Saturday, December 5, 2009

I'm So Vain. I Probably Think This Post Is About Me.

I have the saddies today. I'm not sure why.
Maybe it started last night when I looked down at my legs while I was brushing my teeth. It was a horrifying moment. I've always had legs that are decent, if I do say so myself, from ankles on up but when I looked at them last night in the stark white light of the bathroom, it was as if someone had come and taken my very own legs and replaced them with the blobby white legs of some blobby old white woman and it was enough to make me want to fall down on the floor and cry.

Et tu, my legs? I wanted to sob.

But what can you do? Finish brushing your teeth, rinse, spit, get in bed. Go to sleep.

Today Mr. Moon and I brought all the tender potted plants in and it killed me that although I know I can still lift and carry some of the bigger ones, I should not. I'm already in pain all the fucking time and why make it worse? Do I want to permanently cripple myself? And so I flittered and fussed about Mr. Moon as he lifted some of these huge plants and brought them in and I made cuttings of the firespike to root for next year's planting and some cuttings of some of my favorite begonias and stuck them in pots in case something horrible should befall the mother plants. But I felt weak and pitiful and then I slipped on the mildewed back deck and fell and if there's anything that makes me feel older and more pathetic than falling, I don't know what it is.
Fuck. As if my foot didn't hurt enough already. And then I just started to cry. Not because I hurt myself badly, but because I am getting older and that's just the way it is.

I cut my last blooming zinnias and some African basil and a few other things still blooming because it might freeze tonight and if it does, all these things will be nothing but brown mush by tomorrow afternoon and that made me sad, too, although I made a bouquet of them which is beautiful and aromatic with the basil. And then I had to cut back my beloved mango tree. The one in the pot I started from a seed I got from a mango in Roseland, my childhood town, the same tree we ate from when I was a just a little river and jungle-rat there, running around brown and fat with mango fiber between my teeth and howling when I stepped on a cactus. And I know it's okay to cut my mango tree back. It has to be cut back in order to save it and for it to continue to live in a pot and it can't stay outside in the ground because it will freeze.

So I guess it's just all of this- it's winter, truly and time to face the fact that if I don't do something about my plants, they will die, and no matter what I do, I'm going to die one day, too. And it's not death I'm afraid of. It's this slow degeneration of the body which cannot be halted because it is part of life.

I cannot be made young again. There is no way. And look- it sucks. I'm not going to lie to you. I do think older women can be and are beautiful. I'm not saying that it's not possible, but I'm also saying that to lose my legs' fine form seems like more of a cruelty than I can bear somehow. I know it's not a big deal. It's not cancer. It's just time and gravity and age and life.

But I'm sad. Because it's not just how things look, it's how they feel and how they don't work like they used to. And somehow, some way, I didn't think it would happen with such rapidity. Just like every year I can't believe it's going to freeze, but it does.

I'll leave you with a memory. It's from when I was a stupid-butt-headed teenager and my mother, probably in her forties at the time, was doing some sort of exercise routine with those pulley ski ropes you attached to a door handle and all I could think was, "Why?" I mean, she was OLD and it wasn't like she was going to date again (although she did, years later) and it wasn't like anyone cared what she looked like.

What I didn't realize is that SHE did. She cared. That there is no off-button to the caring about how we look. We may not be as vain as we were when we were young, but dammit, we're always still vain. Even if we mostly live in overalls and we muck out chicken coops. We want those legs under the overalls to look good. And be strong and sturdy and capable of carrying us for a long, long time.

Not weak and with blobby flesh hanging around our bones.

We want to look as good as we can and for a long time, that's not so bad. It's good enough.
For a long time.
But not for an endless time, it would appear.

Winter. Fuck winter. Why do you think all the old people move south? It's not because they can't take the cold. It's because they hate the reminder of every year's passing, of everything dying. We know spring will return. To the earth, anyway.
But never, not the way it once did, to us.

And I'll try not to write about aging any more for awhile. I promise. At least until that beautiful bouquet passes on. Okay? Deal?



  1. ah moon..i wish i could come over and give you a ol´big hug...or maybe i d rather pinch your butt so you know you are still beautiful...i didnt saw your legs yet but one of your daughters mentionet them a while ago..and that didnt sound bad at all..:-))

    so..i had a bad day too..and i cooked lasagna and had another bottle of that wonderful romanian i drink to you and your wonderfullness...

  2. Danielle- I have nothing to say but please bring some of that lasagna over here and okay, you can pinch my butt. Thank-you.

  3. Getting older sucks. And somehow it's not much comfort when people remind you that 20 years from now you'll look back at yourself now and think how great you looked and felt... even if it is true.

  4. It's just been a genearlly sucky day all up and down the east coast. But, the winter is the only time I'll wear a short skirt, because I can hide my legs with opaque tights. In the summer, it's ankle length dresses or pants, I don't even like capris anymore...

  5. It does to get older. But, you are right, it is the process of life. Time keeps marching on and babies are born. Take comfort in your Owen. And know that if you had not been here there would be no him. And that is certainly worth a lot!

  6. Oh you. I feel like hugging you too. You made me cry a bit. I could just FEEL everything you were feeling because you write like that, which is not easy at all. Which is magic actually. Fuck winter is right, and falling and getting old. I'm sorry you fell. I know just what you mean about your tender plants. Oh but to see zinnias still made me so happy. Mine are long gone. I'm glad you had enough happy in you to bother with the bouquet because it was a gift to you and to us.
    I think your legs are quite sexy, from what I've seen of them crouching near the chickens. But I understand all that too.
    Go easy on yourself.
    Oh and what you said about why old people move south was brilliant. So true, never thought of it like that.
    Nothing is the same ever,as the years pass, sometimes that is wonderful, sometimes horribly heartbreaking.

  7. First, so sorry about the mood. I have that one a lot lately. Very sorry you fell, its so indignant, isn't it? When I fell on Thursday, I flinched and hurt my entire neck/back/shoulder muscle area, and I got stuck laying on the floor and could not get up. I cried and cried and my poor little 12 year old daughter helped me up and tried to comfort me before she ran for the bus. I could cry right now. I can't look closely in the mirror right now because that is not the me I remember looking back. Thank goodness for mood swings in the other direction, and for being blessed with Mr.'s who help us move the heavy stuff. I tell mine I'm broken all the time now, and he feels sorry for me. Small comfort. And I tell myself the same thing you do, that I shouldn't complain because I am still here, reasonably healthy. But, damn chronic pain can wear a person down to a nub. A stub. A raw nerve. Well, here's to good days. So sorry yours wasn't, and mine either. Fuck gravity. Let's stop falling down for a while, slow down and take care, OK? Hugs.
    Oh, and your posies are so lovely, and so surprising to see so far up north here. Yes, moving south is way up on my priority list. Just gotta graduate these babies and move where it's bearable! More hugs!

  8. Mother exercises, still, on the cusp of 90. She walks in circles in my sister's big house and gets her hair done every Friday and drives to the mailbox because she does not want the wind to blow her hair. She changes her outfits five times to get the right one before going out. Does a chair dancing exercise video, waving around paper plates. She looks at my sister and me with undisguised jealousy in her eyes. Because we are "young" still.

    Oh vanity, we are your slaves.

    So, I suppose when the woman who has vexed me and been the driver of so much of my life despite my attempts to separate is no longer there I finally will see myself as old. I suppose that is one good thing about having such a tie that binds so closely. Despite all. I am laughing so hard now I am near tears. I never saw it until your post. I just adore you, Ms. Moon.

  9. There must be something in the air, and it must be a bi-coastal something because I've been a bit obsessed with the aging thing of late, and it's something that I'm generally never obsessive about. I feel, sometimes, as if I'm in mourning. For the old, beautiful me. And I always feel stupid when I think about this and obsess about this because I KNOW it's not "cancer" or something, but I just can't help it. The other day I started weeping at the corner of an intersection in my car when I spotted a beautiful young man waiting for the light. I felt attracted to him and then simultaneously aware that I would NEVER have him. OH, ENOUGH!!! Talk about vanity...

  10. Oh. So many thoughts. I had the saddies all week. And I always feel a little melancholy when I see picts from just a few years ago or new varicose veins on the backs of my legs.

    It must be winter

  11. I so hear you. I sobbed in a strong man's arms yesterday just to feel better (and it worked far better than I'd ever admit).

    One thing I'll say is the other side ... take the afore-mentioned man. He looks in the mirror and finds a middle-aged man who is a shadow of his former buff self. I look at him and see a man who is completely sizzling hot in a way that my clothes just fall off and I swoon. I leer and grope every chance I get because he is so incredibly delicious exactly the way he is. I don't see age and deterioration and less. At all.

    And I thought, maybe that's how I need to look at myself. Because my view of him isn't any less true than his view of himself, and it makes a happier story.

  12. Oh darling, turn down the lights, strike a match, turn on the candles and pour a lovely glass of your favorite beverage. Aging is hell....but as my Dad notes, the alternative is worse. Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night and cry out, "Oh my lord, I only have 20 years left!" As if...anyway I am completely enamored with yoga these days. Feels good all over and helps not only strength and balance but internal balance. I don't want to push my blog on you but I shared my super fabulous yoga class! (Letting Go Yoga Style, Come on out to Seattle and take a class with me! Loved your post!

  13. Mood lighting, I think, is what you need.

  14. Hugs to you. With my arms that have wrinkling skin started to ooze down over my elbow. My daughter lovingly pointed it out to me last night when I was getting ready to go out to a Xmas function for my husband's work.
    Nice. Foxy.

  15. Oh Mama, I'm so sorry you had those awful blues today. I'm also sorry that you fell- believe me, I know that porch is like a death trap when it get's all moist outside like this, because I've totally slipped out there before and it's embarrassing at any age. I wonder why that is?

    Anyway, I just have to tell you that you were so great tonight. Absolutely, you are a pro and a damn good reader. And all I could think about was how gorgeous my mama is. You truly, truly are.

  16. two winters ago i had to make my way over a crossroad...and all 4 roads very full of waiting cars (because of the travic lights of coars)...i was in a hurry and run actually across the whole thing instead of just crossing on single street..and..i slipped on the wetness and the snow mush..i felt down in front of possibly 20 people who hated me because i was running across a crossroad..that was..emberassing...

  17. Falling over makes me cry. Like a little girl.

    The last time was last winter when I was in the horrors and my husband wasn't really... being my husband... and I went out to move the car so he could go, and I slipped on the step, legs in the air flat onmy back, winded.

    And he tried to hug me but all I could do was just sit in the car and lay my head on the steering wheel and sob and sob and sob.

    Ugh. Hate falling over!

    Danielle is comforter of women's imperfect asses, yesterday, Blessings be upon him!

    Here is a poem for you, Ms Moon.

    SOrry I'm late, I was baking cupcakes all fucking day yesterday.

  18. Ms. Moon, those saddies, you write them best of all. And when you do, they grab me by the throat. I hope your saddies leave you soon.

    I'm not kidding if I say that I was admiring your legs just the other day in that chicken picture, but I was too shy to comment on them. At least on photo they look great.


  19. Stephanie- Well, take that advice because it's true, cold comfort that it may be.

    Lucy- Ah. Let's all just wear burkas and be done with it.

    Sally- It IS!

    Ms. Dish- I know. He is my cutting, my little sproutling.

    Bethany- True words. And frankly, my calves are still great.

    Mel- Ah. Bless us. What can we do? Get up and go on. Grow flowers. Keep 'em alive as long as possible. I don't know.

    Glimmer- Oh my. Well, that tears it right there. We shall never escape this holy hell of vanity. Thank you for relating all of that. I especially love the chair video with paper plate image. Yes.

    Elizabeth- I have known those bitter tears. I have known them.

    Michelle- I have seen your pictures. You look to be about sixteen and you are beautiful. Trust me.

    Nola- All I can say is- WHOA! I need to catch up on your blog!

    Cinda- Seattle's a little far. Here, read what I wrote here about yoga and aging:

    Aunt Becky- Yes. But one cannot go around with a candle in one's pocket all the time. I wish.

    Deb- Children just love to point this shit out, don't they?

    HoneyLuna- Well, honey, it was your reflected light. I swear. I love you so.

    Danielle- Yes. That would have been embarrassing. At least no one saw me but some fat, laughing squirrels.

    Jo- Yep. That says it all. Can I have a cupcake, please?

    Mwa- Well, like I said, the calves are still good.

  20. ohno..i ´really dont like suirrels..:-/

  21. Honestly, I don't see you as old, and I probably never will. Even when we are old ladies together.

  22. I just love you; and I love your lges, too, and wish mine looked that good, truly.

  23. LOL - nothing new and exciting on my blog. :) Just musing here about how I can think of all my physical shortcomings or how I can feel good - and how I like to play a role of shifting perspective for others who struggle with that.

    I choose the feel good today, and making a chocolate bourbon pecan pie to enjoy with friends and I will feel no calorie guilt!

    We all have days where we face our mortality and that's good and healthy. It's also good and healthy to remember how damn hot and gorgeous we are. I have absolutely no doubt that Mr. Moon finds you the most beautiful woman in the world bar none - and while we should look inward for a sense of beauty, it helps to be confirmed by those who matter.

  24. I think that poem is grudgingly optimistic at the end. He gets over his alienation and accepts the idea of regrowth. Shaving/pruning. I don't know how to age without regret, personally. How not to feel a loss. I think it must just be the price we pay for not dying at 35 like we were made to :)

  25. Danielle- They laughed at me as they scampered down the fence and balanced on the edge of the roof. Damn squirrels!

    May- NO! You will be young forever! I promise! I will get old for all of us, okay? I love you.

    Kori- The legs will still do if I wear tights. For now.
    I love you, too.

    Jo- Same thing I always say. Women would not have to go through menopause if we just died in childbirth at the age of thirty-something.

  26. You have already received such wonderful comments, I am fresh out of anything new to say. I know one day I will feel exactly like this. Plus, stepping in chicken shit all day long might make you feel scrubby. Maybe you need a night on the town with Mr.Moon, a hotel room and some alcohol to remind you of how vital and pretty you are.:)

  27. Maggie May- You are probably right. I felt about fifteen years younger when I was in Cozumel. Did I really go to Cozumel?

  28. All I can think of is what Susan used to say... "There comes a time in every woman's life when she has to choose- between her face, and her ass".

    I never forgot that. It makes me laugh. Hope you do too!
    xo pf

  29. It's a thing all right. But it is what it is and the only tonic is being grateful to have the time to continue learning (and writing) and loving and seeing our loved ones grow.

    That's one good thing I got from breast cancer the year I was 45. I'm happy to be 57 and will be happier still at 67, aches and all.

  30. Et tu, my legs? I wanted to sob.
    [This is fucking genius. I wish I had written it.]

    As Uncle Gene, in his vast wisdom would say, "Getting old beats the alternative, kid."

    It sure isn't for pussies though.

    I love you BIG TIME, Mary Moon!

  31. Ms. Fleur- I have given up on both.

    Kathleen Scott- I know. You are right.

    Ms. Bastard- Heh! I liked that one too! You're the only one who commented on it. MY grandfather used to say, "Don't get old." He was a terse old dude. I love you too.


Tell me, sweeties. Tell me what you think.