My underarms are depressed. The other day, as I stepped out of the shower and wrapped a towel tightly around me, I noticed something highly inappropriate out of the corner of my eye: CREPEY SKIN!
Not to be confused with CREEPY, “crepey” is the word I hear uttered in every anti-wrinkle cream commercial, by a model that’s likely in her early 20s, trying to convince this older gal that my skin will look smooth and elastic like hers, if I shell out hundreds of dollars for a tiny vial of miracle serum. And why does this fountain of youth always come in such a teensy vial with such teensy instructions that force me to pull out my fucking reading glasses that I finally had to buy because my fucking eyesight is also “not what it used to be?”
“Crepey” refers to the sagging, lacklustre, loose skin that seems to appear overnight on the reluctantly aging body. For the record, I’ve officially registered “crepey” skin under my arms, on top of my shoulders and on my kneecaps when I’m in downward dog. MY KNEECAPS!
As a bonus, I’ve also noticed that my eyelids are sinking into their sockets. It’s hard to describe, but especially when I’m tired, my eyelids seem to collapse into my skull. My face, the one part of my body that I want to keep plump, is deflating into an unamused sinkhole.
Grey hair? Not so much on my head, but in my fucking nostrils. And hidden in my eyebrows. Then there was the completely random, rather coarse hair I found on my ass a little while back. For days I’d felt what I thought was a scratch, on my right butt. When I finally looked at it in the mirror, I was startled to see a fucking hair. Huzzah!
I used to have great skin. No seriously, my friends, even strangers on buses used to tell me how great my skin was. Of course at the time, I couldn’t see what they saw. Do we ever? But looking at photos of me in my 20s, I totally see it now.
I always looked younger than my age. Probably an Asian thing, but it was always, “What?! You’re how old?! You don’t look such and such an age!” Lately, when my age comes up, I wait for the obligatory shocked reaction but alas that, too, has diminished. Now I get “Ma’am,” more than “Miss,” which, for the record, never feels good. Every so often I get thrown a bone, like when I was carded at the liquor store by a gal who was probably around my age. I chuckled as I handed her my ID, and I swear her body jerked a little from the shock of seeing my birthdate. She chuckled too, a little embarrassed and said, “Well, just be thankful you look young!” Trust me sister, I do. Or at least, I did.
Aside from these cosmetic changes and some physical discomforts, I still feel pretty youthful. Being a dancer has a lot to do with it. The whole rolling around on floors in stretchy pants, and general artsy vibe keeps me feeling young. These days, however, I’m in studios with people half my age, or younger. But I’m only reminded of it when someone says something like, “I was totally in kindergarten when 9/11 happened,” or “I’ve never used a payphone.”
Today is my birthday. I’m 48. Here are some things I’ve figured out so far:
Freckles become age spots after 30; grey hair does multiply when I pluck them, plus when they grow back, they stick straight up, like fucking beacons in the night; hangovers last more than one day; 28 was way harder than 38 or 48; repeating stories and forgetting names makes me feel old; I care less about what people think, but I still care too much; I’m continually gobsmacked by people’s capacity to love and to hate; getting matched with M on EHarmony, on my birthday, six years ago was the best present of my life; eating good food and wine is a transcendent experience; when people show you who they are, believe them (I borrowed that one from Maya Angelou); we all have cellulite, and we’re all afraid of something; getting older is easier (and way more fun!) when you have some great gals to commiserate with; and food tastes so much better, when I don’t give a shit about the calories.
Happy birthday to me! So far, so good.