I always prided myself on eschewing the mainstream makeup wisdom that requires eyebrows to be neatly curved and well defined. There was also a time during my mis-spent youth when I refused to shave my legs and underarms. It was the 60’s and social norms and expectations of all kinds were being questioned and tested, including those that defined proper womanhood during the 1950’s. Besides, the argument went, European women, who at that time seemed to occupy an exulted place in the average male’s pantheon of ideal woman, didn’t shave either–or at least that was the generally accepted information then.
I still don’t use makeup, much to the chagrin of my lovely daughter–an artist for whom all life is a canvas, including face, hair, clothing and accessories. Whenever I am going anywhere more classy than the local grocery store (believe me, the bar is not too high here), she offers to make up me! I decline, not because she doesn’t do a good job, but because I just don’t feel like myself all dolled up like that!
As I grew older, I knew that physical changes were inevitable. Wrinkles don’t bother me too much. Minor flareups of arthritis are manageable. Other problems, which I am too polite to mention here, are annoying, but so far can be kept under reasonable control. Grey hair is a badge of survival. There are a few more serious issues to deal with, but I’m learning to minimize their effect on my health and emotional well-being.
But those doggone bristly white hairs that have decided to populate my chin drive me to distraction. How I can be so calm about spinal stenosis which, let’s face it, could ultimately cripple me, but go over the edge at the sight of a few stray hairs, I have no clue. And, please, don’t let me get started about the ones that are dangling out of my nose.
I tell myself I shouldn’t sweat the small stuff or make mountains out of mole hills. I used to get impatient with older people, back when it wasn’t personal yet, if they would become agitated over some small detail, or irritated because of some minor change in routine. But I understand more now. Aging is a long, hard process of letting go, of health, friends, independence and ultimately everything.
It takes a lot of pluck to survive these golden years! So if I want to be obsessive over a few stray hairs, just remember, I’m in charge of the tweezers, thank you very much!!