Thursday, January 11, 2007

on screen and off

I find the experience of watching network television programs strange as I contemplate it back through the years. As I age, I identify with the people, women in particular, who are my age acting out their lives on screen. When I was younger I identified with the younger people, and now that I'm middle age, there are the middle age actresses, impossibly beautiful and having the same questions, thoughts and struggles that I am, only I'm not an actress and life isn't a tv show. Sometimes it's even worse seeing women who are so completely everything we think we ought to be having the same problems. I see middle age women being bested by their younger daughters, cheated on, unappreciated, clinging to the fraying threads of their youth and beauty, struggling massively to find significance in a job, a marriage, a new relationship, something, anything that tells them they still matter, they are still desireable, the fight to try to stay young is still worth it, or not.

And I thought to myself, here I am. I do have significance in my life. My 16 year old is watching this program with me and tells me she is on purpose spending time with mom. I don't feel she is my competition. I believe she is the best of me in a brand-new package, so lovely and so alive. I ditched a Bible study where there are other women, accepting and faithful, ready to be there for me if I need them, or not, so I felt comfortable ditching it. They would understand. I took a nap because I'm old and I was tired after a day of working. I had some extra pizza, but not the whole box. That's good. My hair is still dark and I still look like the funny person I always have, just a little funnier. Really, I know what I like and what I want, I'm good with wearing the clothes and size I need for my size. It's ridiculous to pretend any more. I make good choices and I take care of myself.

I'm married but I still dream about men, and they still find me intelligent and attractive. I think I've stopped playing the what if game and find the mild flirtations exhausting anymore. I want men friends. I like them. They are exciting and they keep me young. Oddly enough it seems the less I try the more they come around. But I realized something because of one, one that seemed if I were single and were younger, this might be something truly already is because it led me to see my true muse is art. Every beauty, every attraction, all the things I want, everything inside of me is made to create. Life changes, people come and go, the wrinkles never stop, the dark turns to grey, and I long more and more to put it down on paper. I was given a gift, a wonderful and unique gift, and the more I cherish it, the greater I know it is. I used to dream of fame, of the tv life. I could live without that, but not without the hunger to record life in gesture and line-suddenly it's right to love beauty, but the kind that my charcoal creates. It is my world.


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