Thursday, March 12, 2015

Indeed a natural woman

She was being interviewed on TV. The interviewer was commenting on how wonderful she looked at 80 years of age. Hm. I had known her career from when I was a child on to present day. To me she looked worse than ever before. Like so many other women who are aging, she did what she could to look younger, better. But did she succeed?

Working retail, I see a lot of women. Obviously, women of a certain age begin to fear their age. The hair color gets wonky. Never looks quite natural. The amount of make up increases. In most cases, the perfume gets heavier. I wonder, "Do they understand that they are more beautiful without the artificial look."

I've yet to see someone who has had a facelift who looks natural. Botox makes for faces only half expressive. Lips don't move. Smiles are half as lovely as they should be. Over and over I wonder why. Is being the best-you-can-be made from artificial sources? Why are we so bothered by the way we are? Why do men and women think they need to improve? What is so bad about aging, having laugh lines, having inner beauty?

I gave up hair color a long time ago. Chemicals on my scalp didn't seem to be so smart. I found that I had some lovely hair beneath that boxed color. A good hair cut and my white/grey turned into something I could embrace and have compliments on daily.

Perhaps it is insecurity. An insecurity brought on by what we see in magazines, in movies and on TV. Perhaps insecurity in the workforce and private lives where competition lives. A silly sense of beauty. Some of the most beautiful older women I have seen allow themselves to be natural. Their spirit is shown in their faces. Nothing distracts from seeing the true loveliness. What is the problem with embracing grey hair, wrinkles, a bit of sagging here and there? I certainly don't want to spend the rest of my life fighting the ravages of time. I don't consider them ravages. I am a map of my life. I am an older woman and embrace the beauty that comes with it. A peace that I didn't have in my youth. A wisdom that allows me to be myself and to embrace others. A picture of the true me. I have no time to fuss. I want that time to live and be those I love.

I wanted the woman on TV to look normal. I wanted to tell her that the five days she spends in the gym and obviously the massive other hours she is spending on her skin and hair aren't working for her and are eating up her life. Over and over we see it as celebrities age. Faces numb and layers of make up and colors. Maybe it is my 1960's history rebelling. "I am woman. Hear me roar.", "I am a natural woman", Free to be You and Me.

My grandchildren will see what beauty comes from aging. I am indeed a natural woman.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Working our way up to eye to eye

Knees. Yep, knees. A toddler sees nothing but knees and chins from the time they are born until they reach somewhere between three and four years of age. Always the same in their little lives. People looking down on them. Their little necks must get tired looking up at us all the time. I can't see under my chin, so I hope the view is good. Yep, knees and chins.

I detest meals where the children either eat before the parents or at family gatherings are relegated to the children's table. I grew up sitting with the adults. I learned patience and respect at that table. I learned about my family history as well as what was happening in the lives of those around me. I learned to listen. As I grew older, I learned to participate in the conversations. Learning to observe. Learning about those I love.

Why isolate the children? Well, probably because there isn't enough room at the table or perhaps the parents don't want to be bothered. So including them takes a little effort and perhaps a lot of patience. Well, isn't that what parenting is all about? Children grow up and are gone too quickly. A baby turns into a preschooler before you know it. Toys fall away and soon a new driver is on the road. I'm in my later years and realize how important it is to celebrate each and every moment with the children.

Never have I been aware of age. I attribute this to the times I was included with the family. Of course, growing up country, you learned at an early age to work along side the adults. It was indeed a blessing. Trust comes with inclusion. Worlds are larger when tapped into other aged people.

Now honesty time. It is work. Pulling yourself up to the task at the end of a long day is difficult. Stopping to work with a toddler when the family has gathered for the first time in ages, calls on every resource mentally and physically when a child is screaming. As my son would say, "Mom, you don't understand." Well, I do. Yes, he has twins. Twice the work. Twice the challenge. And, if you work at the patience, twice the success for the adult and the child.

I try as much as possible with the two-year-olds to get down to their size when I talk to them. Eye contact and focus is important. They deserve it. Then the task of reading the child. What does that child need from you....from the situation? Sometimes they cannot articulate how they feel. Another task. Ask questions. Look around the room and try to understand. If it is a baby, you try everything ; however, I find that adult tension feeds the distress of a baby. Calming arms and quiet voices go a long way. With older kids asking questions about their lives and friends is a must. You might not really be interested but the more you are involved, the more you will care. Respect for the child begets loving relationships.

I have never really had a good look under my chin. I can well understand when a small child looks up at Santa and sees white hair crawling from his chin to the child. The prospective of a child. The gift of teaching and learning from raising children only makes us into better people. Relinquishing pieces of our own comfort and ease opens doors to more trusting relationships.

Knees and chins. Working our way up to eye to eye.