I really, really dislike the language in the so-called “how hard did aging hit you challenge,” currently making the rounds on FB. It asks us to post (y)our first ever profile picture and the most recent one. It’s actually an interesting little game, except for the abysmal language and all of the assumptions and implications inherent in it.
Unless, like some folks I have loved, we die (too) young, ageing is one of the most natural and normal, not to mention unavoidable processes, known to human kind, and using this kind of language to describe it, is just another sad, sad example of how we create false ideals, ridiculous, unrealistic expectations and concepts of youth and beauty, by virtue of the very words we use to talk about them, or the ‘loss’ of them, as if they are to be grieved, as opposed to accrued experience and wisdom celebrated.
Ageing does not hit people, and saying so implies (rather explicitly), that it is a violent act or event, which in turn implies (rather explicitly), that it ought to be avoided at all costs. And while violence is certainly at least partly responsible for some of the visible signs of ageing on my person, the markings on my face and body, the lines, the furrows, the lumps and bumps, are the stories of my life, and I am loathe to describe them as having been “hit” by ageing.
My other beef with this particular FB ‘game,’ is that it generates comments such as: ‘you haven’t changed a bit,’ you still look the same’ and similar bla blabbidy bla, and I call BULLSHIT!
I, and everyone I know and have seen engage with this, do not look the same as I/they did even a few years ago, and if we haven’t changed, inside or out, we’re doing it wrong, life that is, or getting botox-ed to death.
It’s thoughtless, mindless bullshit like this that makes me want to leave the e-world altogether, but since it is one of the only ways I ever engage with some folks I would truly miss, I chose to qualify my own participation with this lil’ bitty rant.
The picture with the spiky red hair was taken in approximately 2009, the other one two weeks-ish, ago. I have had a million and one good, bad, ugly and indifferent experiences since then. I have had at least 12 hair styles and as many hair colours, I have gained and lost and gained and lost at least 50 lbs altogether in that time, and I have enjoyed and suffered many happy and brutally painful times in the 10 years between these two photos, and it shows; as it should.
PLEASE: STOP treating getting older as if it were a disease. PLEASE: let’s try to understand that getting older, really does bring more than just ‘a loss of youth,’ and ‘diminishing’ beauty, it is the only way in which to truly know, appreciate, accept, and love yourself, and by direct extension, to know, appreciate, accept, and love, anyone else.
The devil-chick is my actual original FB profile photo. That, has also changed, in that I am just MORE her as I age, and there is little to nothing graceful about it. As it should be, for me.
January 12, 2019
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