Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Going downhill fast

I keep waiting. Each moment of the day, I wait for my all too honest students to say something about the way I look. I am getting old. It seems I am witnessing a conspiracy. All my wrinkles are in communication with each other. Each day, I wake up and there are more of them. I am a firm believer in being the age I am. After much thought, I realize the discomfort of looking old comes from the borage of youth oriented media I see and hear every day. Has anyone else noticed 30-something actresses on commercials recommending the lastest wrinkle cream? Oh geesh, come on now! What the hell?? Show me someone who really needs wrinkle cream all you advertising assholes! I am being sucked into the B.S. Shame on me!! Hell! To be honest, I am shocked I lived this long! I never thought I would live past 40. Really! So now, it is all icing at this point.
My mentor is MAUDE as in “Harold and Maude”. I am so in tune to her spirit, I often ask myself “What would Maude do?” She didn’t give a flying flip about wrinkles. If you have ever seen the movie, she prances naked in front of her sculptor friend as if she was a twenty something vixen. Despite her 79 years, she was just there. She was the woman she had grown to be. She had no regrets. In fact, her pride allowed her to seduce poor, young Harold. Yet this seduction wasn’t crass or obscene. It was a real, human, attraction. Age played no part in the drama. Ruth Gordon played the character of Maude. I always related to her. She was ordinary and little. She was told she was too short to ever be a leading lady. At 4’9”, I can relate to that physical limitation. She didn’t care though. She went on to become a great actress. She is one of my heroes. Even in my twenties, I wanted to be her. It is terrible that most of American society doesn’t prize those who hold her attributes. Physically and youth seems to be the end all and be all now.
I have no desire to find a Harold. I just want to be able to live my life with the confidence of Maude. I want to be able to live in my little bungalow with my memorabilia, tell stories of my past, and coyly smile when I am over seventy and asked about sex. I really want that.
I learned a new word today.
physiognomy \fiz-ee-OG-nuh-mee; -ON-uh-mee\, noun:
1. The art of discovering temperament and other characteristic qualities of the mind from the outward appearance, especially by the features of the face.
2. The face or facial features, especially when regarded as indicating character.
3. The general appearance or aspect of a thing.

I like this word. YES! My physiognomy tells the secrets and tales of my life. Sometimes I think wrinkles and aging are God’s cruel joke. I look in the mirror and realize how I have always been so animated and expressive. This is a good thing! Yet, these acts of emotion have caused my face to be scarred with the emotions of my years. Oh well. No plastic surgery for me! Right Maude????


Linda Fleming said...

I am dealing with this same issue- I dread looking in the mirror these days. I have to laugh at the commercials for wrinkle creams - the models are barely out of their teens! And we are supposed to believe that if we buy brand x we will look like them? Ha! Adverstisers must believe that aging women are not only wrinkled but also stupid and gullible.

I have been reading your blog for awhile now, and really enjoy your writing and work,but haven't commented before. For some reason, I am always hesitant to comment on someone's blog if I don't know them. I love your work!

Martha Marshall said...

Sheree, I feel sad for young women who want to erase any signs of life from their faces and other body parts. In a 60-plus face not altered by Botox and plastic surgery, it's always a joy to see laugh lines. The most beautiful faces bear the authentic marks of a full life.

Sheree Rensel said...

Oh geesh!! Thanks to both of you for posting your comments!
Don't dread looking in the mirror. Look at yourself and then just be you. Look and smile at the reflection! That is what I am trying to do! That is the point of my post. I am tired of the BS. Looking my age is not a SIN. I look the way I look. I haven't changed in other ways except to grow wiser and smarter. In fact, I like myself better now than when I was 30! I am trying to remind myself that those who judge me because of my wrinkles aren't the kind of people I care about anyway. That is the truth!! Also, thank you so much for posting a comment. I write and write and write. I know people are reading, but it means so much when someone says they do read my blah, blah, blah!!! :-)
I feel sad too. I feel especially sad for woman my daughter's age. She will have to live her entire life with this "YOUTH" crap haunting her. At least, I found myself before this was such an issue. It even irks me when I see shows like OPRAH when she promotes show topics like: "Woman who look young for their age!!" What the hell is that all about? I always respected Oprah for her mind and spirit. However, when she has shows like this I want to scream at the TV and ask her "Why can't you show women who LOOK their age because they have accomplished great things in their life (and didn’t have the time, money, or interest in being self-absorbed with their looks).
All this is just exhausting, but funny. Like I said, I am going with the Maude philosophy. I am just going to LIVE my life. If someone has a problem because I look "too old" for whatever, that is their problem. Not mine!

Eero said...

What truly worries me is the flip-side of youth worship in our culture: the lack of respect for our elders! I think there needs to be more consulting of the elderly for information and decisions...they have the most perspective and experience. Youth worship is based on energy, style, activity, beauty, money. Sadly excluded from that list is wisdom that comes with age and experience.

I'm 35 and have worked outdoors for years, as well as playing outdoors for years! My face is more 'weathered' than other women my age. I think I look more and more like the interior ME.(That's good and bad!)

I saw Harold and Maude when I was 10 and TOTALLY fell in love with Maude. Who wouldn't? Luckily, I have a very short and very vibrant Mom who may just become a Maude pretty soon!