Wednesday, November 30, 2011

With Age...Comes Experience...

I don’t know why I’m insecure, but I am. I’m getting older. I see it. Every day, every year. It drives me crazy and I never worried about it much until I turned 40.

It’s unavoidable, I know. As soon as I became aware of it, started seeing it. I compared myself to others. As soon as I wasn’t great at something… it’s because I’m old. Always the reason now.

What is making me feel this way? Why does it matter now? I have other great attributes that make me wonderful. I’m smart, confident, cultured, educated, and attractive. When did this start? Did it start when I was younger? Perhaps, but I come from a very encouraging, funny, “Italian-like” family, so I don’t feel as if I was the family reject even though we joked around about it.

I’ve moved often. Maybe that’s it. The not knowing what to expect? The not quite fitting in? I don’t doubt it played a role in making me the person I am, for I never really paid attention to what everyone else did, just myself. I’d like to think the best parts of my personality were created then because I had no choice but to adapt and keep myself in check. I’d like to think that’s where my social skills came from, even though my mother is very much a social butterfly.

My friendships over the years have very much been hit or miss, so perhaps there’s something there… but that’s how it is for most of us, I assume? I’ve had many of my close friends take me just as I am, but I’ve had a few that unequivocally wanted me to be something else: smarter, prettier, richer, funnier, more connected, more socially or politically aware… whatever. You can say they weren’t “real friends”, but I didn’t know that at the time. I tried to be all things to all people, and failed. So is that it? Are those enfluences the ones that have planted themselves firmly in the dark corners of my brain, instead of the ones full of acceptance and encouragement?

Maybe it’s Society that did it. You know: Society with its biases, with prejudices, with barriers, with problems and trends and ADD. It tells us that women over 40 are over. We aren’t sexy, or worth having children with because are old. Our semi-creased faces and bodies show experience; trauma, birth, illness, age, happiness, excitement. Society instead sells us on the sun kissed, unscarred faces and bodies of 20 year olds that have not experienced much of anything. Women in their 40’s, their personalities and lives have progressed. We now know what we want, what makes us tick, what we want to do, who we want to be with and we are doing it.

But here’s the real question: does it really matter? I’ve wondered, I’ve pondered, I’ve looked back, I’ve dug deep, I’ve explored. And maybe in the midst of all the wondering why, I’ve stayed in a place I didn’t need to be.

Yes, it’s good to know why you feel how you feel, and to discover where and how you chose the lens through which you see yourself and the world around you. If you can find the crack in your foundation that let your confidence leak away, you might be able to make it stop. Perhaps plug it up with your thumb? But you have to move at some point so you need to find a more permanent, stable solution.

Hurtful words and people aren’t going to be wiped from my memory.

Things I wanted, but failed to get, aren’t suddenly going to appear in my life by sheer force of will or by accident. Or maybe I’m yet to gain them still.

Mistakes I made are still going to carry consequences but perhaps they won’t be so bad.

People who don’t like me or enjoy my company aren’t going to suddenly change their minds. Or perhaps we’ll become friends later down the road.

The women who practice self-hate aren’t going to magically figure out that being different is what makes them wonderful to begin with, but maybe they’ll be easier on themselves.

The men who see me as a dress size instead of a person will continue to search for a girl who fits into the size 2 bikini but maybe they’ll expand their idea of what beauty is.

Perhaps Society will understand that DIFFERENT is Beautiful.. and encourage that.

I don’t know.

I will still wake up tomorrow morning with thick legs, a creased neck, wide hips, a big ass and scarred legs, or maybe I’ll stand taller with a twinkle in my eye excited over what the day will bring.

But I can’t put off accepting myself because something else will come up. It will. Really.

Someone will always be smarter, prettier, skinnier, younger, more confident, a better friend, a better daughter, a better wife, a better sister. There is no perfect in my future. There can’t be for I am not.

That’s why I have to decide I am enough right now, and I have to move on; continue to stumble along that path. There is no right answer, just acceptance.

I have to continue to live my beautiful, busy, friend filled life and if someone catches on to that then they can walk with me or walk away. I’ve always joked that I think I’m great, I’m just waiting for the world to catch on.. Next time I say it I need to mean it.

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