But this, this Solaraze is supposed to be NOTHING LIKE EFUDEX, according to my new dermatologist and the oozing and scabbing came on slowly and it wasn't until just last week that I realized that this was again, horrible. After reading some things online I'm not sure that what I'm experiencing is right at all and I am not going to keep applying it and I am going to go back to see the doctor, I guess, dammit, fuck it, motherfucking fuck.
Here's why he convinced me not to just get the liquid nitrogen burn treatment- he claimed that this gel will get what we can't even see yet. And I understand that. But this is unlivable and not working for me at all. I am miserable and already so unhappy with the way I look that adding this layer of sheer nastiness to my face, not to mention the way it FEELS, is intolerable.
I just hope to hell it all heals.
I have been thinking lately that I am a self-hating ageist. Is this even possible? Why don't more people talk about this? It must be fairly universal or the plastic surgery and anti-aging cream industry wouldn't be what it is. It's actually starting to affect my life. I have never had a very positive self-image. Even when I was young and quite beautiful, which I now realize I was, looking back, I never thought of myself as such. Oh, I had my moments when I was not unaware of being a decent-looking woman but even the attention of a great many men didn't make me feel as if I was really a very fine looking woman. I always felt that perhaps they, the men, just knew that there was something sexual about me and that that was why they turned their eyes to me. When you are sexually abused as a child you are taught a wicked lesson which is that your worth is in your sexuality. Sexual predators frequently give gifts to their victims and they pay attention to them and they show what could be interpreted as love to them. Of course, this is all a sick lie but children are so eager to be loved, to be paid attention to, to be given presents. Especially children who lack these things in their lives for whatever reason. A mother who cannot demonstrate them, who may be emotionally lacking and somewhat withholding in the love and affection department.
But, because of this and because of that, I never ever really liked my looks although in my forties I got a lot closer to doing that than I had ever done before in my life. I was a regular and devoted exerciser, I watched my diet closely, I appreciated my body and what it could do whether walking miles at the Greenway or lifting weights or working in the yard. Sure, I do some of that now, but not to that extreme and I looked rather fine in my forties and they were my favorite decade in many ways.
And then the fifties came and things began to crumple and rumple in a way that was no joke and the sunspots appeared in earnest and the weight became harder and harder to control. Of course, menopause was part of all of this- a completely natural part of a woman's life but, not unlike labor, very hard to bear at times. The hot flashes were endless and frustrating and were in no way under my control. They took me over like a demon and I even felt like a demon as they came on, as if I could rend and tear something, a huge hot anger would engulf me and believe me, sweeties, experiencing that as often as forty or fifty times a day can break a woman down.
It's hard. Menopause is such a time of loss. Loss of fertility and loss of the physical cycle which has been a part of her life for so very long, a thing as trusted and predictable (in my case anyway) as the moon. And my fertility was always a very strong part of my sense of self. Pregnancy made me feel powerful and if there ever was a time in my life when I felt beautiful, it was some of those months when my babies were growing inside of me. And oh! how I loved those babies. Perfect, pure love. For the first time in my life, that was what I felt when my babies were born and were young.
And so even though I knew I didn't want any more children when I hit menopause, I felt bereft when the possibility was taken from me. I know. It doesn't make sense but that's the honest truth. I have always been extremely womb-centered. I love bags and bowls and baskets. I love the shape of an egg in my hand, I love the cup of a baby's bottom in my palm, the roundness of their heads. All of it- all of the roundness of life which holds things- these are the things I have always been drawn to.
And so I have had to adapt, you know. To rethink how I feel about myself and my worth as my womb dried up and as my sexuality became so much less prominent. It's hard to admit that, but it's true.
And of course I know that there are beautiful older women. I adore beautiful older women, I admire them, I see their beauty.
I just do not feel, in any way, as if I were one of them.
I simply feel as if I look more and more like an older MAN if you want to know the truth, and old age can do that. It can androgenize us, men and women both, as our defining physical sexual characteristics fade and blur. And droop and sag. And...
It's just hard.
And of course it's not just the way I look but the way I feel, as well. Fearful, always, that my health or my husband's health will fail. And eventually, that will be the case for both of us. And, as I do, I am pre-worrying about it incessantly. If he doesn't answer the phone, I feel certain he's dropped dead from a heart attack. Every headache portends a brain tumor. Every red spot on the skin a cancer. Every palpitation a coronary.
It's all ridiculous and it's real and I hope to come to some peace with all of it.
And of course, older age does have its benefits, mainly grandchildren.
Here is Owen when he was at the birthday party today at the Evil Chuck E Cheese.
There's your beauty. Isn't he grown-up looking? A boy at his first big-boy birthday party. I am stunned at that child and his gorgeousness.
And this. Well.
This is one of the most beautiful pictures I've ever posted.
Gibson and his grandfather.
The man I love and who seems to still love me, despite the fact that I am looking like an old man these days. An old man with oozing, scabbing, itching places on my face. And perhaps eventually the face will heal and I'll come to terms with my aging face and body. It may be a slow process but I'm hopeful in that I'm now pretty resigned to the fact that I'm probably never going to have another baby.
And I am even cool with calling myself a crone and the very idea of that used to make me want to just go ahead and jump off a bridge and get it all over with.
I still have those moments but looking at that picture, I know I might as well stick around for awhile.
And if I have a deity, she would be Ixchel, the Mayan Crone, Goddess of the moon and fertility and childbirth and weaving and the sea and writing.
And if I ever get around to getting a tattoo, that'll be what I get. On my crumpled, rumpled, old soft skin. She holds a bowl and yes, it is upside down, but it represents to me the roundness and fullness that was once there, which is something to remember. To know that even after that which was has disappeared, there can still be power and life and purpose and meaning.
Well, that's my post tonight wherein I tell you honestly how one woman, me, feels about aging and a little bit about why she got herself into this horrible, horrendous, horrifying medical treatment.
I had a wonderful time with Gibson today. If you tell that boy you love him, he will hug you and kiss you like nobody's business. Ain't no one withholding love or affection from those children. And I told him I loved him about, oh, fifty times.
And he doesn't care if I'm old. He points to the places on my face and I say, "That's my boo-boo," and he digs his finger in, that pointed little finger and I have to tell him no and then he hugs me some more.
I may be a crone and my face may be fucked up but my grandsons love me anyway and I couldn't know and love them and be loved by them if I wasn't a crone.
Which is wonderful but to be honest, doesn't make it ALL better.
But it sure helps.