I'm well liked in my family. This I understand. I think I'm easy to like. I don't see how I have any other secret to being liked. I'm not especially anything. I'm not good socially. I never have been. Most of the time it's easy to be part of a fairly large family who really do mean it when they ask how you are. But... I'm the quiet one in a family of people who love to talk. To me it seems they just never run out of something to say, especially advice. It's like noise pollution or white noise at times. I just stop listening and let them become part of the background. You know how it is when you put the radio or TV on and forget it's there? It just becomes part of the atmosphere. Now and then it drowns me out. So I give in and do as I'm told even when my own ideas, instincts or opinions were different and just as valid. That's when I feel angry. True, I feel guilty about it. We shouldn't just ignore our Mothers, our sisters or our brothers. But, there are times when I just can't take the constant feedback any more. I'm the oldest. Long before I was an adult they all expected me to be the one in charge, and I was. I managed everything. It's odd to me that now they think I need all this advice. Of course, I do understand it is all well meant. It's no one's fault but my own that I sometimes feel there is too much advice for a grown woman all of 47 (nearly 48) years. So, even when I do lose patience with all the communication, I do know it comes from the right place. I just endure. Some of the feedback is good. I may never post this because they would be hurt (over over analyze everything) if they read this. I don't want to hurt anyone. But, there are times I'd like to feel more like an adult than a child who has to be taken care of and told what to do.
Category: "Personal Journal"
In our culture it is very alienating to be 50. That age where it hits you that you may not even be middle aged now. Being young, from childhood to somewhere in the 30's was such a different perspective. I didn't see it then but I can see it now. Being in my 40's was (so far) the best time of life for me. I felt ok and even good sometimes. I felt I was ok with myself. Then, among the years I should have been 40-something, 50 hit me. It came down hard and clouded everything. Even when I could have been happy being 40-something that 50 hung over me, hovering like my personal rain cloud of doom. In younger years I had read about actresses and such who said there were no roles for older women. I thought little of it. I could see older women in TV shows, movies, commercials, etc. Likely they were in theatre too if I cared to look. But, the actresses said it wrong. It's not that there aren't roles for older women. It's that there are so MANY roles for younger women, younger people. Our culture is based on youth. Not just being young and looking it, but the parts of life which come in those younger years (traditionally): going to school, dating, marrying and having children. When I watch anything on TV now I am swarmed with the feeling of how much I don't belong. How far I am past those parts of life. I don't want to go back. I just want to be ok with where I am. But, it's hard. It's hard to feel ok with being older when it seems we don't exist, are expected to keep to ourselves and not be seen or heard. Unless it's something to do with spending money like buying insurance, buying sedate vacations, buying pee pads (not for your period, whether you still get it or not). I feel alienated in my own world. I don't see where I fit in. I can talk to the younger generations. I don't know their particulars any more: the music, the actors, etc. But, those are just entertainment. I know about life, having come through those younger years. But all my experience and knowledge is tainted by how younger people see me. I'm old. I don't know the entertainment stuff so I'm relegated to being outdated, out of place and I don't really understand how things are today. Odd, but things aren't all that different. People are born, go to school, try to get along in the world, get married, have babies (or not) and then.... it's the long stretch of being there, but not getting in the way, until you're finally as old as you feel. I don't feel old. I feel like me. I feel almost the same as I did when I was twenty. But, those are memories and I know that. No wonder we tend to look at the past more as we fall into the future where we don't fit in and don't have a place. In the past we had a place and the world was about us. Now I'm an alien. Just because I'm 50. If it weren't for the perception of others (and my own awareness of time limits) I could believe I'm twenty. Young people expect being older to feel so different. It's not. It's almost exactly the same as feeling twenty. But, I look at those who are twenty and I can see a difference then. There is a shiny new-ness, an extra bounce and they're just a bit quicker to laugh. So maybe we do become an alien as we get older. Where is the mothership then? I'd like to find the other aliens and feel I belong again. I don't like this feeling of being isolated among all the people I see every day. The other thing I don't like to think about is to look past myself and see those older than I am. Right now I may not feel I belong and I may feel like an alien... they look more alien. I worry about how I will still feel like myself when I start to look even less like myself and more alien to who I think I am. Where is that mothership...?
After turning 50 or so I think the rest of the people on the planet expect us to just drop off or disappear at the least. I laughed in a sick way when filling out this survey. I feel like an expired library book. I'm just months away from the next and final designation/ destination. Do they really think there are so few people online (or capable of using a keyboard) once you get to be 50? Are we just too far gone to matter then? Are all our ideas and opinions too diluted by our ... umm... Alzheimers?
I know how to count, 45... 50. I've been counting 50 for a few years. 50 is coming... 50 is coming... warning... 50 is closer than you think. But, in spite of that, when I see something for people who are turning 50 or 50 plus, I don't think it's about me. Only other people turn 50, not me. I remember my Dad's 50th birthday party. We gave him a home party with a bowl full of colourful Jello to smush his feet into. Dad was the grumpy sort, it really didn't have much to do with being 50, he was mostly that way. But, I remember making all that Jello with my Mom. I remember my Mom had read about the idea somewhere, as a great way to relieve stress or tension. He finally did put his feet in the Jello, and he liked it. I don't want Jello for my 50th birthday. I may be going crazy but I haven't been grumpy about it. There is the other part of turning 50... the birthday. You know people aren't so likely to forget or ignore it. I don't think I'd like it if they did. Quite... exactly... Other than not wanting Jello; I don't know what I do want. Nothing... and yet, something. So am leaving that to procrastinate on later. I have until December after all. Turning 50 has been on my mind since I turned 46, if not before. If you haven't become a grown up, done the things you wanted to do, by the time you are 50... you only have another 10 years until you are old. I feel like I'm hanging onto a shelf, my legs dangling below me reaching for a ledge I can't see or touch with my toes. I can let go of the ledge and trust I will land on another ledge below or I can let go of the ledge and fall a very long, long way. I tend to get that sick feeling of not having faith in the ledge below me when I think about turning 50. Anyway, I thought I could write something about it. Likely someone else is turning 50, somewhere on the planet. Good luck and happy birthday when the time comes.
At the great old age of 48 now, I still have the same whiskers on my upper lip which I have lived with since I was about 13 or 14. I have never tried to hurt, maim or kill my moustache. I have left it alone, in a live and let live kind of way. It helps that my whiskers are sparse. I do have dark hair and the hair on my lip matches the colour of the hair on my head (or most of it now that I've got grey mixed in with my dark brown mane). I live with my facial hair and I don't mind it. I even have a bit of fondness for the facial hair - It makes me feel connected to other women in my family who have far more facial hair than I ever hope (or want) to have.
I remember the very first day I actually noticed the whiskers myself.
I was in our downstairs bathroom and I had leaned in for a closer look at my face because I had a zit (also known as a pimple). I still like to get rid of those. I squish them then put stuff on them to finish the killing process and decontaminate so they can't so easily return. Seeing darker hairs on my upper lip was a surprise. I'm sure they weren't there before then. I hated them on sight. They were traitors to the young, perfection of my face. That face being one of the few things I actually did like about myself - and still do. Having whiskers was a shock. Only old women were supposed to get those kind of things, women going through menopause or women from hairy families. I had neither. I was about 14 and my ancestry was pretty slanted to the Celtic side. I called in for reinforcements, my Mother. She looked and then looked closer. She said they were hardly noticeable unless someone was really looking for them. So I took a step back from the mirror, which wasn't much considering my face was almost pressed against the glass to start with. It was true! Once I stepped back and wasn't focused on that area of my face, I really couldn't notice the whiskers. If I looked, I did see them. But, I had to be looking pretty carefully.
So I wasn't turning into some weird sort of man-beast after all.
My Uncle has had a full beard and moustache for as long as I can remember. As children we would buy him shaving cream, packages of razors and so on. Children sometimes have such great ideas but not the common sense to see these ideas through. He laughed about our gifts and after being embarrassed once or twice we realized a man with a full beard and moustache isn't going to need shaving cream. Later I would try after shave, thinking he could use it like cologne. I never did hear either way about that one. Maybe he thought it was a good idea. Anyway, at that young age myself and having whiskers I did picture myself growing a beard, thick and hairy as I went through puberty and all those changes. I would check my upper lip for changes, new growth, more growth - dreading to see a whisker begin to do so much as curl. I was lucky in the genetic lottery. I never did get more whiskers, or thicker whiskers. I did have friends who were less lucky. One young woman I worked with had to shave her face every day. If she skipped a day she had 5 o'clock shadow. From talking to her I know she tried all kinds of methods to get rid of her whiskers. Waxing was painful but seemed to give her an extra day from having to deal with them. She tried several of those gimmicks from TV ads. Some of them burned her skin and made everything worse. Not only did she still have whiskers but her skin was burned and red or even blistered too. I was so glad for my sparse little whiskers then.
We Women Do Get Whiskers
Women in my family have a small tendency towards whiskers, when we get older. My own Mother began plucking her face (not just her eyebrows) once she was in her 40's. My younger sisters both had whiskers on their upper lip and chin by the time they were in high school. Mine may have started sooner but they were less visible. When my Great Aunt Alice died one of the saddest things was the full beard she had which no one was there often enough to prevent for her. She was my Grandmother's sister (on my Mother's side of the family). My Grandmother also had stray whiskers on her face, but I never saw her with a lot of them until she was quite a bit older, when I was far past being a kid myself. She was a plucker too. Interesting to note that I have her same pattern of grey hair mostly in the front too. Maybe we share our whiskery ways too and I won't have to really worry about them until I'm 60 or so too. I miss her - in that way it's an honour to share her whiskers and grey hair. I do think about her nearly every time I look at my face in the mirror.
But... I do Like Being Contrary
Having written all that, a funny thing happened when I turned 40-something and began to get whiskers on my chin - I began plucking them, pretty mercilessly, with tweezers. I'm far from being a bearded lady. I only notice one a week and I do pluck them as soon as I feel them. The only difference with the moustache and the chin whiskers was my age. I did not like the hair on my chin making me feel old when I actually was past the age of high school and beyond. Nature's little digs about our age are much easier to take when we aren't old yet. Moustache Growing Month: Movember