Forever 21

Scene:

Jessie enters quaint French restaurant for champagne and soup.

Trendy 20-Something brunching approaches Jessie.

“Can I tell you how fabulous you look? When my friend and I saw you crossing the street we both said once we’re older, we’re going to slay, just like you.”

Since I was a kid, I have always had an obsession with mature women. Not just any older woman, VERY specific images of mature women. Think Phylicia Rashad, Diane Keaton, Dihanne Carroll, or Jessica Lange. There was something about these women, so poised, defined and of course classic in style.

Outside of admiring mature women, I was never really given a chance, or shown how to appreciate aging. We are bombarded with youth serums, anti-sagging potions and wrinkle elixirs every moment of the day. Yet, we are told and expected to “act and dress our age.”

Je suis desole, which age is that? The age I am, or the age society beckons me to keep?

Youth is glorified and valued, while physical maturity is made to feel less than and shameful.

The post alone echos that sentiment. This post is a living testament of the total ridiculousness of our youth obsessed culture.

I am trente-trois and I am BOMBARDED with discounts codes for plastic surgeons that are willing to “take me on” to restore my “youthful glow.” 

I am not anti-filler (or any other cosmetic procedure) IF you are doing so for yourself. I have never been one to dress, speak or behave for anyone other than myself.

And by no means am I immune to or exempted from the daily pressures of preserving a bygone age. Changes in one’s physical (ability or appearance) isn’t necessarily easy to digest although we know it is inevitable.

When I find myself counting fine lines and succumbing to cultural insecurities, I take a moment (a very long moment) and breathe.

That breath isn’t solely pour moi.

That breath is for my bestfriend.   

We met as I sat at a lunch table alone. She was the only person who tried to engage me when I moved to a small town from D.C. After a week of her joining me for lunch she asked me where did I live. When I told her, she then asked me why wasn’t I riding the bus. I shared with her the things that the other kids said about me when they saw where I lived. From that day forward she walked me home after school.

She became my bestfriend and we were glued to one another.

My bestfriend will never experience the evils of cellulite, or the perils of haphazard renegade strands of hair sprouting from random locations. 

Just before her 23rd birthday, my bestfriend was brutally murdered

I remember my chest tightening and falling to the floor the day her grandmother called to tell me she’d been murdered. I remember her grandmother telling me she could only be identified by dental records and because of the condition of her body, the casket would be closed. I remember losing so much blood and feeling unable to move. I remember my ex-husband leaving work to meet me at the hospital.

With a part of my heart taken away that day, God filled it with life. On that very day I heard #jujuthecamerakid’s heart beating, inside of my belly.

When I find myself sulking about gravity taking its course on my body, I think about my bestfriend. She never got to see her child’s first day of school.

If the thought of being blessed enough to see “old age” isn’t a reality check, no fountain of youth serum can save you.

We (especially women) have got to STOP.  

We must stop saying things such as “she’s old and bitter” (I’d be remissed if I didn’t clarify, there are bitter women roaming these streets. I’m merely asking for us all to stop associating it with age) or even “you look good…for your age.”

I am not without fault, I hang my head in shame while composing this post because I have uttered those patriarchal youth enthused brainwashed statements, admittedly more times than once.

Women endure so much, mentally, physically, emotionally, professionally and personally. We are constantly told by the (male dominated) media what facial features, complexions, hair textures or sizes equates to beauty. The least we can do is nurture and uplift one another.

While rewatching episodes of my beloved “American Horror Story” this scene spoke to the woman I am (becoming) and the women my child self long admired. In this scene, the world was ending and only a few people would be saved. The younger women and men of the group eagerly noted how useless the the most mature woman (Joan Collins) was and why she shouldn’t get to live. Take notes:

When we fixate on remaining Forever 21 we are doing yourselves an immense disservice. We are neglecting the most valuable women in our lives, those with experience and wisdom who so happen to have a little sag in their swag.

Give thanks everyday that you are able to Grace the world with your presence, smile lines and all.

Scene:

Server arrives with Jessie’s flute of champagne while she chats with 20-something bruncher.

Jessie: Ma petite cherie, I’d lived so many lives in so many countries by the time I was your age. If you follow my blog and start taking notes now, you’ll have the potential to be just as fabulous or MORE quand tu ma age.

Jessie sips champagne

End scene.

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