Monday, April 20, 2009

All These Lines on My Face Getting Clearer

Here's a photo of me in my twenties. So much attitude. So much bullshit.

What funny business this aging thing is. For the most part, I'd take being in my forties over my twenties any day. Sure, those lines are no longer so fine, and I can't bend at the knees without a loud, cracking protest from the place where my cartilage used to be, but it's an easy trade-off to finally be able to relax and like myself.

There was so much angst and unhappiness in my twenties. I would be paralyzed by what I used to call restlessness, but now know was something more akin to self-loathing. I felt threatened by almost everyone. I dressed in such a way and wore more than enough black eyeliner to let people know they wanted to avoid me. I hated you first and best - whomever you were. Gawd, how tedious I was.

Here is a photo the Dexter took of me dancing last month. So little shame. So much dorkiness.

I still see glimpses of my former self. Like this evening when Coadster asked me to go to her AP Government study session, so she could get extra credit. My immediate gut reaction was to go find my black leather motorcycle jacket and sit in the back of the class, surrounded by my invisible wall. To be honest, I did sit in the back of the class, and it took me a minute or two to warm up to finding someone who shared a similar political term. We had to match up terms, and the students then would write a sentence with them. The kid who's term went with mine, was a bigger dork than I was and his dad was totally pleasant. He now worked at ACT but had previously worked in the same office where I'm currently employed. He had seen me running down Rochester Street before. His wife arrived and she was also very nice. I suddenly remembered I wasn't an angst ridden freak anymore. I looked and acted (you know, for the most part) like a middle-aged mom. When did that happen?

When I was younger, I never thought I was enough of anything, and I dated guys who helped instill that in me. Now, my friend Ed jokes that I'll never meet a guy who likes me as much as I like myself, and it just might be true. Thank god I'm old.


Ananda girl said...

I can see changes in myself from age... that creaking, oh yeah. But in my head, I still have the same personality that made me... well, me. I'm speaking of basic values, likes, etc. What I have lost is my impulsive nature and I've gained the ability to actually listen to the voice in my head that tells me when something I want to do is not wise. Somehow that helped me to like myself much better.

Remiman said...

I like the words, experienced, and mature better than old.

Mr Atrocity said...

I may only be in my mid-thirties but I agree that the older I get the more comfortable being me I am and by extension the happier I am and easier to be around.

And my knees make horrible noises too. Perhaps wisdom actually resides in the knees? The more "communicative" your knees are, the wiser you are.

Tara said...

I like that photo of you dancing, it looks fun.

I still feel compelled to sit in the back of the class if I go to a seminar or something for work. And when they tell us to pair up, I groan from the inside out but am now able to chat it up with a stranger easier than when I was in high school.

mighty jo said...

i look forward to turning 40. im a late bloomer. i didn't even learn to talk until i was well into my 20's. now, all of a sudden, im becoming comfortable with who i am. i was even able to debate with another woman online yesterday! ha! for my next trick i will debate someone in the same room as myself!
aging is fun.... though i do hold onto my nose piercing & punk haircut & leather jacket. finian will learn to be embarrassed of me probably sooner rather than later.

NoRegrets said...

It's more, thank god you've learned and grown as you got older, since some people do stay the same.

Nate said...

just one thing to say

Hooray unashamed dorkiness!

laura b. said...

I was just entertaining very similar thought Churlita, but couldn't have written them nearly as well. Thanks.

MrManuel said...

I like that you are such a reflective person. The insights you have on your past is amazing.

Johnny Yen said...

Here's to being older and wiser!

I had similar experiences. I spent my twenties and part of my thirties trying to find the relationship that made me feel good about myself. It wasn't until it dawned on me that you have to feel good about yourself before the relationship that I stopped moving from relationship to relationship.

Chance said...

Very well put. Classic post. I'm glad you said it; I feel that way too but need to be reminded of it.

I'm no longer the crazed twenty-something with menace in his eyes who would say anything to anyone. Now I'm a middle-aged teacher who no longer has a "crazy stare" and is thought of as a slight, pleasant fellow. And for the most part, I'm glad. Better to be content and calm than scary and self-loathing.

Churlita said...


Definitely. I'm still the same person in most respects, just not as messed-up.


I'm not necessarily mature, but I am experienced. So, maybe I'll use that word.

Mr Atrocity,

Then my knees are geniuses.


It usually takes me a minute or so too, and then I can socialize with the best of them.

Mighty Jo,

I was lucky. I was a funky mom at the funkiest grade school in Iowa City. half the kids were international students, and the other half had parents who were tattoo artists and had dreads and most of the people I worked with at the Mill in the eighties had kids who went there. It was impossible to be the weirdest parent there. it was great.


You're right. I've also been working my ass off since my twenties to try and get my head and my emotions straight. I wouldn't be so happy to age if I hadn't.


My sentiments exactly.


Thanks, but I bet you would have expressed it all better than me...And you would have proofread it too.

Mr Manuel,

Thanks. I think any of that I have, comes from aging too.

Johnny Yen,

Me too. I was in horrible relationships until I finally turned 36 and realized I needed to work on my own stuff first.

Churlita said...


Amen to that. I kind of dreaded becoming this person when I was in my twenties, but am so glad I'm here now

Mnmom said...

"I never thought I was enough of anything, and I dated guys who helped instill that in me." - that was me too. Until I gave up on guys, then met my husband.

When younger, I always thought your title line was "All these lies, and my face getting clearer". Teenage brain.

another good thing said...

I always took the getting wiser part with a grain of salt.... and a shot of tequila.