Today, while I was getting ready for work, I had to acknowledge that the days of having the occasional bad hair/bad makeup days are gone, and I pretty much live in that era now. The fluorescent lighting in my bathroom has no pity on me each morning as I get dressed, and I’ve watched over the years as the wrinkles around my eyes have dug in mercilessly, and my hair has thinned with age. Don’t get me wrong. I’m okay with that. I’ve earned each trench with years of laughter and tears, and the fact that I even have any hair left after billions of motorcycle rides across America is a miracle; and I wouldn’t trade anything for those experiences. It’s just I have to accept that I will never be considered young again, no matter how I feel inside.
Aging is a weird thing, and to say I haven’t been just a little terrified by it is a big fat lie. I live in a country that places a huge emphasis on a woman’s looks to estimate her value, and while I’ve actively preached against this, I’d be a hypocrite to say I didn’t also benefit from it as well. Thanks to genetics, I was always considered pretty. I know that factored into some of the jobs I landed, some of the promotions I got, some of the pay raises I scored, and some of the leniency I was shown in court. Yep. I’ve broken the law before, and I’ve honestly been shown a lot more mercy than other people have been.
It’s a real mind-twist to benefit from something you know isn’t right but still not want to not benefit from it. I still wanted those jobs, promotions, and raises. I didn’t want to go to jail. I just wanted those things for everyone, no matter what they looked like.
My mom was very beautiful, as are both of my sisters, and honestly, I really wasn’t growing up. I blossomed later, like the proverbial ugly duckling. Maybe that’s why she gave me the very excellent advice to always cultivate the things that we would have forever – our character. She told me to work on the inside – be kind, be gentle, be patient, be wise, be graceful, be compassionate. The outside will be beautiful like a flower for only a very little while and if the inside isn’t just as pretty, you will be left with nothing. I appreciate the advice, and I’m entering the time when her wisdom is proving true. I’m okay with letting the outside fade away. It had its day in the sun, but that is gone now, and still I am not left with nothing. 🙂