Sunday, June 27, 2021

Makeup for an Old Tomboy


You all probably know by now that I am a new grandma!!! I can't believe I am actually allowed to say that, but yes. It's true. I feel like it's a gigantic rite of passage, and an honour, and more joy than I thought I would be allowed.. but yes, the wheel is turning as it should. And I am growing older and my children are now having children. As it happens, as it should. So be it.
My moon cycle ended when I turned fifty, or rather, the bleeding part of it, because of course I am still led by the moon and she still affects my body. But the miracle of bleeding every month has passed, and it passed with a dramatic few months when every 23 days or so I would lose what seemed like a bathtub full of deep rich blood.
I gained a lot of extra weight after I had my fifth child at 44. I was miserable, and I was eating too much and badly. I was lonely and out of my element. I felt trapped and disgusted with myself. The younger smarter woman would have left the trap she found herself in, but the older and slower one didn't.
But it was fine, because then I started to run, and run, and run until in 2018, on Mother's Day, I ran 26.2 miles. I felt great! I have always been the type of person who wants a physical challenge: back when I had a farm and four little boys I would always be physically busy. Even being a birth companion is physical. But running long distances is the best! So I just kept running. Every day.

But then Covid happened, and although I kept on running, I entered into a new phase of my relationship with my body.

Maybe because I was always running alone. Maybe because I hurt my foot so I had to take a break. Maybe because my Covid stress came out this way, but I started going through the same kinds of feelings many of us go through as girls when we start to reach adolescence. I remember being so terribly shy; so embarrassed about myself; so uncomfortable with my new breasts.
And suddenly, at 64, my infernal mask started giving me a rash on my face that looked suspiciously like my teenage acne. I started feeling self-conscious when I was out running, sure that people were looking at me and wondering why the plump older lady was lumbering down the street with a running watch on. The nightmare of adolescent self-consciousness started to mix and match itself around in my head, until I realized that I had the answer.

I've never worn a lot of makeup. My mother wore it, but she never passed on any tips. I went through a heavy black eyeliner look when I was a hippie, and then when I flirted with punk. But mostly I love lipstick. I've always worn it - every different color from the lightest pink through deep red to almost purple, and a lighter orange for the summer. 
Covid meant that my lipsticks all disappeared into a drawer. I was wearing it for a while at the beginning until I realized that lipstick plus mask makes a mess. I've been going out every day into the world feeling somehow... naked? 

That's what Covid has done to us. We're all feeling naked, or something close to it. Threatened, maybe. Either by the virus itself or by peoples' reactions to it. People are acting wonderfully and awfully. The best of us has come out, and the worst. Our reality has been jolted, as it is when we go through a life change like puberty, pregnancy or menopause. We've been pushed out of our daily routines, our habits, the familiar ways we used to interact with people.
So I feel self-conscious and weird. So does my friend and my neighbour, and even the young woman at the gas station. We're wearing our masks, and no lipstick, and many of us have gained some weight especially around the belly because of our extra high cortisol levels.

But I think I am seeing a little pinprick of light at the end of the tunnel. I see people interacting in different ways, and trying to create a new, better place for us to live. Of course, I could equally go the darker way and note how much more oppression and repression and basic bullshit there is, which is undeniable. The social media have made us worse as a species, not better. But let's say things are getting better. Let's say every "smile with the eyes", every kind act, every time someone went out of their way in the tiniest way, let's say those little things did add up to a mountain of change, and let's say we are moving to a new er and better "normal". 

Most birth journeys include pain, or at least a few moments of .... to call it discomfort is to minimize it ... ok, let's call it intensity. Most of the birth journeys I have witnessed have had several of these moments: before, during and after the child is born. Maybe this is a time of birthing change. Maybe we are birthing a new world, and the intensity and transition that we all feel is part of it.

But lipstick helps. 



 

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