I was listening to the song “This is your life” by Switchfoot this morning as I was putting on make-up, and it put me in this really pensive mood.
Yesterday is a wrinkle on your forehead…
I always found it amusing how women in films would obsess over their looks, and panic at the sight of a wrinkle. “Don’t frown, you’ll get wrinkles” is a common phrase, and celebrities and others are injecting botox, which is in fact a toxin, into their skin to look younger. I never understood it, the concept of worrying about wrinkles was as foreign to me the concept of overeating is to a starved child. I knew that I would grow up and get old one day, but I never really understood that my skin would change.
I’m still not old, and I barely have anything that could classify as wrinkles, but I have suddenly gotten these two lines at the corner of my eyes, and I don’t know when they got there. They suddenly just appeared, out of the blue, and knocked me on my ass. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not panicking over the fact that I will eventually become old and wrinkly, but the lines are there, and I’d rather they weren’t.
This reaction I had surprised me, I never thought I would mind getting wrinkles, or growing old, but suddenly I understand those women who panic and smear every anti-ageing serum they can get their hands on over their skin, hoping it will somehow cover up the merciless signs of passing time.
Not too long ago, I was leaving work with a close friend of mine. It had been a long day, and I had spent the last half an hour with my back to the corner, desperately trying to put some distance between me and a customer who claimed to be looking for a particular book, but spent the entire time staring at my boobs rather than the bookshelves. Eventually, the clock struck the magical number of freedom, and I could excuse myself and leave. As we got outside, we met a teacher who taught me literature the previous year, so we stopped and chatted with her, and five minutes into the conversation she exclaimed; “Why, I can see that she resembles you.” My friend and I both must have looked extremely confused, because she clarified “yes, she is your daughter, right?” I could have died right there and then. Sure, my friend is short, but she is also four years older than me. I’m 22, and I haven’t even been in a serious relationship, I certainly don’t have an adult daughter!
Teachers should not be allowed to talk to students outside of classes. That episode, added to the fact that the people I went to high school with are all starting to settle down and have children must have upset me more than I thought, because that’s when I started checking the mirror for wrinkles.
You are not supposed to grow old with dignity in today’s society, women are expected to fight against the signs of ageing with teeth and claws (pearly white teeth and well manicured claws of course), until a certain point when we must give up, and just accept the fact that we are old. But when is it okay to give up on that fight? And at what age are you supposed to start?
In Wicca and other Pagan religions we talk about The Maiden, The Mother and The Crone, and we respect and love all three of them as different aspects of the Goddess, and ourselves. But I don’t think I’ll ever have children, I don’t even know if I can have them, seeing as I have PCOS. So then what? Do I skip from maiden to crone? And at what point do you change status? When can you no longer be classified as a young woman, and at what point do you have do describe yourself as an old lady?
I would love to hear your thoughts on these questions.