Yes, it is a fickle thing, a woman’s mind. I am so many things – wife, mother, grandmother, mother-in-law, sister-in-law, sister, daughter, daughter-in-law, friend, aunt, godmother….on and on the roles go! And for each one, when I am acting upon it, I give it 100%. And sometimes it is just plain, old, tiring! Realizing that I am 56 years old, a grandmother (Oh my Lord, how I love that little boy! Who knew ‘grandma’ would be my favorite role?) and going to be a grandmother again in the spring (I am so excited! I dreamed it was a girl!!) and that it has taken me this long to be comfortable with who I am! Sometimes, like when I am blogging, I am just a woman…just me, no titles. And it is freeing and sort of nice. I am on my own schedule and am writing for the pure joy of human expression.
But even when I leave all the titles and am just sitting here at my Mac, I am a woman. And I want to share some of that with whoever reads this. Not sure anyone but a couple do, or have, read them! But it is more for me, than anyone else. And if someone happens upon it and gleans something they can use in their life, wow! What an amazing thing.
I recently learned how to flat iron my hair. And I got this new flat iron that does it wet/dry. I never thought ironing your hair wet would be a good idea (sizzling seems like it should accompany bacon or a nice steak, not my hair!) but I was wrong. Apparently, with this new “ION” system, it actually helps your hair stay stronger and less frizzy; it keeps moisture within the hair shaft itself (supposedly). Well, my hair feels like silk and has little frizz, except where there are all these new, white hairs along my hairline! But I am rid of the growing-out perm and back to what God gave me – straight hair! And I love it. I was thinking, as I was flat-ironing, that 40 years ago I discovered “Kindness Curls,” a hot-roller system! And now I am straightening my hair! LOL!
I also discovered new rouge; it is almost completely sheer and leaves you with a slight glow! I really dislike make-up; always have. When I would try new make-up as a teenager, my eyes would get all gloppy and I would get green gunk in them by the end of the day. It has taken me 40+ years to find mascara that does not infect my eyes and eye shadow – forget about it. I wear hypo-allergenic liner if I do anything to my eyes. And every day, I use “circle hider” or concealer; always have dark circles! And a little blush, or rouge. For those of you who know me, you know I am pretty simple when it comes to this routine! I keep it very simple because I think you age less if you wear less. Heavy make-up gets stuck in your wrinkles! LOL!
So, I was feeling a little avant-garde this morning and decided not to make the bed. My husband always says, “Why make it when you just have to get back in it again?” But my mother instilled made beds in me when I was young and it is like the “always wear clean underwear, in case you’re in an accident” sort of thing. Yes, I deviated severely from it during my teens and early college years (our sorority house members had bets on what color the carpeting was in our room! Clothes everywhere!!) but as I have become a mom, clean bedrooms make me happy. So today, after flat-ironing and concealing, I came downstairs to organize my day. I couldn’t handle it. Had to march back up the stairs and make my bed and straighten the room. It is just a part of who I am…that woman I am finally comfortable with.
And the point of my blog is this – we need to all realize who we are and relax in our own skins. Don’t wait 56 years to be comfortable with who you are. I have gray hair – and guess what? I earned every, single, one of them. And I am so not into seeing my hairdresser every 3-4 weeks for touch-ups. It’s economically insane, as well as sort of narcissistic, in my view. Now, I am so aware of the disdain some of my prematurely gray friends will show towards that comment. They just are not ready to be gray. That is fine, because they are all wonderful persons in their own right and I think they have a handle on who they are. For me, it complicates my life to keep my gray hidden. I noticed last night how really gray it is becoming and I realized, hey, who am I fooling? I am a grandma! LOL!
I am also overweight. Both my husband and I are. It is in the “jeans” for me! If I could get rid of that mound that keeps following me wherever I go, I would be happy! To that end, I am trying to be a paleo eater, because it makes the most sense to me and I feel better when I eat that way. Cutting out carbs had a weird affect on me – my nails are stronger and longer than ever. And I had a scone last night (I know, a real taboo item for paleo eaters) and as I chewed it, I sort of grossed out on the feel and mush of it. I am starting to prefer the taste and texture of meats and vegetables. So I think it is a wise health decision for both me and my husband. Our son is also starting to see how much better he feels without pancakes for breakfast, but rather some meat (he loves spicy chorizo) and eggs in the mornings. But I am also getting used to how I look and am not so ashamed of being seen, as an over-weight person. That has taken 26+ years, since I was first pregnant with our oldest son, born in 1985!!
We women are pressured to look our best. Have you noticed how many products there are to enhance our looks? Why are there so many hair colors that cover gray and for men, there are maybe two types? And it covers all their gray? Why do women wear so many different types of lipstick? What is with “foundation” and rouge? I was an anthropology major in college and when we studied some cultural anthro aspects of history, I was blown away by the whole make-up tradition. A few centuries ago, when the plague and lots of illnesses were rampant, women started wearing rouge to look healthier. White skin was considered the skin tone of those who did not have to toil outdoors for a living. But they started looking a little sickly; the maids were appealing to more of the Lords in charge than the Ladies they were married to. So they came up with this red wax they put on their faces. In the Near East, women put a combo of flour and chalk on their faces to look pale. [It is weird to think that in the West, it is all about being tan and getting darker skin, whereas in the Near East, pure white complexions are still sought after. Has anyone seen the new Chinese beach masks?] And lipstick! Ugh! Did you know the first lipsticks were very bright red and were meant to entice men into bed? Have you ever seen those monkeys with the bright-red behinds? Ponder on that for a moment. Once I learned this fact, I never wore red lipstick again! It grossed me out. Ever hear about the origins of perfumes? About the same time period as the plagues in Europe. Perfumes became popular with floured wigs for men and women (think the French and Marie Antoinette) and people DID NOT BATHE! Once a year on their birthdays or some such thing. Can you imagine the stench? So the good, old, French came up with scents. People used to carry scented hankies and put it up to their noses, to avoid the smells of humanity. Gradually it became easier to douse yourself with it, especially on your neck, so the nice scent was with you all the time. Thanks be to God someone realized that cleanliness was a good thing. In Europe, people think we Americans bathe far too often and it is very obvious when you are stuck in an elevator in Europe; trust me on that one. Deodorants are relatively new on the scene and I am so glad it happened in my lifetime! And historically, when our economy is booming, skirts are shorter, hair is longer (and always straighter), and lips are redder. Think about it. Look to historical references for these phenomena. It has been noted and studied by professionals, especially marketing professionals and those who monitor trends in clothing and make-up. “It’s the economy, stupid!” Lately, there is a rash of long hair products and yes, flat-irons (but my hair is short! So I am still somewhat avant-garde) and the lips and eyes are getting very bold. Bright blue eye shadows and strong, bright lip colors, too. A couple of years ago, it was all nude tones. Remember the nude lipsticks and pale blushes and very simple eye looks? And fuller, shorter hairstyles? When was that? Yes, 2009 – the great economic crash. The year we lost income and housing.
We women do control the economy – I think Romney has a bumper sticker saying something along those lines. And our fashion reflects the economy. Bolder looks for confident times. There are those who are in the limelight and reflect all the trends. For me, 99% of them are looks I could, and would, never pull off. I am past participating in some of the trends my daughters-in-law can pull off, and have subtly moved more into that “older woman” or more “mature” woman, category. And I am okay with that. I am most comfortable in jeans, a t-shirt, concealer and blush, simple lipstick, my straight hair, and my tennis shoes. And because of where I live, I can wear sweaters, which I love wearing.
I think our economy is gaining momentum because the scent of change is in the air. Also the sense that there are some strong, and well-grounded, young politicos coming on the scene that will back up this sense of change in the air. Well educated young people who have paid attention to the past and gained knowledge from it, and do not want a repeat performance. We are on the precipice of a great future for America. Women are reflecting not the confidence of where we are now and what we have, but what is coming. And I am comfortable with my crazy way of thinking; making beds because it makes me happy, and remembering to wear clean underwear when I go out! I am praying and living my faith in comfort with what I believe and who I am and I intend to vote my conscience this election. I am prayerfully confident a lot of people who have come to realize there are people out there who do represent us and we are comfortable with that, will also vote their conscience. I just do not see how, with a modicum of serious thought, that the corporate mind of the people would not embrace a brighter, stronger future; comfortable in their skin and confidently looking forward.