Life Topics

The Mask

Slathering the grey cream all over my face, I give myself a facial that will turn green on contact.  A goolie look I must admit.  All to make my lines, sags and wrinkles disappear from this 59-year-old facade.  Can I be so naive?  Yes, because there was a promise in the bottle, a resound commitment of improvement.  I have to give it a try because of all the years of damage and neglect etched all over my face. I look into the mirror and can make out the cheek bones I used to have, the forehead lines and the mess under my eyes that are visible under the mask.  In 40 minutes, I will wash it off and be beautiful.  They said so.  I guess this is called a “beauty routine.”  It’s an exercise that continues to disappoint.  My face will always be my face.

I’m not dissatisfied with my looks.  With each line and wrinkle, I’ve thanked God for letting me grow old, accepting the consequences.  I’m more than a pretty face.  As my weight has increase, my face has gotten bigger too.  Everything is more pronounced.  The lines where my nose meets my forehead are covered with my glasses thankfully.  A scarf can stylishly drape over the neck lines and keeping a straight face and not scrunching may help to eliminate new lines.  And maybe win poker games too.  Moving into my senior years has me wanting to erase mistakes; personal, professional, and facial mistakes.  Time to atone with toner.

After I rinse the mask, I look in the mirror and remember what I used to look like.  I remember a pretty girl with perfect skin and bright eyes.  She was carefree and thought she’d be 20 years old forever.  Years of sun damage, stress and even some sadness has reinvented her.  I really do love myself for who I am today.  All my experience and wrinkles have an important reason, waiting up for the kids to come home, working overtime, or caring for a sick child.  My face tells a story of someone who has lived a sometimes hard as well as comfortable life.  My journey has been grand and exciting, interrupted by moments of chaos and confusion.  It’s written all over my face.  And you can’t put that in a bottle.


Life Topics

High School

I can remember feeling like a hostage, sitting in an airless, sweltering room as sweat and confusion seeped from my body.  I stared out the static window at the green lifeless trees.  The leaves hung motionless in the absence of a cool breeze with a filtered haze of unbearable humidity.  The buzzing in my head was brought on by severe boredom mixed with heat exposure and the backdrop of an annoying drone.  I was subconsciously hoping I wouldn’t be taken from my own world and called upon to prove my intellectual skill.  It would be hard for the teacher not to see my lack of commitment to learning and life.  I was beyond caring.

In fact, the teachers did notice that I wasn’t all there in body or spirit.  What they didn’t understand was my academic plan was based on a foundation of reluctant achiever, congenial partier, and a minimalist existence.  My budding social life was the primary focus.  Administration was onto my lack of motivation based on the overwhelming number of tardy days and the consistent below average grades.  College unfortunately was becoming a faint option during my senior year.  My parent’s expected little from me, and I expected even less.  It was the perfect marriage for someone with no direction.

Doing just enough to get by was all I could emotionally handle.  My friendships with Alicia, Jinny, Kim and Teresa were my ultimate touchstones.  They had my back, and that’s all I thought I needed in life.  They, for the most part, excelled in their studies and made future plans beyond school.  I was an outlier.  I couldn’t make plans beyond next week.  Being part of the crew was great, but all the time, all these years, I knew something was wrong.

Many years after high school, I was diagnosed with severe clinical depression, a condition I believe I had been suffering from since High School.  Were my early years marred by this debilitating disease?  I believe so.  I’ve spent years since then evaluating myself and have happily grown to be a highly successful person.  Does it matter now, or in the long run, if I know that A+B=C, or memorize the Periodic Table?  If I could go back and do it all over again, knowing what I know now, I may not have fixated on those trees outside the window.

I would have been present in my future.