Tuesday, January 28, 2014

SELFIE OFF THE SHELFIE


This is my today selfie. I just took it. It is un-retouched. It took a second to take.

Recently I spent money on some surgical improvements. Back in August I face planted into the street and broke my nose.

Here is my selfie after this incident.


Note the upper angle and that I stretch my chin out. This pulls the jowls and beginning wattle out of the way. It took twenty minutes to get a selfie I was happy with. 

I still have a scar on my nose from this accident. I like it. It's a life tattoo, reminding me that I can fly. Just for a moment, before flying lands me face down on terra firma. 

Several important things occurred after this accident. First, I had to decide how to fix my nose. I wasn't breathing well and after a month, I was getting bad headaches every day. 

Then I looked more closely into the mirror and saw that, once again, after ten years had passed since my first plastic surgery, my flesh was again melting off of my face. 

I am the progeny of a drop dead, people stop in their tracks to stare open-mouthed, gorgeous mother. Here is what she looked like in her twenties:


As a young girl I would watch my mother sit at her makeup table, that had been lovingly provided and set up with perfect lighting by my father, and carefully apply her "face", every single day. She would talk to me as she carefully painted. "Your appearance is EVERYTHING. Without your looks, you are NOTHING," and, "the most important thing you can do is to be beautiful EVERY DAY." Of course, I was indoctrinated into the cult of cosmetic beauty at a very early age. I was astonished and surprised when my mother was furious at my applying all her cosmetics onto my face when I was four years old. I had thought I was just following instructions. And I thought I had done a great job! Her high heels were the finishing touch. This would have been my first "selfie" if iPhones had been around with their crafty cameras. 

Jump cut to ten years ago. I was an older mom. I had my son at age 45. I was painfully aware of being the same age as his playmates' grandparents. I sought out everyone I could who was an adult child of much older parents and asked them all the same question. "Were you embarrassed by your parents' age?" Every single one of them, and these were kind and decent people, nodded yes and said they were ashamed it was true, but true it was. They described painful passages of their youth and upbringing. All descriptions were similar. Well, yikes. I did not want to do this. Nope. Nuh uh.

When my son, Ben, was only four, he stopped splashing in his tub one day and turned to me, thoughtfully. He cocked his adorable blonde head and said "Mom? I really don't want to hurt your feelings, but can I tell you something?" I said "Of course, son. Anything." He said, kindly, "You have a really old face." I was caught short for a moment. But not surprised. I had done my research for this very moment. I just didn't expect it when he was only four. I asked, "Does it bother you?" He nodded and, with a sad smile, said "Yes." I pulled my skin back off the bones of my face and asked "What if I could do this?" His face lit up like the Fourth of July and he asked, "Could you?????" I said "Of course."

The next day I started looking up plastic surgeons. I met with only three. I picked the third because his photo book, in addition to being substantial, was filled with people who looked refreshed and renewed, and not at all "surgeried." Here is my before and after from 10 years ago:


Just in case you can't tell (ha ha), the photo on the left is the "before." You can see from the "before" photo on the left that I had skipped my mother altogether and went straight to my grandmother.

Cut to 10 years later. I have the broken nose. My jaw has disappeared, yet again, under a melting sea of white, doughy flesh. Much like a wax figure standing too long in the sun. I looked at my mother, who had eschewed plastic surgery when offered back in the day (she believed it to be temporary and costing far too much).  She has a full set of draperies hanging from her chin. Don't get me wrong. She is, even with the melted flesh, still beautiful. But I know that, looking more like my father than my mother except for the excess flesh, this will not be true in my case. I was on a downhill slide to being the twin of a giant turkey. 

Having gone through an extremely difficult decade that included a divorce, lawsuits and criminal neighbors, I was pretty beat up all around. I was determined to pull myself up by the bootstraps. 

There's more that was going on here, but I don't want to turn this into a 12 chapter tome. Today. 

The inner dialogue begins - 
"I'm going to be out anyway while the doctor fixes my nose...."
"If you amortize the cost of surgery over the next twenty years, it amounts to less than the beauty products I won't be buying....."
"But it's sooooo expensive......"
"If I look fresher, I'm more likely to find more work....."

All of which is crap when you come right down to it. I needed a better looking selfie. A younger looking selfie. And it mattered not how selfish this selfie might seem to other people. It connected to the core of how I perceive myself and how I need to perceive myself. Hardwiring, baby cakes. It's who we are. I needed to be able to walk by a mirror and not flinch or wonder who the old broad is. How I felt on the inside did not at all match how I looked on the outside. I needed a new suit. Or at least a dry cleaning of my current skin suit.

The irony is that before the surgery I cared very much how I looked each day and spent a lot of time in front of the mirror. Now, after, I don't much think about it and am out in 10 minutes. If that.

I don't have my before and afters from this surgery, but I'm sure they will be as remarkable as the ones ten years ago, 

Selfies? Don't bother me none. I'll take one any time, any day. With or without makeup. But only if I have to and it only takes a second, 'cause there's too much other stuff to do. 

Peace out.

Friday, January 17, 2014

THING 1 AND THING 2, MAYBE MORE THINGS TO DO

This week our group is given "Things"
to write about and ponder
I have a list so very long
that it's certainly no wonder

There's a difficulty, a challenge, you know
to choose the very best
that would most exemplify a "thing"
and past the "thingness"test!

I cannot pick, there are too many,
so I will have to spew
a list of things now on my plate,
and leave the choice to you!!

~My phone today is sadly broken and out of battery, so I have to fix it RIGHT AWAY!!! and hope it's close to FREE!!

~My son today still has the flu, which is a viral "thing" - He's once again home from his school and his doctor I must ring!

~Our garage shelves are falling out-straight from the wall "OH PEW!" It's because the shoddy workers who built them used nails instead of screws.

~There are good things and I wait till last to list them here to see- because they overpower the ick and yuck and stuff and transform all things to WHEEEEE!

    *My sweetie rocks my world each day
    *My son's an awesome gift
    *I live in gorgeous California
    *and all my friends give me a lift!!
    *I'm old and have good health and such
        at which I do not sneeze
    *My place in the world is very blessed
        and taking care of things is a breeze
    *I have fine boots and stuff to wear
        to feel stylish and cool
    *And enough wits still hang about me
        to escape being called a "fool"
    *Then there's this fun computer
        upon which I type this post
     *And the internet! for publishing,
        thanks to our gracious host.
     
This thing has now come to an end,
I hope you have things too,
that bring you joy more than life crap
as well as attractive shoes.

Sunday, January 05, 2014

LOVE AT LAST



This week's writing prompt is "love."

I'm a lucky woman. I am currently together with the love of my life. Gregory is my best friend, my lover, my confidant, and all things far far more than a boyfriend. Good grief, at my age it seems silly to call him a "boyfriend." I'd prefer to say "lover," but I can just see the raised eyebrows and hear the gossipy clucking in the background. What do you call this at my age? Well, I don't really care. I'm just wicked happy to be having to ask the question.

Never in my entire existence did I entertain the slightest notion that I would meet someone who I not only adore, but with whom I enjoy doing everything. One of our favorite outings is going to Ralph's to get groceries. Very sexy date. We never run out of things to talk about. I love just being with him no matter what we are doing.

Neither of us is perfect. Together we come as close to perfection as I've ever experienced. I love him to the moon and back. He makes my heart beat faster while he takes my breath away - both expressions of impending cardio infarction as well as love - but in our case, it's love. How I scored winning the love lottery at the age of 60 is a miraculous and wondrous thing.

Now I understand what it means to let the little things go. Now I understand what it means to be be appreciated for exactly who I am, dorkiness - snoring - and other things less than cool and sophisticated, as well as the good things. He notices all of it and hands it back to me wrapped in his arms. How lucky am I.

Sweet to say the least. And I met this man because of the other current love of my life. My son.

A year ago my son, Ben, sat me down and said "Mom. I'm in high school now. I'm not going to be around forever. I'll be gone soon. You have to get a life. Go get a life. Get a boyfriend."

Fourteen-years-old then, going on forty, this child said this to me. Because I fully intended to stay a divorced single mom and laser focus on finishing his rearing until after high school graduation. Which is probably why he was motivated to say this. Child needed some space. He is the reason I went online and after three months of sifting through frogs, toads and assholes, I found Gregory. Who found me. Hooray for us!!!

My love affair with this awesome child began when I found out I was pregnant. At 44 years of age I figured that I was probably infertile and Ben's dad (my husband at the time) and I had gone through very expensive testing. I had the test where they fill your uterus with water to see if it is viable for gestation. The doctor said I was likely done producing enough viable eggs for conception, so she sent us home to wait while she found a suitable egg donor.

I was pregnant the home grown way two weeks after that appointment.

This amazing creature was born to me 15 years ago, when I was 45 years old and, at the time, still stunted in my understanding and experience of what love is.

I'm sure there are other women out there who have had children. Though I do have serious doubts. When I held that little bundle in my unshowered, exhausted arms, I was filled with an overwhelming love that left my body and followed his every move, growth spurt, first words, etc. etc. How on earth could it be possible to love another creature so much? I was convinced that I was the first person ever to have a baby grow and emerge from my human body to walk the earth so brilliantly.

Before these two best and last loves came into my life, I had known love, of course. But only marginally. And certainly tainted and stunted by the traumatic events endured in my childhood.

I am grateful to have been a fighter. This brought me here today.
I am grateful to have known true friends who helped push and guide me back into the fight.
I am grateful to have not been killed prematurely by a meteor, other natural disaster or murderous in-laws, before fully realizing these loves.

For me, nowadays, love is an active verb that I experience and express in and through my body, heart and whole self that ends my days with only two words.

Thank you.

Here's Gregory's and my song -