Thursday, April 17, 2014

Neck Waddles and Why Forever 21 Can Suck It

Nora Ephron said it first, “I feel bad about my neck.”  A few years ago I had inkling as to what she meant but in the past week, I full on feel what ya Nora.  After we hit the big 4-0, we spend a good hunk of the time just rolling along, feeling like a teenager with a better brain trapped in a body that is beginning to sag, yet other times the world decides to make it painfully clear just how damn old we have become.   I’ve had one of those, “Damn girl, you gettin’ old” kind of weeks. 

It started with a selfie.  I’m not a fan and prefer to leave those to the Kardashians and other self-absorbed individuals.  Occasionally though, one really does need
to show the world just what an awesome thing is going on in your life.  Often you find yourself without a photographer nearby, or in my case, my companion has yet to develop the ability to stand upright so therefore he’s not much of a photographer.  My only choice to record the moment seemed to be via selfie.  So I bit the bullet and snapped a self-portrait.  Ok I totally snapped like 50, but when I took a gander at my work, there, glaring at me in every single photo was a neck like the underside of a Thanksgiving turkey.  I have a full-on waddle.  My, “Hey Girl,  you are 42 and you have yoyo dieted a bit too often so gravity is bringin' on the neck sag” waddle.  I tried angle after angle but alas, that waddle was impossible to hide.  I now totally understand why selfies are taken from above but unfortunately, I lacked the coordination for that.  It became immediately clear that I will need to milk this whole scarf trend for the next 10 – 15 years.  I also vowed to never selfie again without a scarf or a child hiding my waddle.  Suck it waddle.

And that was Monday.  On Tuesday I finally went in to get my glasses readjusted after the all the glory of my pregnancy-induced perfect eyesight was finally gone.  I knew I needed an adjustment because I suddenly couldn't see a damn thing and had begun reading at arms length.  I’ve worn glasses since the 7th grade.  I don’t need them 24/7 so I’m cool with it.  What I wasn’t cool with was the fact that the eye doctor was 12.  Maybe he was 13, but I’m pretty sure he was 12.  When he then told me I needed bifocals, I called him a young whippersnapper, beat him over the head with my pocketbook, grabbed my walker and made for the door before he could call security.   “Don’t feel bad Ma’am (Seriously?  Ma’am?  Watch it Bucko.)  Most people need a little help with reading close up in their mid 40’s.  You’re just a little early.”  Suck it Junior.

By the time Wednesday rolled around I nearly kissed the girl at Trader Joe’s who tried to refuse to sell me
beer because I’d misplaced my ID.  (Misplacing incredibly important things happens both with age and with a baby so I’m not sure which to blame it on but I’ll feel younger blaming it on the baby so there we go.)  Clearly the baby tied to me in my hippy baby-sling did nothing to paint me as a responsible adult.  I offered up a waggle of my waddle but she claimed that sagging body parts were not acceptable forms of identification at that establishment.  Not wanting to seem too Betty Ford in my need to purchase the booze, I finally gave up when she smirked, “Oh who am I kidding?  You’re obviously well over 21.  I’ll just push it through this time, but you really should find your ID.”  “Well over 21?“ Suck it Missy.

When Thursday yielded a trip to the mall in search of some costume items for a show I’m currently designing (for those two or three of you who are not devoted readers, I’m a costume designer by trade – don’t get excited.  It’s so not as fab as it sounds, especially in Indiana.) Anyhoo, it didn’t even occur to me that it would be so dangerous, nearly deadly, for a woman of my advance age to enter Forever 21.  I could go on and on about the terror I felt as I went through row upon row of crop tops and booty shorts, but I can’t recount it without medication so I ask you to use your imagination.  Suffice it to say that by the time I got to the rear of the store, I’m certain that I heard a rack of sequined micro minis whisper, “Gurl, this is Forever 21 – and you ain’t been 21 in Forever!  Get yo 42 year old ass outta here.” Suck it micro minis – may a fat girl buy you and stretch you beyond capacity.

I’ve been in my 40’s now for two years but this is the first time I’ve really felt old.  I guess because I spent most of 40 and 41 pregnant and with a new baby.  That combo makes you feel miserable no matter if you are 19 or 40.  Now that our new reality is settling in, I guess it’s time to face up to it.  I’m old.

People always say parenting tiny kids is for the young.  But truth be told, 90% of the time I don’t really feel old.  God knows I have the maturity of a 12 year old boy and in 30 years, that seems to have remained steady.  Sometimes I do think I have more aches and pains.  My back has pretty much been in a constant state of ache since I got knocked up, but I do have a child attached to me 24/7 and unlike the first time I did this, this baby is fat.  Really fat.  So maybe it’s that and not age.  When I hang with other moms over the age of 30, I don’t feel old.  I feel like we’re all pretty much rowing down the same crap-creek and doing the best we can.  I just have a waddle and theirs are only beginning to bloom.  One thing I do know for certain is that I wouldn’t trade my ‘advanced maternal age’ for anything.  I knew young me and I know me now and without a doubt, this me is the only one I would want in charge of rearing children. 

So it seems the only thing to do is exactly what so many women have done before me:  put on a scarf, read bedtime stories through my bifocals and keep enjoying every moment of it because in 20 years, I’ll look back at these baby photos and wonder at how young I look.

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