Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Defining Yourself

    I recently had my 27th birthday, and it has me musing about age.  Not just the "time flies" and "I'm mortal" stuff that has hit me since turning 25, but realizing that I don't really fit into any proper age category.  People squint at me when they first see me trying to figure out what I am.  Am I somebody's teenager?   Somebody's middle aged mother?  I used to think they looked that extra second with wide eyes was because I had acne or wore strange clothes.  Then my skin and my wardrobe calmed down and people still gawked, so I just decided to do whatever I want, people seem to look regardless.  Maybe it's because I'm tall.  Maybe now it's because I have a streak of purple in my hair next to the natural white streak coming in and favor granny cardigans and sometimes men's clothes.  Maybe its because with alter influences my demeanor ranges from unbearably cute to downright scary.

     College kids easily strike up conversations and I get the impression they think I surely go to their campus and they've just missed me somehow.  Teenage girls critically eye me up and down and try to initiate some haughty stare down, then tuck tail and run when I meet it with my stern "Too old to care or be intimidated" gaze and they realize their horrible mistake.  Some young men look utterly perplexed, alternately standing up straight as I approach and then slouching in relief when my granny alter is out -I'm not sure what the difference is here, except the "granny" attitude does seem to come through and they do seem to respond to her as a kind granny.  I often find it easier to strike up conversations with people 2 or 3 times my age, simply because I seem to have more in common with them, and yet, easily turn around and relate to teenagers or toddlers.

  I've been irked by the people cooing over me that I'm "too young and beautiful to waste away hiding", as if I should be wild and carefree going to parties, laughing big laughs with sparkling white teeth, flipping long locks of lustrous hair behind my shoulder, and being around people my own age sucking the marrow out of our youth.  "Live it up" they say.  Harrumph.  As if being solitary, or serious is a waste of life and old ugly people should be shut away.  As if after years of quiet insecurity trying to "measure up" in appearance I should now become a frivolous puppet to complete the transformation and fulfill other peoples' ideal of happiness.  I have always been solemn.  I have always made friends with whom I choose, of all ages.  I have always believed that happiness is to be found inside yourself not by partying or backpacking across Europe, although if that's what you want to do, and you already know about the precious happiness inside you more power to you.  At the same time, if I wanted to marry a pig farmer, have ten kids and never leave the county, well, that could be just as perfect.  And if, ahem, I am content spending my beauty and youth single, with great amounts of solitude broken by quiet intervals of friendships with all types and ages of people (those old ugly ones are some of my favorites, by the way), well that is my own sweet business, isn't it?

     After these conversations I always feel that I am batting away other people's definitions of me like a giant pesky cobweb that I have stepped in.  It clings in annoying barely there wisps around you that you think you've gotten rid of only to continually find strands of it sticking to your clothes and face and hair.  It is the definition of what they want, what they think you should be according to what they are vs. what they wanted to be.  That's my theory anyway.  I'm still batting at that one strand stuck in my caw.  I'm not wasting away damn it. 


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