MUM’S THE WORD: Defiance with grace
For the last 15 years of my life, I have always been concerned with how thin I looked in pictures. I know how vain and vapid it sounds. I am not proud of this. It is a statement of an undesirable fact. I have perfected the way to hold my head (chin slightly down), shoulders back and hands on hip. Never, ever, will you see a posed shot of me with my hand not on my hip. It creates a clean, slimming line.
Candid pictures are not my friend. I severally dislike them. Nobody needs to see my cellulite-ridden thighs smashed against a metal folding chair or the odd-angled double chin. Oh, and the lighting. Lighting can make you look either like Cindy Crawford or a meth addict so regularly seen on t.v. shows like “Cops.” So, it was with great interest that I looked at a picture that was taken of me recently. But, it wasn’t the hand on hip pose I noticed. It was my forehead. Who has taken my youthful forehead and replaced it with that of an old crone?
The bloom has started to fade off from this rose.
I decided to take a closer gander at my husband. He is also aging. But, instead of looking “worse for wear,” he is actually looking better than when we met all those years ago. Life is simply not fair.
Why is it that men are allowed to grow old gracefully, but women must make themselves into plastic creatures in order to be acceptable to society? Can we talk about some of the plasticized women that can no longer move their foreheads and faces due to excessive Botox, facelifts and fillers? I find them to be incredibly ridiculous and sad. I never want to be one of them.
Is it simply biological that women are only good for their fertility and men are the gathers and providers? So, an older looking man is more attractive because he can care for his children better? An older woman is no longer necessary and simply waiting to be a burden to her son once her husband dies? A man can reproduce forever — a woman has a very limited reproductive window.
I guess, for now, I will have to adjust what is really important to me. Sure, I have a few lines on my forehead, but I am much smarter then I was at 19. I have read more, had more life experiences and am a more interesting person to talk to at a cocktail party.
The 20-year-old Amanda may have been line-free, but she wasn’t happy with her looks either. She also didn’t have the maturity to understand that beauty is more than skin deep. I hope that the new non-wrinkle free me will be able to handle all the ramifications that come with growing older — being a role model to my child, being a better friend and treating others the way you would want to be treated.
There is still a part of me, however, that is defiant, ready to defend the grace of always-youthful Amanda at a moment’s — or camera’s — notice. I will still be posing for pictures with my hands on my hips, head slightly down and with thicker bangs. Maybe this isn’t natural, but it is in my nature.
Amanda Leitch-Lee has lived in the Greenville area most of her life. She enjoys Lake Michigan, Dorothy Parker poetry and tacky reality TV shows.