Aging and self image

I’m seriously considering plastic surgery.  I might have done it long ago if it wasn’t for the fear of going under the knife, a known medically risky and unnecessary procedure, and the belief that it’s generally a selfish act and waste of hard-earned money.

You see, I’m the type of person who is always in contemplation mode. For some reason, God has given me the type of face that reflects the statue of “The Thinker”(by Rodin): hand under my chin with a permanent frown etched on my face. Even my mouth has those tiny lines around it that indicate frequent pursed lips. Everywhere I go, that is until people get to know me, is a reaction of either avoidance, or unfriendliness. I presume that they assume I am either angry, depressed, rude, or just plain unfriendly. My features are exaggerated when I’m tired. On top of that, my voice always has this whiny edge to it, which is also exaggerated when I’m tired.

A lifetime of trauma has contributed to me being oblivious to the world around me until I’m forced to interact with the real world. Incredibly, the visual world often takes me by surprise since my attention is often elsewhere. For example, I just cracked my head for the second time on the overhead bin on the Embraer aircraft I’m flying home on. (Seriously, do those aircraft designers actually think the average human stands up in a crouched position?)  My oblivious attitude probably doesn’t help the perception of others, since I’m slow to acknowledge those who might be trying to make eye contact with me.  In a crowded area, my hearing just isn’t what it used to be either, so I intend to ignore conversations unless I’m certain they are directed right at me.

I’ve struggled with my physical appearance ever since I entered my middle-aged years. Bulging waistline, increased hip width, and decreased breasts give me that triangle appearance. My once youthful eyes used to beckon every member of the male species with just a glance. Now, my eyelids droop over the former sparkling sea-green eyes that have long since lost their lustre. My hair, once a vibrant ash blond,  hangs limply in a dull grey that is only a shadow of its former self.

I once thought that being older meant I would feel wiser, and that I would be respected by everyone around me. Instead, physically, I feel like a blob; mentally, my short-term memory fails me, and concentration alludes me. I find myself envying those who can move and think more quickly than I do. I yearn for the old days where I could swing a suitcase from the baggage carousel without a struggle. Now to make my life easier, I pack and check two carry on size suitcases simply so that I can lift them off the carousel myself. Its not like I can expect any help from anyone else at the carousel.  The days of chivalry are gone. There are no young princes that come to the aid of an old lady. I must fend for myself, or bring an escort. People around me are impatient with my turtle like movements. No one cares about my stories, my life or wants my opinion. I see a world that has become very selfish.  Respect?  I really question if it exists anymore.

So what do you think?  If I spent my childrens’ inheritance on a facelift, and spent every six weeks at the salon coloring my hair, do you really think I would feel better about my appearance?  More importantly, would any of those young selfish men at the airport pay any more attention to me and help me with my bags?

Just wondering.

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About prairie girl

I am a retired social worker and small business owner. I have struggled through 25 years of health challenges. But God has been faithful in giving me the strength and resources that I need to carry on. I am continually learning and growing. I have discovered this never ends, regardless of age.
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One Response to Aging and self image

  1. Old Hat says:

    I feel your pain. I’m there too. I turned 61 my last birthday. I must admit, I’ve been lucky. I was born fairly good looking, stayed thin throughout and was more critical of myself than ever need be. I had a very telling experience in my early 40’s. I was put on some medication that put weight on me, and not a little weight, a lot. I was typically 110 lbs and shot up to 190. During this time I noticed everywhere I went, I’d become invisible. I was fat and no longer had any value. No more eye contact, no more quick glances, just invisible. It didn’t take long and I lost all the weight but what an exercise in wisdom! It’s worked to serve me in these older years. I will admit to some surgery. Mostly, it’s a waste of time and healing. I have a girlfriend, my same age whose done it all, face lifts, nose jobs, chin enhancements, you name it. She gorgeous. But at the same time you can tell it’s all been done. If I saw her on the street, I wouldn’t recognize her.

    We simply have to settle with being invisible as we age. It’s a nasty trick nature plays on us, but it is what it is. The years between 60 and 70 are the worst. I’ve noticed in others this is the time they really go from adult to old age. As far as I can tell, it’s much harder on women than men. When I was young, I had what they now call “bad hair days”. Not mine. They were straight up what I called “ugly attacks”. Suddenly, I felt horrifically ugly. I’d hide. I’d consider plastic surgery. This was far more to do with my state of mind than my look. Looking back now, I’d give anything for one of those days. I wasn’t ugly whatsoever. But, since I was born to two models (my mother modeled, and my father was picture perfect good looking), they put great emphasis on the outward appearance. Today, my mother is constantly handing me wrinkle creams and swears I should use them. But I don’t.

    I suppose my question to you is, “Are you having an ugly attack?” Are you really THAT bad or are you being overly critical of your appearance? What a great subject you’ve chosen. I will return for more. Oh, and to answer the plastic surgery question, save your money. Just my opinion. Your can’t change aging. It merely looks as if you’ve had some plastic surgery.

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