Hello May, Birthday month, musing on aging gracefully

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“She is free in her wildness, she is a wanderess, a drop of free water. She knows nothing of borders and cares nothing for rules or customs. ‘Time’ for her isn’t something to fight against. Her life flows clean, with passion, like fresh water.” – Roman Payne

I love growing older. As I age, each year I notice subtle changes in my body and appearance. I’ve grown to love myself even at my darkest. I complain about my weight, wrinkles, and body like any other woman. Unlike most women I feel more complete each year. My crows feet draw attention to my eyes and adds character. The weathered experienced look, as if I’ve lived too much; In reality, I lived too much, laughed too much, lost too much, and cried too much. I wish they were caused solely by laughter. People tell me I’m beautiful now and it very flattering. But, let me tell you about about my beauty.

I grew up being the ugly duckling. It’s hard growing up with boys, I had two brothers and my neighbor, all boys that I also considered my brothers. As you might imagine at critical times in the developmental years they weren’t as free with compliments. It’s possibly another reason I love Roman Payne’s, The Wanderess, “She is free in her wildness, she is a wanderess, a drop of free water. She knows nothing of borders and cares nothing for rules or customs.” That was me, but I was always alone. My brothers did the usual, you’re ugly, you’re fat, or my favorite was “Bertha butt” since I have always had a nice round butt and thighs. Looking back at pictures, I had a beautiful body. I’ve always had the pinup body, but as a kid in my head I  was ugly and fat. I don’t hold it against them now, but in my youth it hurt me deeply and it changed the way I dressed and covered body.
I would quickly get very dark skin from my mother’s American Indian heritage and straight black hair. It would reflect blue like a raven in the light. I found myself lightening, getting perms to curl, and doing various things to make it look like the other kids. I never told anyone, I just begged for a perm, curls, or some sort of chemical treatment to change it so I wouldn’t be teased. I wanted to look trendy, like other girls. Those things lightened my hair to a dark brown all because the straight black was just unnatural and I was teased. I was teased about my skin, my hair, my curves. I worked hard to change my appearance.  I wanted to be pretty, but made myself uglier in the process of fitting in with the girls.
So I always stayed active, involved, but withdrawn. So it  may be surprising to some to learn how incredibly ugly I felt thought my childhood years, even in my various uniforms which made me like the others. I never appreciated myself.

It wasn’t until I turned 20, I lived in Japan for several years. It was the different culture, that changed my view on aging. Aging is beautiful, I regret not being myself as a kid, it was learning I was beautiful not only on the outside, but the inside in a foreign country. It was at the end of my time in Japan bipolar slammed into me like a freight train. It possibly aged me ten more year in a single moment. But I did not fight it, I embraced it. I because free, happier, I was pretty and back in the United States. I had found myself, but I also found my superpower and did not know one thing about controlling my mind.
Aging for me, has been like being reborn each year. I feel unrecompensed with each passing year. Closer to something, closer to completely understanding myself and I welcome my birthday’s. With age, I’ve learned I’m attractive, intelligent, funny, intellectual, sexual, compassionate, complex, and introspective. Because of the experiences of my past, I honestly appreciate each and every compliment and even the negative compliments. It’s made me able to be modest and a more compassionate person. Modesty is rare in today’s society. It’s also recently made me brutally honest. That is what this birthday is going to celebrate. Being honest, telling my stories, and sharing my experiences.

It may appear, it’s been a beautiful ride, but my history and mileage learning to control the speed of my superpower, called Bipolar, with a bit of all the other crap included many training wreaks. Mental illness isn’t something you shouldn’t be ashamed of and I hope if you’re reading this, no matter your age don’t be ashamed for a second.

“’Time’ for her isn’t something to fight against. Her life flows clean, with passion, like fresh water.” – Roman Payne

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“Mental labels don’t define who I am, time and aging only gets me closer to those I love, will love, and have loved” ~ S.L. Cato

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About Musings of a mad woman

“Mental labels don’t define who I am, time and aging only gets me closer to those I love, will love, and have loved” ~ S.L. Cato I’ve battle Bipolar disorder for at least 15+ years, toss in a couple more labels I’ve collected such as generalized anxiety disorder PTSD. This battle is pretty amazing and out of this world and at times a dark rollercoaster ride. The medication, the manic episodes, and mania can be pretty humorous. The hypersexuality, drugs, anxiety, depression, ghosts, and parenting. I’ve certainly felt the sting of the “crazy” stigma, but I’m here today. Bipolar is my superpower. I hope by sharing my musings it helps others understand the labels situation whispered behind closed doors. Please feel free to share my stories, rantings and musings. Read more about me in my post "Who is the Mad Woman"

25 responses »

  1. i don’t know how old you are, i’m sure i missed it somewhere but if that pic above your qoute is you, you are simply stunning. really. there is so much personality and confidence radiating from your eyes and smile. i wish i could have you in my studio for a photo shoot.
    anyway, i too relate to the desire to change. my native american doesn’t show as much as my irish. i developed a sun allergy when puberty hit and so i have never been very dark skinned and even more since that age. i started begging for perms for my too straight boring brown hair when i was 8 years old. that continued well into my teenage years. i dyed my hair black and never really looked back (aside from impulsive hair changes during thespringtimeofmycrazy) i became the goth girl through a series of random events before anyone in my small town including myself even knew this goth thing existed. i thought i was just weird and morbid because i was living in a funeral home.
    when i had my daughter at 18 i tried to be a normal. i was worried what people would think of a gothy mom raising a child. then in my early 20’s i left the useless father and for the first time started to embrace the truth of me. i have been much happier in my appearance since then, minus the body dysmorphia issues.
    wow, look how self-absorbed i am.
    i’m going to try harder to embrace the aging process. i have no intention of growing up. i am handicapped with a natural immaturity and that is fine by me. growing old is inevitable, growing up is optional.
    thank you for sharing your honesty and wisdom and beauty.

    “you get what anyone gets, you get a lifetime”

    (sounds like you are making the very most of yours)

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am turning a very young 38 my dear on May 11th 🙂 I went through a year that I too changed my hair so much, people actually asked, “Are you crazy?” If I died today, I am very much content with ever detail of my life. The ups, the downs, my children, and very patient forgiving husband. Thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

      • we have so much in common, must explain i get so annoyed when i can’t start/finish reading your posts.
        happy early birthday lovely lady!
        (i will most definitely forget if i don’t say it now)

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Firstly, Happy B-Day!! Interesting perspective on aging! I like your positive outlook… A 60 year old is aging 10,000 times faster than a twelve year old; exercise, proper diet and suppliments help slow the process; as does a healthy attitude such as yours. Thank you for this! I find it encouraging reading 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I had my 50th birthday last year and embraced the milestone. I’m excited to be eligible for AARP. I’m looking forward to another 50 years with my lovely wife and growing old together. Life is a journey that never ends. My soul will live on as I journey through the unknown.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: S.L. Cato – The Vale of Soul-Making

  5. I love that you call bipolar your superpower. Because of different superpowers I’ve seen people have completely views on the world and it causes us to be more introspective and sometimes more compassionate or dilligent. Beautiful post thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Great post. I remember the times growing up of not fitting in, not being one of the cool kids, and so on. Not fun. Love the photo at the end of the post. On about the Native American genetics – I went to a family wedding a couple of years ago where one of the guests was a girl much like you – she stood off to the side of the room, and seemed to keep everybody at arms length. Here’s the thing – because she was obviously different to most of the people in the room – the high cheek bones, the straight inky black hair – she was striking, and caused everybody to want to talk to her – which she was obviously not used to at all.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I can completely relate to that girl. It’s probably a good thing for our types. It teaches us to appreciate beauty and recognize imperfections. Our perception of imperfections because of our experiences are so different from those who never felt the sting of being teased or ostracized from groups. That little girl is probably a beautiful woman now and never knew she was admired. If you knew the family you should share your observation privately, reference a post you had read and it reminded you of her. I can tell you from experience, it may change everything she thought of herself.

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  7. Love this post – especially the Roman Payne quote. I, too, feel freer, more confident, more ‘me’ as I grow older. I hate the pressures of the media and beauty industry on women about their appearance – went to an interesting event for women in their 50s where we discussed what we felt about the beauty industry, but still felt highjacked by it! Love your blog…

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Happy upcoming Birthday! I can relate to your insecurities. I’m quite ashamed to say this now, but I used bleaching cream to be lighter and wanted a smaller nose. Glad that stuff didn’t work. I love the size of my nose. It fits my face. And I love my dark brown skin. I only wish I could make it even darker simply because I love the rich darkness of it. Time is really wasted on the young. By the time we understand things we edge closer to edging out. We should get at least 160 years just to do life right, with the appropriate aging.

    Liked by 1 person

    • So true, I now embrace my black hair , but honestly sunblock keeps me lighter now. I’m more Cherokee then I am Scots/Irish, but the Irish becoming more prominent as I get older. I use to be so embarrassed being so dark skinned, now I’m palm thanks to sunscreen. In my youth, my skin was beautiful but I was teased and it made me ashamed. Not a regret, but a lesson. I see beauty, where most don’t. Darker always want to be lighter and lighter darker. Now I look like the typical pale freckled blue-eyed Irish girl, except the black hair, and come summer……all I got is sunblock for health

      Liked by 1 person

      • Interesting. The grass is always greener, until you walk over there. 🙂 On another side note: I just had a deja vu moment reading your response. I guess it’s true that we’ve already made our future decisions. We are simply trying to understand why we’ve made those decisions. Anyway, back to the topic. Thank you for sharing your experiences.

        Liked by 1 person

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