Tuesday, April 11, 2006

The woman in the mirror is not the woman in my head

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Who is that looking back at me? As I dried my hair after my shower today I kept looking in the mirror trying to figure out what was wrong. I'm almost 50. That's part of what is wrong. I don’t feel 50. I feel just as energetic, sexual and interested in life as I did at 30. But there have been some changes. This is nothing new to women. We all go through the discovery of "laugh lines." (I didn’t laugh when I found them.) And sometimes I feel like my ass is running down the back of my legs. I exercise so I know this is not true. It just isn't where it used to be. There are other parts of my body which I refuse to name that aren’t exactly were they used to be either.

There was a time in my life when a glance from a strange man was a compliment. Now, some days, I feel like it's a miracle. It's funny to see these young girls in their hip hugger blue jeans. They think they invented the style. One of the worst fights I ever had with my mother was over a pair of brown suede hip hugger jeans. They were gorgeous. She hated them. I look at these kids with their bare bellies and low-slung jeans and I just want to throw a coat over them. I have turned into my mother. Somebody shoot me. Am I turning into a prude? I tell myself it's for their safety. They don’t realize how they look to boys their age or sick puppies like Mr. Homeland Security who was recently arrested for chatting porn with an alleged 14-year-old.

Anyway, back to me. Men like looking at younger girls. Not almost 50-year-olds. Kind of takes the fun out of being 50. No one questions my authority anymore. That's fun. I make my own rules in my own house. That’s definitely fun. But I don’t look on the outside like I feel on the inside. No fun. Sure — plastic surgery is an option. I fear looking into the mirror after one of those surgeries and not recognizing at all the face looking back. Now I’ll have to settle for what I used to complain about years ago. I wanted somebody to appreciate me for my brains — not just my body. I guess my wish has come true. Damn!

— Mary Madonna

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