I wish someone would write one of those “What to Expect when you’re expecting” for turning 50.

I really wish that someone would write a book on what to expect when you are turning 50 because I think I’m doing it wrong. I don’t feel like I’m fifty. I still feel like I’m in my early forties. Anyone else feel that way? I look at all the latest fashions and think I could definitely rock that. Then my 19-year-old daughter gives me the look. You mothers out there, you know the look. It says everything without uttering a word. It says, oh Mom, how can you be so clueless? You look absolutely stupid in that. I acknowledge the look. I realize I have had an error in judgement and hang my head in shame. Turning back to the dressing room I catch a glimpse of my reflection in the mirror and I am shocked to see a middle-aged, slightly overweight woman, with a bit of a double chin looking back at me.

Now, I know some people are perfectly fine with being the age that they are. Not me, I going kicking and screaming because I can’t reconcile who I am on the inside with who I am on the outside. I think, well, if I can lose 20 pounds I’ll feel and look better. Yes, and that would be amazing considering my job is to stare at my computer until words appear on the screen. It doesn’t burn many calories.

Let’s talk about the other elephant in the room, I believe I’m also going through menopause. This is the point in a woman’s life when her emotional state goes from depression to rage, to tears, to screaming at the car in front of you because they are going the speed limit. I’m really glad I don’t own a gun.

Another fun fact of menopause is the weight you gain because your body is not getting estrogen from your ovaries and decides to layer on pounds around your mid-section so the extra fat can provide the estrogen your body needs. Look at most women in their fifties. We all tend to have the same body type. It’s just not fair.

Oh, and while were at it, just exactly what is happening to my hands? Why are my hands turning into these wrinkly old lady hands. People tell me I don’t look my age. What does my age look like? Well I guess we could look at celebrities who are over 50. Sandra Bullock will be turning 50 this year. She certainly doesn’t look like what my mothers decade looked like at 50. Demi Moore, Kate Couric, Christie Brinkley, Dorothy Hamill there actually is quiet a list of celebrities over 50 that look fabulous. Now granted these women have the money to have plastic surgery, so there’s that. But is it is possible for the average woman to continue to look great over 50? I certainly hope so. I’m going to try. But it still comes back to the original question. What is a 50-year-old woman supposed to look and act like? If someone writes the “What to Expect when you’re 50” book let me know. Until then I guess I’ll just have to wing it and if my daughter doesn’t like me dancing around in our living room to “Just get lucky” by Daft punk and singing into a spoon, tough!

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Love’s Labour’s Lost (Or Why Yoga Pants are Bad for Your Marriage)

Oh sing it sister!

Wine and Cheese (Doodles)

vintage-wedding-veil“Oh,” my husband recently sighed.   “The yoga pants.”

Sometimes it takes a cataclysmic event to rock your relationship, to make you sit down and take a good, hard look at your emotional surroundings; a serious illness, an extra-marital affair, a trial or a tribulation that must be faced.  Sometimes those head on collisions, those crashes of reality versus expectation, are the tipping point in whether a marriage survives, or whether it bursts into flames on the way down.  Summits are called, G8 meetings of marital accord.  Contracts are pulled out and scrutinized.  They may be renegotiated, they may be declared sound and worthy, they may be declared null and void.  Statistics are on your side, either way.

But sometimes it is not the seismic jolt of matrimonial earth, but a slight shift of a relationship fault line.  Something seemingly inconsequential.  A subtle shift in attitude, an air of difference…

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Can we, as women, ever be happy just the way we are?

Yesterday, one of the headlining stories on my AOL home page is about a woman called water_anus. Yes, that is the name she chose to use to represent her on the internet.  Anyway, water_anus is stirring it up over there on reddit.com because she posted pictures of herself with and without make-up. This is nothing new, but it made me think about the importance of perception. How we see ourselves and how others see us are nearly always two different things.

Researchers did an exercise with teenage girls about body image. They gave them each a piece of paper long enough to match their height and asked them to draw what they thought was the outline of their body.  Then they asked the girls to lie down inside the image that they had drawn. Each girl’s actual body was then outlined on top of the image the girls had drawn. When they were finished, the girls were amazed to find that the outline they drew of themselves was much bigger, than what the researcher’s actually traced.

Do we want to be accepted for who we really are? Sure we do. But the truth is, for the most part, we aren’t.  Studies have been done on the correlation between appearance and getting a job. Often times, more attractive, but less qualified applicants will get a job over a less attractive applicant who is more qualified. Let’s face it being attractive is a pretty good thing.

Who’s to say what makes someone attractive? Well definitely the media plays a big part in it. That’s pretty much a no brainer. Cameron Russell, a model, who has walked the runways for Victoria Secret and Channel, gave a talk on TED, (Technology, Entertainment, and Design).  She walked out on stage wearing a very tight, short, brown mini dress and 5 inch heels. When she began to speak she looks like she feels out-of-place and insecure. I know, right, this beautiful, leggy, sexy woman, looking awkward.  But she says she feels like she’s making other woman in the audience uncomfortable so she goes about transforming herself from sexy model to geek chic. By taking off her 5 inch heels, slipping on flat shoes, wearing a sweater and maxi length wrap skirt. Her appearance changes from slinky, sexy model to a more comfortable dressed, attractive, “ any” women. I believe it took 10 seconds to transform what everyone thought of her.

They should show this video to girls in school.  I’ve included this link to Cameron’s talk here:

http://www.ted.com/talks/cameron_russell_looks_aren_t_everything_believe_me_i_m_a_model.html

In it, she shows pictures of herself at a young age when she first began to model.  She contrasts the pictures taken of her on the same day. In one,  she looks like an average gawky 16-year-old at a sleep over with her friends.  to the picture of her, taken that same day, that appeared in a magazine. She wants other women and girls to know how many people and how much work it to make her appear the way she did in the magazine.  She refers to herself as “the product” of the way the magazine wants her to look so her image can sell a product.

Moms, Dads, anyone who cares for girls should make them sit down and watch this video. I’m not saying it will change their minds from thinking that they should be thinner, prettier or smarting than they think they are, but maybe somewhere, in the back of their minds, they might be able to understand that they are being programmed by magazines, TV and film to think that they will never be good enough.

I showed the video to my own 16-year-old daughter.  At first I had to stand there with her and make sure she watched it. Then, slowly, it caught her attention. She sat down, on her own, in my chair and watched the video with her full attention.  I asked her if it changed her mind at all about her self-esteem issues.

She said, “There will always but someone, smarter, thinner and prettier than me.”

I hope at some level, she, and all women, will learn to love and accept themselves.  Just like in the song Bruno Mars sings, “Cause you’re amazing, just the way you are.” And she is. I just hope someday, she, and all women can come to realize that.

From the pages of a magazine

From the pages of a magazine

Cameron Russell speaking at TED Talks

Cameron Russell speaking at TED Talks