‘In another time and plaee, the lines on a woman’s face would be revered as her life map’. So said Helen Garner. That place and time sounds rather friendly, uncomplicated, noble. In that cultural heaven , I’m a wise old crone, with a wise old story. In the cultural wasteland that’s Australia, I’m 58 going on 70, past my use-by date, and invisible.
But me, I’m not bothered, secure in the knowledge that my ageing body’s a temple, or so says Crystal down the road. Every week I can look forward to a brand new discovery, a brand new me. Some new protrudance, a couple of extra liver spots, a plump new mid-range tyre or two, a novel patch of previously unnoticed weathered epidermis, a sag here and a sag there. Delightful, never-ending. Age throws you a surprise a minute. The sub-text of this phenomenon - Practising for Death! Normal, perfectly normal. Not your experience? You wait!
Some of my changing fortunes then? Those things beginning to bulge on either side of my lower face for example. What are they – well, jowls of course. When and why did they decide to take refuge on my jaw when they could have applied for bed and breakfast in my cheeks, give my face a bit of pup? As a matter of fact they resolved to land there because inner guidance informed them of my fascination for the triangular, three’s a very potent spiritual number, the holy trinity ‘n all, and therefore, as a fan of threesomes, my jowls are just being considerate. Any day now I’m going to be blessed with three chins, that’s a pair of jowls and a chin. Terrific, I’ll be able to wear my holiness on my face!
Then there’s my eyelids, well, the left one really. I’ve noticed it’s become a bit lazy and droopy lately. I’m quite appreciative of this though because your poor eyes have to look at things all day, be hyper-alert to what’s going on, stare at the computer, be mindful of risks. It’s protecting my eye, and I didn’t even have to ask! My right eye, on the other hand is on constant holiday, up and cheerful. Damned party animal. This type of duality is part of the natural law of the universe, so obviously I’m stoked things are on track in my body. Pretty soon no doubt I’ll only have to invest in one lens. That’ll save me heaps!
And those small benign rough lumps that are popping out all over the place, you may know them as warts, they’re especially useful too. Since they belong to that furiously resilient family, the same one as the cockroach, they’re never going to die and that means part of me will live forever . Woohoo! From a creative perspective these lumps are priceless because I’ve come up with a plan, well, it was Crystal's idea actually. She reckons they’ll work perfectly as a central feature in some body tattooing we were discussing, and that the ones on my leg will look ace worked into a mandala. I’ll just have to add color. It’s a goer!
That fine-lined crepe paper effect on my chicken flaps, that’s the floppy bit forming the inside of your upper arm, well it’s sort of fetching too, and sure, I understand that for the benefit of husband-scanning I may have to reassess the advantages of sleeveless frocks but hey, I can volunteer as a super-model for Hallmark, the fine manufacturers of quality cards and wrapping paper!
I ask you, why would you resort to the knife when, at the altar of your very own personal place of worship, such constant and fulfilling astonishment is at play?
Then chin up girls!