“She is one of those ladies who is more beautiful at sixty than she could possibly have been at twenty. (how I hope someone says that about me someday)!” ― Mary Ann Shaffer
Lately, I have been comparing myself to my goats and their quirky personalities. As of late, I have been feeling like I imagine Mama Boo to feel. Mama Boo is one of the older goats in our herd. She is the mama of my sweet baboo and the sweetest, nicest lady I have yet to encounter. Mama Boo has developed a more mature appearance. She has grown quite an impressive beard, her udders are exceptionally hairy, and she has taken on the appearance of a thin, in-milk dairy goat. She is still lovely; she is just lovely in an older way. She has to hold her position in the herd with some steely aggression and quiet determination. I am not like Mama Boo in the sense that I have a beard, hairy udders, and I’m definitely not super thin, but she is getting older and has to stand her ground in order to not be overlooked or undermined. She puts the younger does in their place without being too harsh and she feels she has to prove her worth.
The fact of the matter is, I am getting older whether I like it or not. It matters not that my mind still feels like it’s 29. It matters not that my sense of humor falls somewhere around a sophisticated 12…if there is such a thing. It matters not that I want to look and feel like I did when I was 25 but the realization is, I just don’t. The quandary I have been facing for almost two years now is how I will go about this aging process. Will I go gracefully and accept each year and the changes it brings with fortitude and strength or will I fight this unseen and let’s face it, unfair enemy tooth and nail with dyes, acids, and scalpels?
My Bibbed Wonder encourages me to age naturally and gracefully. He says he looks forward to us growing old together. He tells me he thinks my graying hair is beautiful and my wrinkles are laugh lines that prove he is doing his job of making me happy. (He wasn’t so concerned about my laugh lines when he cut down my tree, was he?) …again, I am beating that poor horse and digressing. However, what The Bibbed Wonder fails to point out, is that he is eight years my junior. He will always be eight years my junior and I will always be eight years his senior and we will never truly grow old together because I will always be almost a decade older than he. I appreciate his efforts though.
Now a peek into my psyche: my dad was a very handsome man. His good looks often helped to get him into a lot of trouble. I look very much like my dad and my great-grandmother, and my dad had high expectations for my appearance. There was a lot of value placed upon image, beauty, and weight. My dad’s advice to me when I married Eric, “You’ve got yourself a young one. If you want to keep him, don’t let yourself go.” You see, my Bibbed Wonder was a mere pup of 22 when we married and I was a cougar of 30. I laugh and tell others I was a cougar before it was cool. Yep, trend setter that is me. However, back to my psyche and my dad: Um, yea, that could mess with one’s head and one’s self esteem if allowed to do so.
Fortunately, I am more evolved and have had years of working on self-growth, self-esteem, and a little sprinkling of therapy thrown in for good measure, spoken with completely false bravado. Without the pressure of family expectations thrown in, the societal pressure to remain young, fit, and the picture of youth is a pretty heavy weight to carry around as well. There are injections to fill in lines, there are food poisoning by-products to paralyze your facial muscles, there are silicones and saline to plump, pump, and perk your sagging features. I will be honest, if I were with someone more like my father and less like my Bibbed Wonder, I would dabble in all the above…probably. I am honest enough to admit, there is and probably always will be a shallow, vain side of me that wants to look young and attractive. However, when armed with information, one can make educated decisions about what one puts into and onto one’s body. As of now, I choose to not inject myself with such advances. I feel like the side effects and potential damage are not worth the results.
However, the real battle I have been fighting and is less invasive but still pretty shallow, is my greying hair. My hair is turning silvery white all around the front and the back remains dark, a more faded version of my original dark, but still dark. I have colored my hair and fought the greys for many years…like since my 20’s. It has been in the last two years that my greys have become more prominent and harder to cover. I have been contemplating allowing my hair to go natural but have been on the fence about doing it. Last fall, I made up my mind I was going to smoothly transition to grey or white…really just hair that lacks pigment. Let me educate you dear reader, there is no smooth transition to go from colored hair to natural hair and not look like a cartoon character, a Disney villain, or just some poor shmuck who needs a good stylist. Painful, absolutely freaking painful it was! I went really, really blonde and my hair dried and broke off. I went warmer, gentler blonde and it turned brassy by week three. Then I went to, “daughter had surgery and she takes precedence, stay at home order and your stylist is not permitted to practice, let’s throw in baby goat season when there is no time to do anything but wash off the smell of poo, afterbirth, and milk, tricolor white, blonde, dark.” Not an attractive look, trust me. However, it lessened the pain of the process and the decision to go au natural. I contemplated cutting off all my hair and starting over but let’s be honest, I have a big, fat Tonkin head and it’s not a look a feel I can pull off.
My bad ass stylist and friend, Mandi, made the trip to the farm and worked her magic…a bit. She trimmed, highlighted the whites, and darkened the blondes to a more natural brown put on a blue toner for brassiness and declared battle victory over the aging process. Meanwhile, her smart ass 14-year-old son informed me, “I look hot for an old lady.” Not sure if I’m completely grossed out by a 14-year-old boy dubbing me as hot, irritated that he called me old, or disturbed that I’m even contemplating what came out of his foul little mouth. I should have just gone with my knee jerk reaction and purple-nurpled him.
Just the other night, I was looking at hair color on Pinterest…it’s what I do when I’m not making soap…and I informed my bib wearing buddy that I think I am going to color my hair again. It was a moment of weakness and the color and style of the 20-something modeling it looked hella cute. Eric’s response was exasperation and irritation, “Seriously, after all we’ve been through, you’re thinking of coloring it?” I laughed at his response. However, after pondering his words it hit me with an impactful weight; we really are in this together. My struggles are his struggles whether he likes it or not, he is an active participant in my real life or self-imposed issues. The meaningful and honest response he gave me is enough to soothe the ugly monster of insecurity and self-doubt. I guess I can stop feeling like Mama Boo because with Eric I do not have to prove my self worth. It’s a bit of a comfort to know that no matter what my size, my hair color, or how many birthday candles are on my birthday cake (which I will eat with unbridled enjoyment) he thinks I rock and his opinion is the only one that matters, except my own of course. Now, when the day arrives that I grow a healthy beard and have hairy udders, medical hair removal is not off the table. However, until then I will just do what I try to do best, be me.
As always, stay safe, stay smart, try to be good at being you, and keep up the hand washing until this passes. Even if it passes, it’s never acceptable to not wash your hands…seriously people.