06 October 2008

I know, I know

The great cartoonist B. Kliban (famous for his Cats) had a piece titled "The Shock of Recognition." It was just a scruffy guy looking at himself in the mirror first thing in the morning.

I love that. You wake up feeling ok, and then you see your reflection. The Shock of Recognition.

These past few weeks have caused me to be jolted into recognition in some awful and scary ways.

I hate to say it, but I see myself in Sarah Palin's cute-lil'-bunny act. The woman who is over the hill and no one dares say it to her, so she keeps popping off with these little inappropriate cutenesses.

Oh gah. Now every time I wink or shimmy, I see myself in her at the VP debate and it makes me kind of nauseous. Here we are, in middle age with our broad middle-aged butts, still thinking we can get away with acting like giggly teens.

"Can I call ya Joe?" she chirped as I cringed. There are times and places you can "Work it, girl" but a vice-presidential debate is probably not one of those.

We forget, as we age, that we are aging. In our heads, we think we are still young. My sister Laura told me about a time in her late thirties when someone asked her how old she was. She said "Eighteen" without hesitating, because, in her mind, she WAS 18. It wasn't until they snorted that she was brought up short.

Like the protagonist in Milan Kundera's novel Immortality, I fear that Ms. Palin and I are trapped in a picture of ourselves that no longer exists.

Please forgive me if I ever appear pathetic as I navigate these perilous waters of midlife womanhood. And if you see Sarah Palin, tell her I understand.

12 comments:

the queen said...

Not only younger, but younger and thinner. And based on my great aunt and grandmother, in my family it only gets worse.

Jessica said...

OMG, I am right there with you.
I feel like I am trying to hang on to my youth with both hands - I refuse to dress age appropriately (though I DO NOT dress like a slutty teen - I'm more an "outdoorsy" dresser), I pull out any gray hair that pops up, and I am relentlessly "cool." But, yeah, I don't want to be one of those women who are workin' it too hard or in the wrong places.

But what do you do when you still feel like a college kid? and how do I not get freaked when my husband gets carded and I DON'T!?

Deb on the Rocks said...

No one knows how to do this now, with a million messages piped at us about 50 is the new 40 and 40 is the new 30 and every boy wants a MILF but don't be a pathetic Cougar.

My grandmother said there was comfort in giving up at 40 and wearing a housedress and an apron everyday. But I don't want that, for sure.

I'm full fledged in a midlife crisis, but I've got my seatbelt on so I'm seeing where the ride takes me.

mar said...

even pushing 30 in a college town makes you question your age restrictions, if not your sanity.
it's difficult to know when you don't 'feel' that old.
(then again, with my arthritis flaring like it has this week, i feel about 90.)

Working Girl said...

Wow. You put your finger right on something that I couldn't identify but it was making me uncomfortable.

Gwen said...

My but you are being quite generous to Mrs. Palin, methinks.

Me? I'm hoping to end up a full-on cougar. Raowrr!

thailandchani said...

That sounds really accurate about Sarah Palin. She's still a high school mean girl though.. and I'm sure you're nothing like that. :)

At my age, I've totally given up on still acting "young". There are others around me who do that and, oh man, is it ever distasteful!

Giggly senior citizens are truly, truly unbearable! LOL


~*

Count Mockula said...

I get the bigger picture, but having had the good fortune to meet you twice, I disagree with your assessment of yourself. In contrast, I saw you as mature (not old), composed, suffused with grace.

gael said...

Mrs. Palin only wishes that she had as cool a wink as yours. Don't you stop, Girl!

Suzanne said...

Oh, I don't know that I agree with you. I think it is fine for middle aged women to flirt and giggle. I just think that there is a time and place for it. The VP debate is not one of them.

J at www.jellyjules.com said...

Ouch. Me too. And like the queen, younger and thinner. Such a shock to look in that stupid mirror.

bacioni said...

I will turn 47 on the 19th of this month. I have to remind myself now what chronological age I am.

I was Shocked when my uncle said, "well you're nearly 50". I have never thought of myself as being something other than what I see me as.

And, as I glide toward my 47th year, I can only hope that the giggles turn into grace.

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