you’re so vain

Not too long ago I saw two upper middle aged women at a gym. They were in great shape, and clearly intended to stay that way. Their hair was dyed to mask any tell tale signs of age. Unfortunately, their faces were so obviously ravaged with plumpers and fillers that I had to turn away to hide a chortle. (Search “Cat woman surgeries” if you need context.) My goodness. I can’t say I’m a fan. In an effort to defy gravity, they’ve made themselves unrecognizable with unnaturally protruding lips and cheeks.

At the first sign of gray over a decade ago, I decided I wouldn’t dye my hair. I don’t want the exposure to chemicals, nor do I feel like I need to hide from my reality. I was curious to see how this would play out. My mother is a stunner with silver hair that eventually her stylist refused to dye anymore. This commitment to aging naturally puts me in an interesting place. I watch those around me make decisions that do not make sense to me in the least. My hair is a conversation starter. Often I’m told “my gray hair wouldn’t come in that nicely” or I’m asked what color dye it is, so they can emulate.

It really makes me wonder, why can’t we all let our gray hair show? Even if it comes in zig zag? Why are we intimidated by looking our age? Who compels us to fight gravity with ridiculous procedures that render us appearing a fright? The patriarchy? Well, eff that.

Remember in the film Office Space the Jennifer Anniston character was told to wear more “flare” on her suspenders by the restaurant supervisor? More buttons to distinguish herself and her personality from others on staff. We have a growing popularity of tattoos. People are eager to mark their bodies to differentiate themselves, personalize themselves. Well, has anyone considered that scars, age, gravity, and loss of pigment cells in effect is our own personal flare? All of these components tell the stories of our lives. Some of us fell down, or walked into a glass door, smoked cigarettes, laid out in the sun, laughed and smiled and had a glorious youth, fearless of the future marks it would leave.

Why is smooth, even, bright skin the goal for all of our 60-70-80 years? That is a fool’s errand, and the fools are exposed with the frightening faces they pay for. Contentment in this journey is priceless. And yet, so many people spend their precious time and resources attempting to appear as though no time at all has passed.

When I was a consumer of TikTok I followed a songwriter named Jax whose song about Victoria’s Secret is now on the radio. Her lyrics expose that Victoria’s Secret is that she was created by an old dude in Ohio. The lyrics were written for a young girl Jax babysits for, and the song is perfectly poignant and I wish more people would understand the reality that most of our pursuits are not in service of our own best interest. They are either founded by capitalists or men, neither of whom should be dictating what is best for us. I fear that women caught up in the chase for youth are brainwashed to believe that that is the goal.

I refuse to watch movies or shows with disfigured, previously beautiful actors. The studios ought to stop hiring them as well. With a single intentional action, “Hollywood” could undo billions of dollars of industry and release humans back to their lives without fear of looking their own age. Damn, tie that in with the desired solution of my previous blog post, and wow, what a wonderful world it would be.

I love words. Words swirl and dance around in my head. I have many deep thoughts. Some thoughts plague me. In order to release them, I have to assign the words. Once the words are strung together, I feel free again.

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