A friend posted an article about the experience women have getting older (http://www.refinery29.com/2016/09/121633/stacy-london-style-aging-story?mc_cid=1bcdc9acf6&mc_eid=9566b5b4f4), and also on non-traditional lifestyles for women. It’s just a little bit unfocused, declaring at one juncture, “Sociobiologically speaking, in caveman days, if we could no longer bear children our use-value dropped sharply and inevitably,” then, at the beginning of the very next paragraph, “What’s so bad about growing older when it’s revered in almost every society except ours?” Still, as an older … middle aged … woman who has gotten through most of her adulthood unmarried, unpartnered, and certainly unchildrened, I snug right into this demographic, even if my love of consistency and lack of fashion sense leaves me with an eyebrow raised at the article.
It brings out the right note of ambivalence for me. I never intended this path, but here I am, and truly, while it has a generous share of lonely, there are some very nice things about where I am and who I am. As the article says, you can’t imagine being 47 when you are 27. Maybe even those who ended up exactly where they expected to be get to this point have to reimagine their sense of themselves.
Articles like this bring all the niggly little questions up. I wonder if I should continue to take the occasional (surely it is only occasional) selfie or to ask friends to take photos of me, and then post those photos on social media. There’s that nagging doubt that perhaps I should apologize for the grey hairs that are appearing in my eyebrows, the lines appearing on my face, especially those in the middle of my forehead, my slightly crooked front teeth, my stomach, and all the other physical imperfections.
Seriously? Not a bit, but I do have to admit my own inner critic often has a lot to say on those topics, especially as I begin to see age creep into my face. Even when I recognize it’s ridiculous, getting beauty culture out of my head and that inner critic to pipe down is often tough. For women, being wanted and being worthy are so intermingled with being pretty. (see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M6wJl37N9C0). Even when we know better.
While we’re at it, this.