The Soapbox Papers

The Soapbox Papers is my two-cents worth.

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Location: Beloit, Wisconsin, United States

I am a cross between Tinkerbell and Calamity Jane.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

When did THIS happen?

I remember some years ago -- let's see, Taran was about 18, so it was about 18 years ago - I was talking to him when he suddenly said, looking at my chin, "Why don't you pull that hair OUT?"
*Sigh* I had never noticed a hair on my chin.

"So pull it out," I told him. He did - and showed it to me. It was long and dark and a bit crinkly, not at all like the awful peach fuzzy type hair that had decorated my cheeks for the previous ten years or so. It was then that I realized something rather kind about getting older: As changes happen to us, like the growth of hair on chins, we become oblivious to them by another means - in this case, my eyes were going just enough where I could not see the hair (okay - I never really looked for it before then) in the mirror. And as we get older, we adapt. Now I feel for hairs on my chin and pluck each little dickens out by touch - whenever I remember.

My first reaction, of course, was to go find a magnifying mirror. I figured I really needed to keep an eye on my face and chin and such, if it was going to sprout hairs that looked like they belonged elsewhere. I found one on e-Bay - lighted, with 8 times magnification! I won the auction, got it for under $20 including shipping, and set it up for a good look at my face. I gathered together tissues, 2 sizes of tweezers, a nice warm and damp washcloth and settled down to have a look-see.


Let me tell you, NOBODY needs 8 times magnification to look at her face. There are some things you really don't want to know, and in real life no one else is EVER going to get so close as 8 times magnification! I packed away the magnifying mirror. I take it out only when my eyebrows grow over a half inch long and need to be rearranged and plucked.

In the eighteen years or so that has passed since I discovered I do grow hair on my chinny chin chin, other indications of age have crept in while I wasn't looking. My hair is full of platinum blonde streaks. People pay good money to get these cool streaks in their hair - and here come mine, free for nothing. I've tried several times to cover it with L'Oreal 5A, which is a nice medium ash brown, but when it starts to grow out, I find I probably should have used a darker shade, after all, regardless of the helpful hints I've gotten over the years that as one gets older, she should color her hair a bit lighter. I've even started cutting it short now and then, when I think of it, so it doesn't look like I am younger than I really am...

And then -- and then, one morning last summer, I woke up and discovered I had turned 60 (sixty) years old. I have no idea how I got here. That I did becomes obvious, when I stop and think about it. My joints are worn out. They call it "Degenerative Joint Disease" - which is just another way of saying arthritis, I suppose. Two by two my joints, starting at the bottom and moving up, have lost all their cartilage. Getting around is difficult, but at least I can. Some of my friends cannot. And I am having more and more "Senior Moments," which come over a person with no warning and yet there is still enough thinking going on upstairs where one is aware of it and embarassed, uncomfortable. I suppose in time that will pass. I do expect to be developing a more jaded vision of myself as well as a wider sense of humor as time goes by.
But I was startled when looking at some of the photos one of my grandaughters posted on . I was in this picture with some other folks and I did not recognize myself. I know, I know -- we are not supposed to think of ourselves being our body image - but I honestly did not recognize myself. I know I need to lose weight, but I had no idea I am so fat. I know my smile has undergone some changes, but I did not recognize it as mine, as me.
I thought I was smaller. I thought my smile was prettier. I thought I was younger.

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