Tuesday, March 12, 2024

she let herself go


I do not wear clothes with words on them. It's ok if you do. I just can not.

I floss and vacuum daily. 

I’ve never found anything I like more than my bed after 9:30 at night. Three dogs, two heating pads- what more can one ask for? (Also- I hate ending sentences in prepositions.)


I’m a story teller. I can’t get enough story in life. I read them like crazy. I daydream. I love memoirs. I love non famous people’s unwritten memoirs. The real ones- the folks who you get 5 minutes of their time while waiting for a train, while checking out at the store, while standing on a sidewalk waiting for a friend. They leave their footprints. 

I love to write, and I hope people out there care about the stories I share. (I care about yours). Thank you for being here.

Soon after we moved to Saint Louis, my sweet niece looked at my hands and said- "Why do your hands look like grandmas?!" with an ewww look on her face.  I looked down at my veiny, raised tendon hands in shock- as if I were just seeing them for the first time. "I don’t know- maybe because I’m old?" I answered, hiding my hands under the table where we were sitting. For weeks I became wildly self conscious of my hands. Grateful for long sleeved shirts I could tuck my hands into. 

Never had I considered my hands as anything other than something to open and carry and wave with. But now they were a billboard announcing - I’m here and I’m old!

 Why is old so scary? I ask myself. Because if I'm being honest- it is to me. I think because we’ve been shown all our life that old is ugly and old is irrelevant. We are bombarded with these messages daily- so much so that we start to believe them. My mean inner voice sounds just like my own, so sometimes I trust it.

Tik tok kept showing multiple videos of a 50 year old woman I didn’t want to see discussing her healing from a recent facelift. She looked ugly and awful and the scars were scary and wretched, and I judged her and then I yelled at myself for judging her.

I tried to get to the bottom of my anger and disgust. I don’t want a face lift- I’m not jealous. Sometimes it's jealousy that makes me judge someone initially. I think it was because if she was showing her befores like they were appalling, then it felt like she was saying I was appalling- because in her before, we had our aging face in common. But she doesn't know me, and her actions have no impact on me- so why was I making them have impact?

In one video, she showed off her hands proudly. “I even got a facelift in my hands” she declared proudly. Her doctor injected fat into her hands. They looked so... weird. Like chubby toddler, old lady hands and I asked myself-  What in the frick is wrong with society that we would rather have weird fat hands then old lady hands? (my inner me also talks like a sailor.)

If you do nothing- it's "She really let herself go." If you gain weight- 'Boy, she really let herself go." If you let your hair go gray, "She really let herself go." She can cure cancer and raise a family and follow her passions and serve her community and cry at the beauty of a sunset, and make a meal for her friend that is sick, but the focus is still “She let herself go.”

If you do something to counteract the effects of aging- You are vain, you are superficial, you look gross and can’t you just age gracefully?! 

Why are we so opinionated on other people's faces? Telling someone they should dye their hair is just as wrong as telling someone they shouldn't get botox.

The 1st time I saw Madonna debut her new face at the Grammy Awards, I scolded her. You look puffy and weird! Just embrace your age! Money can buy almost anything but it can’t buy youth. But judgement can't buy happiness either, so I try and dig into those feelings.

I am attempting to make friends with my new me in the mirror. I’ve done fillers and botox in moderation. I still have crinkles around my eyes and crepey skin underneath. Jowls are starting to form- like my skin is subtly melting down. My neck is giving saggy scrotum.  I'm trying not to compare her to the face of my 30's that I criticized constantly anyway.

Where is the line between Let herself go and Doing whatever the hell you want and Can’t you just age gracefully?

I thought of Madonna. Unlimited funds and a world obsessed with her likeness for decades. So much pressure to stay relevant simply so she can have an audience for her craft. When she writes songs and I imagine she feels alive like I do when I write. I looked at her in a new way. 

Who gives a shit how I look at her- Does she feel pretty when she looks in the mirror? I hope yes. Who am I to begrudge another woman feeling that peace. That feeling when you look in the mirror and you see HER. WE LOVE HER!!!! The 8 year old you with skinned knees and pigtails. Your body simply a vehicle to help you run so fast and jump so high. Face rosey after a bike ride home. And 11 year old her. (She's perfect). With your new big people teeth and awkward limbs somewhere between a toddler and a teen. And angsty 15 year old you. You feel like a woman and a little girl in the same breath. Twenty year old you. 40 year old you. 

My god, you are still you! I tell her, beautiful by no standards other than warm sunshine and twinkle lights and the way you light up when you do what you love.

I felt this depth of empathy for Madonna- who face is ridiculed and worshipped and criticized and praised daily by thousands of people all over the world. 

Scenes from Des Peres Park today...

So now I type, and I bring my focus back to me and even to my hands. My hands that held my babies and rocked them to sleep. The hands that filled out checklists in psychologist offices to confirm autism. Hands that clean and make dinner and drive and write and type and wave around wildly while I talk. My hands that are aging like the rest of me. And at least for today, I call they are beautiful- because they are.

Finally, she decided to let herself go. Let herself go from expectations. Let herself go from the past. Let herself go from traditional beauty standards. She let herself go and she was free.


  1. “Finally, she decided to let herself go. Let herself go from expectations. Let herself go from the past. Let herself go from traditional beauty standards. She let herself go and she was free”. Love it!

  2. Thanks for being a mentor and guide through your insightful articles.