with Necklace 1968 by Pablo Picasso 1881-1973
Nude Woman with Necklace 1968 Pablo Picasso 1881-1973 Purchased 1983

Let me be the first to say (so that you don’t feel obliged to) I have the tendency to feel and sometimes express, the very human emotion, of vanity.  

I don’t think this necessarily makes me a bad or totally shallow person… maybe just a bit of a cliché.  It’s not vanity in the sense that I believe it’s overly unhealthy or self-destructive… but more of an honest, evaluative, examination of my physical self.  One that is usually humorous and a perhaps a little self-deprecating.

Okay… so maybe, a little bit unhealthy. 

I think it may stem from the era I grew up in, as I was right on the cusp of the “Fab 50’s,” and the “Turbulent 60s.”

Women’s perceptions of themselves were changing at warp speed and as a young girl of 12-13,  it was hard for me to keep up with what my perceptions, about myself, were “supposed” to be.

My early 1960’s role models (mostly the “wanna-be-girlfriends” of my two older brothers) were all about “looks.”  Pointy boobs, tight sweaters, lots of make-up, tiny waists, no opinion and BIG HAIR!  They chased after both of my handsome brothers, continuously.  And I had an endless supply of 15-16 year old girls, who wanted to be my “big sister.”  Oh yeah, sure, their motives were about as pure as “yellow snow,” but I got taken downtown and out for ice-cream, in exchange for some innocent information about who might be calling/coming to my house.

As I got older (15-16) and grew bored with my high school classmates, because we didn’t seem to have a lot in common. {I was interested in the politics, the Vietnam War and social injustices, oh, yes, and smoking pot; many of them were more interested in shopping, dating the most popular jock and what to wear to the football game, Friday night}.

I sought out, older, more well-rounded and cerebral, women of substance.  I found them them and they were fabulous!  They were awe-inspiring, intelligent, insightful and innovative…  but if I’m totally honest, they were also almost as insecure as the rest us.

It makes total sense, really!

They were the “trailblazers,” single handily trying to change America’s chauvinistic, stereotypical, perceptions about women while (they themselves, still quite young) were  grappling with their own self-confidence, sexuality, body image issues, desirability and their ultimate value to society. (Regardless of the radical social changes taking place in our country, they were still expected to get married and have children…  soon!

It was all new. Cutting edge. There was no rulebook. We all played it by ear.

I exited that wonderful, crazy, exciting, chaotic time…  and came out the other side with an incredible sense of self; a strong, capable mind, an independent, fearless spirit and overall a pretty self-sufficient, self-confident woman!

I, like many of my “sisters” however…  still looked in the mirror with a critical eye.  One that I would never wholly abandon.

If you’re not there yet, you will find that growing older (especially if you’re a women) will present you with a whole host of distinctive and contradictory conundrums!  It’s a freakin battlefield, filled with the undetonated warheads of our sisters, who came  before us.

I won’t go into the detail here, as I have written about it previously…  (Well, of course I’ve written about it!!!!) the inevitable, invisibility that we as women face in our “golden” years.  If you’re so inclined, you will find that particular rant, HERE  

…but as if growing older weren’t hard enough, growing older with one (or in my case two!)  auto-immune diseases (that are running rampant through your body; while the only treatment option available is slowly, but surely poisoning you!) is complete and absolute, bollocks!

We are forced, to helplessly watch, as everyday something else fails or deteriorates.

We try not to be critical.  Tell ourselves, “Beauty’s only skin deep,” “All that glitters is not gold,” “Appearances are deceptive,” “This is only temporary.” etc.  but all the time knowing (KNOWING) that our very own body, is totally fucking us over!

POW! BANG! KA BOOM! ZAP! BLAM!  …you can almost hear the thrashing as it takes place!

A virtual, acquaintance (whom I am just getting to know, but already admire and respect) recently summed it up like this;

“…but as women conditioned to be hyper aware of our appearances (and to internalize a lot of negatives about getting or being old (in a youth oriented and hyper-sexualised world) we cannot ever be completely immune to how we think we “‘look” or “should “look.”

It is so true.

No matter how hard we try (or how old we get) I doubt we will ever be entirely free from that “evaluative, examination of our physical self.”  It’s inbred in us and constantly reinforced by society.

We will forever look into that mirror and find fault with something… maybe it’s that thin skin that breaks open and bruises, oh, so easily.  Perhaps it’s that big ol “moon face,” that appears to be laughing at us, from the other side of the mirror;  or maybe it’s the fact that many of us can’t see our toes anymore, because of our severely bloated “roid” bellies.

Whatever it is… let’s acknowledge it and then (try to) let it go,  because as she said “we cannot ever be completely immune to how we think we “‘look” or “should “look.”  … but we can take away its power by simply recognizing it and releasing it into the universe.

On this, Thursday,  March 8th,  International Women’s Day 2018  let’s give ourselves a break, let’s just for today, be happy with who and what we are and bask in fact that we know the world is so much better off because of all of us!






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