Tag Archives: women

Aging: Becoming My Mother’s Daughter

Next month is my birthday. I have about 6 weeks of being 36 left.

I’m told I look younger. This is good news, I like it.

Truth be told, I really don’t care about looking “36”. Not yet. I probably will. Likely when it starts to show. When I’m 42. Heh, heh.

But you know what?

A shot taken of me by my friend Rick Rake at an event on July 28th, 2010.

I’ve worked for that age. The sun damage my skin shows now is in stark contrast to the pasty-white well-hidden tubby non-outdoors girl I was for the majority of my life. When I was a kid, I was the fat kid who whined and lied about pretend injuries to get out of sports. Every hike I was supposed to do, I got out of.

I was so not a joiner. I was pudgy, pudgy, wheezy girl.

Not so much these days. I’m not where I need to be, but I’m better than I’ve been since I was 18, and there aren’t a lot of 36-year-olds who can attest to being healthier than they’ve ever been — than they’ve literally EVER been.

Despite that health, I’m caught with fatigue a lot of the time. I just deal with it. My friend who’s 42 tells me she was always tired for a few years in her 30s. I’m assuming that’s where I’m at. I eat fairly well, exercise 6 or more hours a week. What more can you ask, right?

Honestly? My newly-appearing wrinkles give me pause. I’m not sure I’m wild about them just yet. I do, however, like the “character” they give my grin these days and the way they highlight the twinkle in my eyes.

I think I wear the few wrinkles I have well. I know my mother wore her age fantastically, like a perfect-fitting pair of jeans.

People were devastated when my mother died. She was a sexy-as-hell redhead at 57 when cancer took her 11 years ago this week. She looked fantastic. Dead? How ironic.

I’m thinking a lot about her this week. Maybe it’s part of my reclusiveness of late. 11 years. Wow. Mind-boggling. Can’t help but reflect on anniversaries, and I’m not thinking so much about the loss of her this year as I am about the woman I’m becoming on my own life journey, and if it parallels my mother’s. Wish I could ask.

I think a woman’s 36th year is pretty pivotal in who she is. She’s now out of the “targeted demographic” most coveted by marketers, she’s starting to pay attention to wrinkle creams and thinking biological-clock type thoughts if she’s not already a mother. It’s the beginning of the transition from “breeder” to “matriarch”, a different kind of role that women seem to play when they hit early middle ages.

One day we’re the chick next door that the guy wants to hang out with and tries to sleep with, the next we’ve become Mrs. Robinson and anyone we chase under our age begets us a label of “cougar”. It’s a quicker transition than you might think.

I’m not sure if I’ve hit that stage yet, since friends still think I look 28, so I might be able to get away with more.

That youthful appearance may not linger a lot longer, as the greys and wrinkles begin to mount.

I both like and loathe the greys I have now, even if few in number. They multiply.

Today, I’m thinking about getting a punk-rock haircut again and embracing the salt-n-pepper look that’s coming on. There’s something tasty about edgy prematurely-greying people. Very, very tasty. I can pull that off. Not like I’ll be all grey tomorrow anyhow.

Age, I guess, really is a state of mind. I know some folks at 36 who look like they’re in their 40s. How you live really starts to show through in a hurry, and it’s your choice. This is the age that your lifestyle becomes visibly apparent to everyone.

Because of that, getting older doesn’t scare me. It’s probably to do with decent genetics (that come with a ticking time bomb but sure look pretty) and probably because I feel like I’ve been through enough in life already that whatever’s coming down the pipes is something I know I’ll just handle. Scared? Who’s scared?

No, I ultimately like my age. I’d rather be turning 37 than 22 again. You couldn’t give me enough money in the world to relive my 20s. My 30s ain’t been no walk in the park, either, but from 35 on? Yeah. I like it. Liking it more all the time, the further I get from my past and the more progress I make on this vision of who I always cheated myself out of being.

Some of us SURVIVED our 20s. Some of us kind of defied an awful lot of odds to get past where we were. Some of us really fucking love coming into our older, more comfortable selves.

I wish the media could understand that. I wish marketers got it. My age is almost like a battle-wound scar. Like that scene in the movie Jaws, where Quint, Brody, and Hooper are shooting the shit about old scars:

Brody[pointing at Quint’s tattoo scar] What’s that one?
Quint: Oh, that’s a tattoo. I got that removed.
Hooper: Let me guess. “Mother!” [laughs]
Quint: Hooper, that’s the U.S.S. Indianapolis.
[Hooper’s face drops]
Hooper: You were on the Indianapolis?
Brody: What happened?
Quint: Japanese submarine slammed two torpedoes into our side, Chief. We was comin’ back from the island of Tinian to Leyte. We’d just delivered the bomb. The Hiroshima bomb. Eleven hundred men went into the water. Vessel went down in 12 minutes. Didn’t see the first shark for about a half-hour. Tiger. 13-footer. You know how you know that in the water, Chief? You can tell by lookin’ from the dorsal to the tail.

As far as some of us are concerned, we probably shouldn’t even be alive. Enough’s gone on that, y’know, our survival’s really by the grace of God or whoever else was in the kitchen. Signs of age, to some of us, are like proof of getting to The Other Side.

At this point, I don’t see myself changing my hair to hide the greys. I’ll never be slowly salt-and-peppering again in my life, I want to enjoy the awkward and cute transition.

I also don’t see myself trying to hide wrinkles with Botox, ‘cos I never thought my face would be thin enough to have wrinkles — I thought it’d be unhealthily fat and smooth for decades yet. Wrinkles? SERIOUSLY? Okay, bring ‘em.

There’s something satisfying about slowly becoming my mother’s daughter. I’m one size away from being the same size as her before her death, even if I’m 40–50 pounds heavier. Muscle tone!

Every now and then, I look in the mirror, and a woman who sort of reflects the mother I had as a wee little lass is the woman staring back at me. I still can’t believe that’s who I’m becoming. When I was 5 going on 6, Mom was the age I am now.

I never saw myself being here, now, looking more and more like her as she was then, every day.

But I’m starting to really, really like it.

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Fit To Be Tied: A Woman’s Right to Choose?

In 2006, I asked my doctor about getting my tubes tied so I wouldn’t have to worry about exploding with toddlers.

I was 30. He said no, that if a woman hasn’t had a child already, they typically won’t tie tubes when a woman’s under 35.

I’ll be 37 this fall and nothing has changed: My tubes are untied, I’ve never had a child, I never want one.

Moments, however, pass.

For a fleeting second, I’ll see a mom and her daughter, and the exchange is so silly and cute, that I smile fondly and remember my own mother and the bond we shared. I’ll never have that?

Yeah, I know. I’ll never have that. Yes, it’s a choice I’ve long made, and, yes, my choice sometimes saddens me.

But I know why I’ve made my choices, and I’ll stick to them. I’ve NEVER wanted to have a kid. And after life got hijacked by bad times, well, I want to sacrifice whats left of my life to a kid even less.

Even as a kid, I didn’t pretend my dolly was “my baby.” I’ve always liked kids, never wanted one.

This, unfortunately, makes me pretty unique.

Last night, some Twitter friends were caught in a debate about this news story out of Ontario, in which a young family has decided they’re full up on tykes. They don’t want any other kids beyond their two. Part of that young family is pictured here.

But she’s 21 and her husband is 23, so doctors won’t let her do a tubal ligation. She’s too young, too much life can happen, they say.

Now, I’m a woman, so I guess I should agree with the mom and dad, right? A woman’s body, woman’s right?

But I don’t.

I see their point. It makes great sense. And in a perfect world where parents have kids and kids grow up healthy and strong, it DOES make great sense.

But it’s not a perfect world. Marriages end, families split. Kids get sick. They die.

This mother could conceivably have more kids until she’s double her age. DOUBLE. Are her choices are coming from the right place? Is she just agreeing to a tubal ligation so they don’t have to risk having more kids, so they don’t have to buy contraceptives and fuss around?

Because getting tubes tied is no guarantee. A woman can conceive after a tubal ligation and it can be fatal.  My former sister-in-law almost died when she had a tubal pregnancy — it happened so quickly, too. Like a flash, she was hemorrhaging on a table and likely to die, leaving a 2-year-old boy to mourn her.

Luckily, she was saved. Miraculously, she reversed the procedure and, a decade later, has a new baby. With a new husband.

It’s not that no woman can make this decision and be sure, it’s that decisions like this are often made too lightly — even by “older, wiser” types.

Should it be allowed for young women to say, “No, I know what I want, and it’s not a KID” so they can have their tubes tied off? What do YOU think?

I’m torn. Yes, it should be allowed, but it should be a very hard decision to reach, and should be scrutinized by all involved, including a mental health practitioner.

Personally, I think a 21– and 23-year-old don’t know shit about life yet, so to think they’re “all done” is cute, at best.

But I get it. I understand.

Still, their ages aren’t in their favour.

I’ll be the first to admit I know what it’s like to be 21 and pissed that everyone thinks they know more about life than I do. I was a very wise 21-year-old and I took it personally when people questioned my age-appropriate wisdom.

But now I’m 36 and I’m telling you, I knew jack shit about life then. I had some ideas, but I’ve had a whole lot of years of confirmation and debunking since. When I’m 50, I’ll likely be able to say that about the age I am now, too. That’s life.

We grow, we change, we learn.

At 21, I’m pretty sure this woman has much to learn about life. And maybe she’s right and she’ll never have more kids.

Maybe.

But maybe she’ll be another marriage statistic with a broken home. Maybe a tragic accident will take the rest of her family from her.

Maybe.

Tragedies don’t just happen to OTHER people. Life doesn’t go according to plan. We’re stupidly naive little humans.

The doctors know this. It’s certainly worth their considering — especially when they spend 15–30 minutes tops with us for each appointment.

And if the only avenue doctors have is to say, “Well, you’re 21. SERIOUSLY,”  then there you go, maybe we need to hang onto that — because the wise among us are rare, and most people make decisions with knee-jerk considerations, not the gravity matters deserve.

But what do YOU think, and why?

Quick Facts:

  • SOME tubal ligations can be reversed. 6% of American women with tied tubes try  to reverse the procedure.
  • Depending on biology, it can often be done but chances of success depend drastically case-by-case.
  • 75% of tubal ligation reversals are as a result of divorcing and wanting kids with the new spouse.
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Respect Yourself

I’m tired of women who get into a relationship, lose all of themselves in the man, the relationship ends in a matter of weeks, they come apart at the seams, and it’s “Oh, I’ll never love again.”

Please.

Get serious.

And to moan and piss and whine like this publicly, on social media sites?

Please.

Get serious.

I’m not lying and saying I’ve never done that.

I have, and I’m not proud of it, but it’s been a few years since. I don’t respect myself for having been that way, but at least I know it was because birth control fucked up my estrogen. Even then I knew it was shameful, the way I was coming apart over this guy I knew didn’t really deserve me or my heartache, not now, not after all I’d come to learn about him.

It’s a few years later and I know now that, this dude I came apart for, I wouldn’t even date today. I’d be friends. I probably wouldn’t get turned on by him, and I sure as hell wouldn’t be having the delusions of marriage I entertained then, but maybe it’s because I saw how he became in times that got bad.

All of us are pretty undesirable when our lives go off the deep end. We’re not ourselves. That makes sense, it should be apparent to others.

Times get bad. Hurts happen. Sadness is inevitable. Anger bubbles up.

These are human elements and we’re at home with each of them.

But I draw the line at tolerating victims. I draw the line at anyone who thinks shit keeps landing on them on purpose and that they have nothing they can do about it.

In the last decade, the amount of shit that’s come my way — man, if I thought someone had it in for me and it was happening to me intentionally, I’d just cry. And I’ve kept my head on reasonably straight about this throughout more than one depression.

Just an example: This back injury that debilitated me for a year? Rehabbing it repaired most of my other long-ailing injuries, and taught me that I finally understood how to eat properly to maintain my weight, and gave me insight into really seeing what living a long-term compromised life did to others, and I think the whole horrible year made me a FAR better person.

Almost every negative that has found me — including my mother’s death — has resulted in incredible personal growth and insight.

Am I tired of the endless struggle? Fucking right I am. But am I feeling like a victim? NO.

I’m feeling like someone who’s woken up and realized all the fighting I’ve been doing just to survive has been completely misplaced — those energies can be better spent, my attitudes & goals can be refocused.

If anyone can do it, I can, and don’t you even think I don’t know it.

I know I’ve overcome incredible odds, but the odds I’ve overcome are the kind that HURT the bank account and HURT the bottom line, not help them. To the outside, I’m some underachiever getting by in an expensive town with a job that doesn’t nearly compensate me for my skills and talents, working too little to really get anywhere, with a stubbornness about “selling out” to get by.

TO ME, though, I’m an incredibly resilient person who’s been kicked somewhere new by life almost every 6 months for 10 years, but I still keep improving, I still get better, I develop more empathy not apathy, and I grow from every single thing that hits me.

I don’t need to be a social butterfly or the talk of the town. I don’t need a fancy car or pretty things. Like Atwood says, as a woman, I need a man like a fish needs a bicycle.

What do I need?

I need to respect myself and know I’m doing what a girl’s gotta do. That’s it.

I got that. I’m down widdat. On it like Oprah on a ham, baby.

I still like the directions I’m going in. I wish I could have more — I wish I had a man on this beautifully full plate of mine, someone to sink my teeth into and a relationship to take shelter in on weekends, but space to enjoy during the week. I wish I had the energy and money for friends and good times.

But money and love, they’re out there, and I’m getting to them. They’re usually the icing on your life cake, and patience is needed.

I know, deep down inside, that I’m changing at a clip I can’t believe. The last thing I need is to get into a relationship with someone who’s where they want to be while I’m going a mile a minute. I need some stability and some comfort with where I am before I think I can choose rightly as far as man-things go. The more of this “self” I enjoy discovering, the more I’ll have to offer in a month or two or three, as my newly changing realities take firmer hold.

A month or two? Yeah, I’m not biting at hooks TODAY but I’m looking as of now. Why not? What’s the worse that can happen? I love a little, get left a little, hurt a little? Okay. So be it. I’ll try.

Because I know, who I am has nothing to do with a man. My attitude, my goals, my abilities, my dreams, they’re all me. Would I like to share them? Sure. But no one’s co-opting them or taking over the driver’s seat. Not now, and hopefully never again.

I think, biologically & anthropologically, something in women hardwires us to pairbond for security and protection.

But what happens in 2010 when a girl’s forced, through economic & social realities, to survive on her own? To get her own security taken care of? To protect her how interests?

Then what’s she looking for in a man? What’s she need now?

Does anthropological history and biological predisposition still kick in? Or does a different quality of pairbonding happen? “I’m the queen, I’ll let you rule in my kingdom alongside me. You, your chair is there. Don’t even think about sitting in mine.”

I don’t know.

But I know I look at men differently now than I did four to five years ago.

And I know I’ve proven I’m a survivor of the kinds of things that most people would rather not test themselves through.

So, a girl’s got to wonder.

What am I really looking for, and what’s it going to take to get it delivered? (Grin.) I really don’t know. I really don’t care. ‘Cos I know I’m gonna find out. Don’t know how, but I’m gonna. So are you.

And if, or when, it goes south, since there’s 95% chance of that when every relationship starts, well, I’ll try to hold myself with a little decorum, because I’ll be pretty confident in the knowledge I’ve overcome bigger things than a boy.

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The Relationship-Saving iPhone App

iphone_iperiod2_5If there’s anything I love about my iPhone, it’s that I’m starting to be able to micromanage my life.

There’s an app for everything!

Like iPeriod.

Men, before you go “ACK, NO, NOT PERIOD TALK” — think about the brilliance here. AN EARLY WARNING SYSTEM. A bitchy-factor crystal ball! All for you! You wanted it… they invented it.

Continue reading

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Now What? Waiting.

See my last posting. I know nothing. Knowing nothing will be the status quo for a couple more days possibly.

I have nothing more to really say about it. I know nothing. Que sera sera.

I had an ultrasound. Anything there? I don’t know. When my technician found the ovaries, her demeanour changed. The conversation about my mother’s disease/death unravelled me a little at the start. Continue reading

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And then there was None

Well, I’m single now. We pulled the Band-aid off and decided things just weren’t working.

As far as break-ups go, this was the best I’ve probably ever had.

It’ll be hard for me to be friends, I suspect, since I’m not really the one who quit the relationship. He was trying really hard to keep his shit together after he shattered his leg in March, but losing all your mobility and being introduced into a life where you have near-constant pain and chronic exhaustion tends to take a lot out of you emotionally.

Having been injured far too often last decade, I know this. I relate all too well. That, in many ways, made the past two months even harder. I wanted to be angry at him for pulling back, I wanted to resent him. I just couldn’t. I understand. It’s why I was so broken-hearted when I learned that morning that he’d broken his leg so severely. I knew the guy I was falling for was probably going to disappear for a long time. I’m just surprised it took a couple months to happen.

The relationship started wonderfully. It was so promising, full of future. Then, literally a bad break. Why fate intervenes as it does, I’ll never know. It just does. I can’t sit around in sadness and loss about this, because it is what it is: Dumb fuckin’ luck.

I don’t typically stay friends with exes. I’m making an exception. I also don’t tend to get back involved with exes, but in this case, I’m keeping a very open mind. On paper, we were obvious. Meant to be together. Even after we decided to break up, we were on the phone for an hour, just chatting.

Bad injuries can break a bit of your soul. Life becomes struggle. Too many people have never experienced the hardness brought on by a lack of freedom, lack of mobility, and constant pain. It really robs you of something, and it can really fuck with your psyche, too. This time, it did.

But, hey. He knows I care. I know he cares. We just can’t be what we want to be, and I can’t wait any longer. He doesn’t want to hurt me any more than this already has. It’s a respect thing.

Sometimes, moving on’s the best thing you can do. But I’m glad we’re keeping an open mind. Finding a real, passionate connection’s a rare thing in this shallow fucking world, and writing something like this off because fate played a hand, well, I’m too much of a romantic to just do that. Deciding to move on has been a long time coming.

Part of why I haven’t been writing as well as I’d like to have been doing is because I’ve been biting my tongue. So much of this has troubled me so deeply for so long that I’ve just felt unable to share it, because I knew he was having such a hard time already, and I didn’t want to bring any more negativity to the plate, or make it harder for him. In so doing, I took more bruising than I maybe should’ve done.

But now it’s done. Now the future’s decided, a path of action has been declared.

I was at a thingie last night and had a couple of those “moments” where you can tell the guy’s really digging you, you know? It was strange, because I felt like I was cheating on The Guy even though I’d sort of decided to end it today already. Maybe there’ll be a re-learning curve on this. He says he won’t be looking for relationships in the hiatus, but that I’m entitled to do anything I want, given that I wasn’t the one who pulled up anchor a couple months back. It’s nice to have that understanding expressed.

Having this resolved comes at a good time. There’s a potential that I’m going to spend some money I shouldn’t spend, and get the fuck out of dodge for a weekend. I’ve found out that there’s a scooter rally in Wine Country this coming weekend, and for a hundred or so bucks, I can have a great three days of fun with people who are positive, zany, intelligent, daring, and adventurous. Exactly the qualities I’m looking for in new people.

Am I going to sit around and be celibate as I hope that maybe I’ll get back together with this guy I really like? Absolutely not. I’m not going to sleep around, but I’ll see if some connection can be found somewhere. I have to presume things may never re-ignite, tragically, but I’m also hoping that being back on the market will remind me of what I might’ve had, and keep that desire awake a little.

Man, got to tell you, some days I really miss being six years old. It was all so simple, wasn’t it? Is it any wonder everyone gets felled with an early-20s depression as they realize everything’s just gotten infinitely more challenging?

Pity I have nothing to drink, but that’s probably a good thing. I do, however, have a roach I can smoke. I feel a little toying with dope coming on in my new future. A little bender can’t really hurt.

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