“Are you tired? You look tired.”
I absolutely HATE when people say that to me. If I’ve ever told you that, I’m sorry.
“No, this is just my face,” I reply.
My face does not look like it did 10 years ago. It doesn’t even look like it did 5 years ago. Everything is fine as long as I’m smiling but as soon as my face relaxes, it falls into something resembling Walter Matthau. I’m exaggerating because his face is fuller than mine. I look more like a hairless cat.
I aspire to be Walter Matthau.
But I look more like this.
Something happened to me in my 40’s and despite the tired look of my face, it’s really not all bad. The best way I can describe it is that as I became more comfortable in my skin, my body found its groove. Maybe it’s because I appreciate my body more now than I did in my 30’s. I used to exercise because I wanted my body to be different. Now I exercise because I want to keep it healthy and alive for a very long time.
I use wrinkle cream and diligently cover my grays. I wear sunscreen and I don’t overindulge in much of anything anymore except books (and chocolate, especially if it’s combined with sea salt caramel). I love my thunder thighs and my juicy booty because these thighs take me everywhere I want to go and my husband is a butt man.
But all these years of smiles and laughter, anxiety and sorrow are starting to show like the tattered pages of a well loved book on my face. Some women would run out and get Botox (I reserve the option in the future) but instead of changing something I don’t like about myself, I decided to celebrate a part of myself that still looks damn good – my body.
I got tattooed.
This isn’t my first tattoo but the first one barely counts. I was 18 and a little rebellious and I got a tiny half moon and star on my shoulder that I never saw because I don’t have eyes in the back of my head.
Then, last year my husband (who has several tattoos) decided to get a tattoo of a bee and I was struck with the urge to get the same thing, this time in a place where I could see it. It’s a good idea if you’re going to get matching tattoos that you choose one that can mean something different to each of you. His bee means something different to him than my bee does to me.
I wrote a post awhile back:
“I’ve discovered that there are two types of bees that fly into the house. One type recognizes her mistake. She flies into the walls, into your hair, into anything that she thinks might be a way out of her prison. She buzzes intentionally and passionately. As hard as I try to get her to fly back out the door she came in through, she fights me every step of the way, almost as if she’s saying, ‘I went through that door already. I know better than to try it again.’ I’ve learned that if I open the kitchen window, she eventually flies out and never looks back.
The other type of bee flies into the house and tamely walks along the counters of her prison as if asking, ‘can I make my home here?’ She inevitably ends up by the kitchen window, barely able to fly and will often quietly die without a struggle. If I manage to shoo her out the window, she hesitates on the sill, paralyzed by some invisible force holding her back. That type of bee almost never recovers from being shoved out the window. She simply doesn’t recognize that she’s free.
…I am not a docile bee. Buzz.”
Someone once told me that tattoos are addicting. As soon as I got my little bee on my arm, I was fantasizing about what I wanted to do next. I spent the first half of my life confused and I complained a lot about what confused me. Now I feel awake and grateful and ok with being confused. And I’ve been feeling a little obstinate lately, like I don’t want to follow all the confining rules I made for myself. Like not committing to something on my body that will last forever. Well, forever isn’t as long as it used to be so if I have these tattoos for another 40 years, praise Jesus and thank you Lord. It’s not a midlife crisis as much as midlife defiance.
So, I went back for more.
Nope, it doesn’t hurt.
Oh yeah, that makes my face look much better. 🙂