November 05, 2009

A brush of air

Regard the picture above. It’s the inside photo of Greytown, and it is largely untouched (photographically  speaking – I’m often moved to pat it affectionately, but that’s for another day).

There was a bit if a fuss over the decision to not airbrush it. When I nixed it and had the CDs in hand, more than one friend offered me a slightly uncomfortable silence before saying “er…I like it”. That, of course, means “Eewwwww”. One had the strength of character, or the tactlessness, to say “Why would you make yourself look that old?”  The simple answer to that is: because I look that old. My dear neighbour said nothing, which – from her – is a mouthful.

At 55,  I choose to not to iron out the lines and wrinkles.  Why would I try to remove the reality of what gravity has done to me. In that respect, I’m grateful that only my face graces the package. I’m now given to, what Alice Monroe once said “sags and pouches” and nothing will ever change this. Am I aging gracefully? Who knows. That’s a phrase that often applies to women who have the money for expensive clothes, $100.00 haircuts and the occasional tuck here and there. Power to them. Definitely, I’m pro-choice on this issue. We fought long, fought hard to have the freedom of choice, and if it applies to reproductive rights, it must apply to leg shaving and eyeliner. Sounds trite, but that’s the truth of it. And if artists want to airbrush their photos, it’s their call.

That is, IF it’s truly a woman’s choice and not advertising pressure and the judgment of entire western world (speaking generally, of course – that takes me off the hook).

Me? I tired of showing up at gigs and having presenters and some of my audience looking at the CD cover, raising their eyes to me, looking back at the cd cover, back at me, at the CD cover…I could almost hear what they were thinking: is this the same person?? When this began to happen frequently, I considered remedies. After some thought and research I decided against. I can’t argue with growing old. “Old” has become a shocking, damning, frightening word. If one happens to refer to one’s self as old, people jump to exclaim “Don’t say that! You’re not old!”.  Maybe not officially (although I am eligible for the seniors’ discount Tuesdays at Shoppers Drug Mart), but I’m aging and there can be no disguising that. Eyeliner can only go so far.

I hope I’m blessed with a long life.  How sad that so many aren’t, how tiring to hear complaints of growing old. If I’m lucky to live long and well, I hope to age  like my mother. She’s 79. Her face is lined. She is beautiful, and I’ve never heard her speak of her appearance except to wish she could get a GREAT haircut.

My other hope is that during the post show hellos in theatre lobbies (the shake ‘n howdy) I can look folks in the eye and blink without my hairline moving. And airbrushing? When you’re standing face to face with someone, airbrushing flutters away with the wind.


3 Responses to “A brush of air”
  1. Jane Greening

    Why are we so afraid of aging? Is it that it reminds other people of their mortality? It is as much a part of life as when we pooped our pants in our diapers. Don’t tell me that’s elegant. I applaud you for not ‘airbrushing’. The photo is perfect.

  2. Rob R


    I’ve been enjoying your blogs. The hospital rant brings me back to the discussion we had over lunch in Sherbrooke. Hope all is well and take care across the pond.


  3. Susan

    Hey Rob,

    Thanks for writing. I guess my hospital rants were sure to strike a note with you, given the similar views you shared with me. Hope all is well with you and your family, and hope to see you next summer.