I, of the Beholder

ID 30235183 ©   Ferenczi Gyorgy   | Dreamstime.com

ID 30235183 © Ferenczi Gyorgy | Dreamstime.com

How come when you're 21, no one says to you, "You look so good for your age!"?  At 41, people say that - A LOT.  Don't get me wrong, I love compliments; who doesn't??  And I'll take them wherever I can get them.  I just wonder why - 20 years later - I look good "for my age".  

Years ago, I weighed 300 pounds.  I am 5"2 (I may be fudging that by a half-inch) and I was a round, not-so-jolly little elf.  I have always battled with weight and now I battle age.  It's a tough fight, but I, like a lot of women, continue the fight on a daily basis.  When I was so heavy, people would 'compliment' me often by telling me I had such a "pretty face".  Having a pretty face is not a harsh thing to say!  It just made it apparent that they meant to say, "you SERIOUSLY don't have a rockin' body, but there's always that face to fall back on."

I know most people mean well,  and that it is not some passive-aggressive, back-handed compliment.  The wisdom that comes with being 41 lets me know that.  It also lets me know that if you're NOT there, you'll get there.  Where is "there"? (so many quote marks today!) "There" is the place I'm in...the place that lets me look at those 21-year-olds and know that flat little stomach they have without trying will take them to a place of sit-ups or crunches that bring them to tears at 41.  Or the place where wonder-bras are more "I-wonder-where-they-went?" bras.  The place that lets you know getting old is awesome because it sure beats the alternative.  You know that place - the place where your wisdom and experience make you feel sexier than your skinny waistline; where your fine lines are a beautiful showing of where you are and where you've been.    

I'm pretty lucky to have a supportive, loving husband who doesn't care about anything more than loving the person I am.  For example, as I'm cooking dinner one night, he comes up behind me and wraps his arms around me, only to grab my muffin-top in his hands and make a sort of purring noise.  My defense is pretty typical of women, and I say, "Adrian, don't grab my rolls."  Much to my surprise, he closes his eyes with a look on his face that I usually only see when he's eating bacon, and says, "Mmmm...Gimme some butter for them rolls...".  (Charming)  It's a mystery to me how he can love me in all my raw beauty.  He has never said I have such a pretty face or told me I look good for my age.  He has always just told me how beautiful or sexy I am, in spite of how I may try to fend off such authentic compliments.  I know that's rare and believe me, I CHERISH IT.  

To keep up the fight I will not take age or weight with grace...I'm just not one of those people.  I will dye my hair and exercise (though I hate it) and, when the fine lines turn to deep wrinkles, I will probably look into a face-lift - if you know me, you know that's just who I am; however, I accept the woman I am more than I ever have, and I accept that beauty is deeper than what's on top.  I accept more and more that I do look good for my age and I do have such a pretty face.  I know in posting this I'm opening up a can of worms where some people will tell me those things on purpose now in an attempt to be funny or get a rise out of me...but if you think about it, it's a win-win for me, isn't it? ?