For a very short time, this body is your home. Decorate it as you please. Or not. It’s your house. But don’t come to mine and be like “Ugh, I hate what you’ve done to the place.”
I just read this quote on Facebook (where else?) attributed to someone (or thing) called “plaidtheimpala” (no clue) and man oh man did it ever hit home. Because when you really tell yourself the truth, how hard is it to not judge someone by the way they dress? By how many piercings they have and where they might be? By tattoos or purple hair or even wearing fur?
We all do it (yes, YOU do too and you know it!) but really, what right do we have? Certainly ethical concerns (fur, for example) may warrant attention but when was the last time you figured someone out (or so you thought) simply because of their look?
None of us is innocent. Yes, even I am guilty. For instance, I know lots of woman in my age group who are at last succumbing to the lure of a tattoo. Maybe even more than one. And I cannot personally understand the appeal of permanent marker on my body. But I am learning to support and applaud their right to decorate in that fashion.
I see beautiful young girls with rings in their noses. And sorry, this probably really shows my age but when I see that all I think about is cows. Again, I cannot personally see the enhancement factor there but hey, your nose, (or belly button or eyebrow or tongue), your right.
We all see weirdly colored hair, weirdly cut hair, weirdly made-up faces and weirdly attired individualists. But the thing is maybe it’s just weird to us? Or maybe those glorious freaks want to be weird? Whatever the reason, the chick with the pink Mohawk might be working on her PhD and the guy with the full sleeve of tattoos and pants hanging below his ass just might be a poet.
I remember back in my country music days, attending the annual convention and noticing (whilst broadcasting from the lobby of the host hotel) the female half of a popular guy/girl duo. Notice is perhaps too mild a word because the woman was causing quite a stir. Why? Because she was wearing extra-mini, cut-off denim shorts, cowboy boots and a flouncy blouse unbuttoned down to there. And this woman was 45 if she was a day! What the heck is she thinking, thought I, securely hidden behind my broadcast desk, blanketed in the comfort of my much younger age (I was maybe 35) and full-length pants. She is way too old to dress like that!
The trouble with my theory was that she looked fantastic. Don’t take my word for it. Ask the dozen or so guys who were wiping drool off their chins. She rocked those short shorts with more bravado than Jane Fonda in leg warmers.
Fast forward to me, now approaching my dotage, and what will you still find me in all summer long? Cut-off blue jeans. And not cut off mid calf or even at the knee. Short shorts. Frayed artfully, I might add. And I will confess to being a fair bit older than 45. But this is my happy summer uniform. Shorts, a colourful top and flip-flops. In all honesty if I could wear this ensemble year round I’d be ecstatic.
So now I wonder, do people look at me in the fresh fruit aisle and say What the heck is she thinking? That broad’s way too old to wear those shorts? And then I banish that thought entirely and continue shopping because I don’t care. It’s my happy uniform, remember? Mine. They can judge me all they want but it won’t change a damn thing.
I think even my mother has finally figured this one out. Seeing me constantly in my cut-off shorts is probably not her favourite thing. Me in my cut-off shorts taking her to radiation treatments at the local cancer clinic is also perhaps not what she would wish. But does she say anything? No, not anymore. Because like the rest of us I believe she is still learning. And she has learned that I am there, being a good daughter and a good human being. What I’m wearing is pretty irrelevant.
Kind of like my bikini. I will admit in the interest of full disclosure that, apart from when I was pregnant, I am now the heaviest I have ever been. Blame menopause, advancing age or my love of wine and chocolate, but there you have it. And yet for the past two years I have been rocking a bikini. In public. Like, you know, with other people watching and everything. This is a sport I have not tackled in over 30 years (even when I was thin) and yet here I am gleefully prancing around pools and beaches baring my (way bigger than it used to be) belly. And I love it. I am finally comfortable in my skin and therefore have no trouble sharing a bit more of it with the world. I’m especially fond of the tanned skin on my stomach.
The other thing is makeup. There was a time not too long ago that I would never have dreamed of leaving the house without it. Now I go bare-faced all the time. I like my face without makeup. Also I’m lazy. So I smile and engage and hope that whatever beauty I may posses shines out through my eyes as opposed to adhering to some cosmetic company’s idea of how I should look.
My pal C tells me that I am her inspiration. I have ten years on her and at least ten lbs. Yet she decided this summer to rock those cut-offs too. This makes me very, very happy. Not that she’s wearing shorts but that she is comfortable in them … in her own skin. She still won’t leave the house without mascara but we’re working on that.
I would hate to think that I am defined by how I look. I’m sure we all are to some extent but the beauty of aging with gratitude is (as opposed to that growing old sucks philosophy) is that you appreciate everything more intensely. And with that appreciation comes a live and let live attitude combined with an I am who I am mindset. Not to mention that skin/comfort thing. And if I am going to be defined by how I look then I want to look like me. The real me.
I am the girls in the cut-offs and bikini. Sometimes even at the same time. This is how I choose to decorate my house and my house is a very happy place. Please feel free to decorate yours with the same abandon.