This topic has been rolling around in my head for weeks now. Remember when the late and great Nora Ephron wrote, “I hate my neck?” She wrote a whole book lamenting the aging female face (and body) and it made bestseller lists. She also decided that since the only time her hair looked good was when she got it done by a stylist, so, since she could afford it, she decided to do that every week and then, always liked her hair. I totally get that! I don’t hate my neck as much as Nora did, but my Howdy Doody puppet chin is shocking every time I look in the mirror. When I pass the mirro, I always try hard not to look, but when I do, I ask, “Really?” And then I wonder, “How DID this happen and WHEN?”
The thing with my chin starts around my lips. Once lush and smooth, those lips have shrunk into the likes of “nun lips.” I always wondered why the Catholic nuns had such skinny lips and now, my punishment is that mine look the same. Then, all around my lips are these lines, created just deep enough to attract lipstick so that one can look like an amoeba when the red travels outwards into each crease. And no, lip liner does not really help because then as the lipstick quickly fades, the ugly lip line remains and thus, all efforts of deceit are revealed. My upper lip leads directly to “smile lines” and if that is true, then darn, I wish I had never smiled! It wasn’t really worth it. Coming from my bottom lip is a deep crease beginning at each edge and traveling down to my chin. I really do look like a marionette now, and the thought of tying stings to my shoulders has occurred to me, if I knew who could be the puppet master to work my voice. . I have spent my life trying to avoid looking or acting remotely like my mother, and this is not helping! She did hate her neck though, so I will stick with these other defects.
Today, I head to the hairdresser. This will be torture because I am set in front of the mirror for hours and try as I may, I cannot stay steady in my looking away and averting the frontal gaze. The stylist is good, but he’s no miracle worker and I will agonize over what hairstyle might just work to make me look more attractive, aka “young” and there is no such thing. I toy with the idea of going gray, but frankly, I do not know how one does that in transition from colored hair to uncolored hair. I still don’t use permanent color, opting for demi-permanent instead, so as to avoid the gray root line of “demarcation!” And further, it terrifies me to think I would look even older then, but maybe not! So, I actually have 18 hairstyle pictures I am bringing with me to show him. This should convince him that I am out of my mind or if not, that I am a narcissist. I am wise enough to not bring any photos of Jennifer Lopez or Miley Cyrus or the like and only have those “older women” pix of short hair, long hair and everything in between. The fact that these photos include Diane Sawyer, Meryl Streep, Diane Keaton, Jodi Foster, and more celebrities who have their own personal stylists (making them beautiful 24/7), should be no problem! I am not bringing a photo of Jamie Lee Curtis!
But, and here is the big “but”—I did not write this and tried hard to make myself stop even thinking about this, because it is trivial and shallow and all things vain and inappropriate. I do not have dreads either, like Anne Lammot (who I lust after as my future BFF), but, I do know gratitude. And like Anne I do know the value of Help, Thanks, Wow” and I do know that life is made of “Stitches” for all the holes of pain and loss and fear. It is a cold, cold January in Raleigh and unlike me who crawled into a warm bed next to the man I adore last night, others slept outside in cartons along Moore Square. And for yesterday and for today, still everyone I love more than what seems humanly possible, is healthy. The heat is on, my car was fixed yesterday and I was able to pay the $500 it cost to fix it. (or at least put it on my credit card!) My chin works well enough to drink and swallow the delicious smoothie I made and my brain is coordinated enough to crank out words. My hands can type them, my boys are waiting at school for me to pick them up and my trip to the hairdresser will be a lucky one, because many women I know have lost all their hair, and are waiting for it to grow back, along with recovering their vulnerable good health. I have a head full of thick and healthy hair, no matter what length and what color. I am afraid of the jinxes associated with asking for small and trivial things, when the big things are healthy and well at the moment. I know with all my heart and all my soul, that nothing really matters as much as this, no matter how puppet-like my chin may be! Please God, keep my blessings as is, know I am grateful for all, and let me live in “the normal” for as many days as possible. This day, is a normal one.