“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
“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