Be young where it counts, young at heart…
I used to have uniform flesh toned skin, but now I’m spotted like one of the big cats that live in Africa. I wasn’t the sleek cheetah with the black teardrop eyes that could reach speeds of 70 mph while chasing prey. Think the chunky cat that lounged in trees until it was ready to eat. I was a leopard, the cat that looked as if it could fall on an antelope and knock it dead. If only I didn’t have spots and moved with cat like grace, I’d be similar to a cougar. Never mind.
Age spots, liver spots, sunspots were common in people over fifty. Lying around like a cat not in trees, but in a lawn chair assured future leopard. No one warned me that tanning eventually slapped you with spots and took the babe right out of you when you reached the age of wisdom.
To rid skin of sunspots, treatments included medications with side effects, chemicals to peel off layers of skin, and lasers. These choices suggested a guinea pig, snake, or cat chasing a beam of light, not a cure for leopard. Two other treatments, dermabrasion and freezing, made me think of sanding and frostbite. I envisioned scabs and scars. Instead of a leopard, I’d resemble a seal fresh from battle with a shark. A leopard could hide its spots with a safer option, long sleeves.
When a look in the mirror revealed a brown and white striped chipmunk staring back at me, I knew how to banish that critter. Hair dye was affordable and proven to take off a few years.
With my tresses gunked up on the top of my head, the hubby said, “ You look like that punk rocker from….”
“The Sex Pistols?” I interrupted grasping for a compliment with the word sexy in any form.
“No. Maybe it was a new wave band from our youth.”
“Flock of Seagulls?”
“Yeah that’s it.”
I wasn’t a rock goddess such as Blondie or Pat Benatar, but a man who is now bald. Had he compared me to any of the Stones, I’d have jail time to serve. This was the reason I never dyed my hair when he was home.
After a rinse, shampoo, and blow dry, my hair wasn’t what I’d expected. A look at the box in the trash revealed dark brown and not light brown. I’d have to schedule an eye doctor appointment because I had the eyesight of a mole.
Dark brown in hair color terms translated to crow. At work the next day, a co-worker noticed the new color. How could she not?
“You look like….”
“A crow, I know.”
“I was going to say raven.”
Bless her for not pointing out the crow’s feet at the corners of my eyes and settling on raven. I decided not to share the Flock of Seagulls reference from the hubby, too complicated.
How long could I maintain the raven illusion? I figured six weeks tops until white roots mixed with the raven hair and morphed me into a skunk. Getting older was similar to the after effects of a flock of seagulls. You had to deal with a lot of crap.
With too many animals to keep track of, another option was to chuck any thoughts of youth and let my bodily image go to hell. For pity’s sake, I couldn’t imagine myself in a babushka, waving a wooden spoon, and warning kids to stay off the lawn. If a friend came up with a harebrained idea, I also couldn’t imagine saying, don’t you think we’re too old for that? Instead, I’d ask for the time, directions, and if I would need to bring anything.
An easier way to head into the tribe of elders would be to change everyone’s opinion of aging. Or I could stop looking at myself.
Joining the AARP crowd wouldn’t be too bad if I was actually a retired person. Until then, I shook out my raven hair and vowed to be open minded in my evolution. I’d strive to be young where it counted, young at heart.