Ostensibly, if I read the authors’ intentions accurately, I should celebrate the cellulite on my ass, my night sweats and my jack-in-the-box menstrual cycle since these things are freeing me from the chains of my former youthful beauty – allowing me to focus on the things that are most important in life.
Let’s get this party started, yeah?
Look. I’m 41. I own it, I freely admit it and frankly, since the alternative is death, I’ll run with this whole middle-aged thing and see where it takes me. If I was living in Sierra Leone, I’d only have six more years left on my average life expectancy, so 41 is looking better all the time.
That said, I’m not buying into this whole idea that simply because I have reached a particular age and demographic, I suddenly have a freedom that my apparently beautiful youth did not afford me.
Number one, the assumption being stated – if not overtly, then by suggestion – is that no one would look on a woman over a certain age and find physical beauty, therefore her ability to use such beauty as power is diminished. That seems offensive, no?
The second assumption is that not only were women more attractive in their youth, but they also wielded said beauty as power. Um, I don’t know about everyone else, but my early years held more than enough unfortunate awkwardness – and not in a The Breakfast Club, Ally Sheedy, I just need the popular girl to brush my hair and slap some mascara on me to reveal the kiss-worthy beauty underneath kind-of-way – but more of a Welcome to the Dollhouse so awkward it makes you want to cringe and spend your lunch hour hiding in the girl’s bathroom kind of vibe. It’s hard to let go of something you didn’t have to begin with is all I’m saying.
The third assumption (there may be more but I’m stopping at three because I have cookies to make) is that somehow if I get around the first two assumptions and agree that yes, I worry less about physical beauty now than when I was in my teens and twenties, and that yes, perhaps, in and of itself, that is somewhat liberating – that this somehow equates to a focus on “inner strength.” I don’t even know what inner strength is supposed to mean. If it means that, because I spend less time looking in the mirror I have more time for drinking, then yes, I’ve found my inner strength.
Here’s to letting go…