Wednesday, March 28, 2012

On Aging

I hate that I’m getting old. Truly. I think I hit my peak at 35. That’s when I felt the best about the way I looked and I actually felt the best physically. Ironically, that’s when I escaped my second husband and my emotional/mental state was in tatters. My physical state has been all downhill since then. I’ve put on approximately 60 pounds. SIXTY!!! I am always tired. I can get eight hours of sleep, wake up, have a smoke with a cup of coffee and be ready for a nap. I’ve become super reclusive, feeling like it’s just too much effort and energy to even keep up my end of a conversation, let alone make myself presentable and go out in public.

I know I’m really not “old”. My grandma is “old”. She’s 97 and still lives in her own home by herself, still makes quilts, sews and does clothing alterations. My dad is kind of “old”. He’s 76 and still working full time in a physically demanding job, taking care of my none-too-healthy mom, tending to his huge garden, and basically running from 5:00 a.m. to after 10:00 p.m. every day. I’m not “old” old. I’m middle-aged. But I FEEL old. And I’m starting to LOOK old. I don’t think I’ve ever looked fantastic, but THIS… the way I look now… is downright disheartening.

I’m a grandma now. When I think of me as a grandma, I think of this:

I don’t think I look quite THAT old, but give me a couple years. I’m slipping down that old age slope quicker than shit on a shovel. And this post is my own shameless bitch and moan pity party about age and those damn hormones and the havoc they are wreaking on my body.

1. MY HAIR: Not only are the course, wiry, gray hairs invading my scalp, my dark hair is falling out at an alarming rate.

2. MY FACE: Permanent, deep creases in my forehead, crows feet around my eyes, frown lines around my mouth, vertical lines on my upper lip. Droopy, puffy eyelids, giant pores and broken blood vessels combined with my old freckles, some new age spots and an occasional pimple… REALLY? I’ve got all the wrinkles and loss of elasticity and STILL have to deal with acne at my age? You’ve GOT to be kidding! Plus, I’ve developed a really nice growth of fine, white peach-like fuzz all over my face, so now, instead of just waxing my upper lip and plucking my eyebrows about EVERY OTHER DAY, I need to start having my ENTIRE FACE waxed frequently! Fabulous! And could I HAVE any more nose hair?! I’ve had to get that waxed for the last few years already. My earlobes are getting droopy and have permanent lines radiating out from where I have piercing holes. God, I hope I don’t have gross ear hair growing in there too. I wouldn’t know because I can’t see in my own ears, but with my luck, I probably do.

3. MY NECK: Okay, to be fair, I’ve hated my neck since I was about 13, so it’s not just an “age” thing. However, gravity isn’t helping any! I don’t have a decent jaw line and so I always look like I have a double chin. YES, EVEN WHEN I AM SUPER THIN. It isn’t a weight thing, although when I am overweight (as I have been for a few years now), it looks even worse than normal. I look like a giant toad with its throat all puffed out. EWWWW!

And short of plastic surgery (where the doctors literally lace up my neck muscles like a SHOE through an incision under my tongue and then suck out all the extra fat with a sterile shop vac thingy, then cut off the extra skin and staple everything up behind my ears), which I don’t have the money or time for, there is NOTHING that can be done. My neck wattle has been the NUMBER ONE thing I detest about my physical appearance for close to 30 YEARS. You would think that I would be used to it by now and just ACCEPT it, but it has been the one CONSTANT source of unhappiness about my physical self, and like everything else, OLD AGE is making it worse.

4. MY MOUTH: I had a tooth die on me several years ago when I had no insurance and couldn’t afford a root canal/crown. It crumbled and I was left with the root, which had to be pulled. Now my right side is my “redneck” side (big missing tooth right behind my canine tooth). I have also managed to grind my teeth down to jagged, chipped stumps due to my constantly clenching my jaw shut because it’s the only thing I’ve found that makes my TURKEY NECK look less like a turkey neck. I need crowns on eight of my front teeth just to make them look decent. And those puppies are pricey.

5. MY FRONT TORSO: Large, somewhat saggy and severely stretch-marked twins (the right of which has a funky scar from a lumpectomy when I was in my twenties). Stomach matches boobs in that it’s large and severely stretch-marked. It also looks like I am currently expecting another kid regardless of the fact that I got “fixed” several years ago. Even when I was super thin in my thirties, my belly had the texture and consistency of an old, deflated balloon half filled with chunky vomit. I find it very difficult to find anything to appreciate in the stretch marks that run from my stomach to my upper thighs and around and across my inordinately large ass. That area looks like a living, breathing, three-dimensional map of the Mississippi River and its tributaries.

6. MY BACK TORSO: Apparently it’s in my genetic disposition to carry a LOT of my weight on my back. Fat rolls encasing more fat rolls. Sun damaged and dry like the Sahara because I can’t reach all the way around there to put on lotion. And if I didn’t feel self-conscious enough about myself, when I asked my little girls to apply some lotion to my back, they asked if we had any RUBBER GLOVES! Apparently my own children are repulsed by me. Ingrates.

7. MY ARMS: Covered with freckles, tiny scars and now tiny bumps. Yay! My upper arms measure about the same as a normal woman’s THIGHS. I am NOT kidding. My elbows are constantly dry and cracked no matter how much I exfoliate and lubricate. My hands look like they belong to Ebenezer Scrooge. Like my elbows, no amount of care or expense of products will make them look and feel like they should.

8. MY ASS: Let me just say that I am SO embarrassed by the look of my butt, that I would literally rather flash my tits to someone than moon them. And then there’s the extra kick in my huge, cellulite-ridden buttocks… the fact that they seem to be growing increasingly hairy by the freakin’ day. When I shave, I end up with a TON of shave bumps/razor burn and several ingrown hairs which make it look even more horrifying! I could get my butt waxed every few weeks, or laser hair removal, but those solutions would require a lot of money I don’t have and, even worse… allowing someone else to witness the terror that is my ass.

9. MY LEGS: I possess the thighs of a 300 pound person. True Story! My upper thighs are so out of proportion to the rest of my body that it’s nearly impossible to find pants to fit. If they fit my thighs, they’re about eight inches too big around the waist and I could fit my two youngest kids in the calves of them. If I find a pair that fits everywhere else, the thigh seams are destined to burst the first time I sit down. And can we talk about HAIR again?! Why, in the name of all that is holy, do I have to grow MORE hair the older I get? What is THAT about?! My “bikini line” has been creeping steadily closer and closer to my freakin’ KNEES since my mid-thirties! This is OUT OF CONTROL. My kids want me to go swimming with them and it takes me about three HOURS to shave enough hair off my body that I can be seen in a swimsuit without someone trying to shoot me with a silver bullet!

And just like with my butt, I shave and end up with a shave rash that stings and itches so bad it makes me long for a spinal block. Should I just let it grow out for a few months and run away with the circus freak show?

10. MY FEET. I used to love my feet. My left foot has a bone spur (read BUNION), which makes finding shoes difficult because that foot is about an inch wider at the ball than my right foot. I cannot wear heels over about an inch. I wore an adorable pair of high heels to my wedding in 2009, and felt a strange “POP” in my big toe area. Since that time, my big toe and the arch of my foot are tingly and numb. The bottoms of my feet have thick calluses that no amount of scraping with a Ped Egg will cure. I’ve tried all kinds of foot creams and within a couple days of giving myself a full pedicure, my feet look like Hobbit feet again. Yep, I even have to shave the tops of my big toes. Disgusting!

So now anyone who frequents my blog knows the secret of all my disgusting physical disfigurements. If you see me on the street, you are welcome to give me a “knowing nod” and giggle. No torches or pitchforks, PLEASE!