Thursday, November 06, 2008

Birthday Wishes


Phillies won. Obama won. The stars are in the heavens and everything is all right with the world. I lost in Vegas. I took hundreds of photos and I am featured in exactly four. I am not pleased with the image but it is me as I wrap up the 48th year of my life. I am nearly fifty and I look okay. I look 50. I like the way my smile, nearly unchanged since the photo on my fridge that Uncle Buzzy gave me. I am just one year old and I look nearly the same except my eyes have shrunk and my chin has disappeared. I like the smile because it is devilish and that part of me is unmistakable. It is kept under wraps some of the time but it is there and if anyone would bother to notice, they'd see it too.

The gift I have given myself this year is one of freedom. I cut my hair very short, sort of boyish. I am planning a surprise. I quit dying my hair. Soon I will surprise even myself as the image in the mirror changes from raven to white, or some place in between as the days go by. I've heard dire warnings from close friends and lovers. You will look old. You will look like an old commare. You will look like a grandma, says my sexiest friend, who actually is a grandma.

I spend a lot of time these days peering into the 10X magnifying mirror. I part the spikes in my hair and look at my scalp where the real me struggles to come through. Mostly white, I think, but I can't be sure just yet. I feel excited when I look at my real hair, like something special is happening to my body. A lot like when I first was pregnant and gazed in wonder at the small bump on my lower abdomen.

I feel brave. I wonder why women, myself included, feel so pressured to color their hair. Dark hair doesn't make me any younger and in truth, at this juncture, my value lies less in the way I look and more solidly in what I have accomplished and where I have been. What I have survived, lived through. Flourished.

I feel scary. I am thickening up my skin for the inevitable mistakes people will make. The age I may become in others eyes. Old. I like old. Antiques. Vintage linens. Old photos. Obama and I are the same age. He looks younger.

So then someone told me about Jamie Lee Curtis and the funny thing about it is that I am not much for Hollywood and don't follow pop culture too much but I was always sort of fond of Jamie Lee Curtis since watching "Trading Places". And Cher too, but that's another story. Anyway, Jamie Lee and I are the same age. Exactly actually. We have the same birthday and so I find out that she went gray too. I haven't seen pictures yet, but I know she is very thin and that kind of eliminates the old grandma look. I am not so fortunate.

I am testing myself. Trying to know if I have the confidence to be old in a culture that devalues aging. Wish me luck...

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

kudos....it is not about the wrapping paper but the gift, even than it's not about the gift but the thought that counts.

Anonymous said...

You know I love you and I will love you no matter what...but you need to dye your hair!!! This isn't a gift and your hair is not wrapping paper...DYE IT!!

amy fulcomer said...

Go for it. It's about time we have a real woman with great self esteem! I really do admire you. Being a new grandma, people ask me does it bother me that I'm a grandmom at 43 - hell no! Just another person to watch grow and see the world thru her eyes. Children don't know how lucky they have it - they don't care about hair color, clothing or weight! Of course, this little loves to cry - if she only knew what woman have to face when they grow up.

Anonymous said...

Well sister I just cut my hair off today. I too decided that long hair, dark hair, whatever is what makes us what we are inside. I feel liberated from all that stuff on my head and I look younger or so everyone says. I think I look that same.

The middle sister that can't remember her password. Who says we are getting old

Barbara said...

Amy is right, children do not worry about such things; that is the beauty of youth. I don't mind being a grandma either but I don't have to look like one! Being a real woman and having self esteem does not come from me dying my hair...it comes from within. You my friend are menopausal...this too shall pass! And you are coming to the end of your 47th year not your 48th (that is just starting)please don't rush us! I am fighting this and I will fight the fight for you until you come to your senses and DYE YOUR HAIR!!I love you Lorraine and I admire you too....now dye your hair you cammare! :) Congrats Amy & Tom!

CLB said...

Just because we are nearing 50 does not mean we have to let ourselves go! Dying your hair is merely the small effort we still are willing to make to look our best. I am sure you are certainly not spending the time ironing that perfect crease into your denims anymore!! Dye your hair, and by the way, please try again at what year of your life you are in. Again, that math problem of yours!!

prochordbabe said...

I am happy for you. Your on the path of self-realization and its a journey we all hope to attain! I am not yet ready to let my gray show thru yet as I'm still trying to convince myself that the mid-life curves that are forming on my body were depicted for years in art history as being beautiful! You are realizing that beauty is really from within and Lorraine, you are truly beautiful!

Lisa Minto said...

catching up on the blogging...just want to say your math is not wrong. When one turns one year old, he or she has just completed his or hers first year of life and starts the second year; therefore, when one turns 48, he or she completes that 48th year and begins his or hers 49th year.

Happy Belated 48th. And for the record, I think Jaime Lee looks like she hit 50 a few years ago. Not just because of the gray though, but keep dyeing baby.