I don’t know if I have mentioned this before, but my daughter has varying yet specific uses for the terms “old” and “new.”
a) The usual: “Mommy, this car is old. You need to buy a new one.” (Because it has a leak we can’t fix. And to her, it is an old car; when I bought it, she was in utero. But she says this about everything. Why fix something when you can buy new? How very American of her.)
b) New equals young: “Mommy, you old. Anya is new.” (Anyone older than, say, 10 is old.)
c) Old equals sick. “Mimi is new! I can stay at her house!” (She loves sleepovers with my mother.)
I get a kick out of her telling me I am new, but of course that is only in the context of illness. In all other contexts, I am so very old.
I would like to say I shrug this off, but when actresses younger than I am are hawking old lady cream, it gets to me. Especially since I am starting to see some signs of aging. Probably not so many as I think, but this face is not my face, and I can’t blame it all on the breastfeeding baggage. That merely erased my cheekbones. No, this face has more underchin than my face. It is developing undereye bags at an alarming rate. (And I already had dark circles to deal with.) My eyes themselves are red most of the time — not sure if that’s age or allergies, but it doesn’t help. And then there’s the lingering melasma and fine lines, which I had almost made peace with, dammit. Add my crazy hair, and half the time I’m not sure who the heck is looking back at me in the mirror.
I have total mom bod. I will have mom bod until I finish breastfeeding, which as far as I am concerned is nowhere in the near future. (No periods vs an extra 15 lbs…gee, I wonder which one I should choose?) I have postpartum hair, which looks extra weird to me because I colored it. (I like the color…it’s just still a shock to have hair this dark. Even with no gray, my hair wasn’t quite this dark. Or maybe it was just shinier?) In short, I look in the mirror and am mildly disgusted by what I see.
I guess it’s not necessarily bad, any of it. I just don’t look like me.
I don’t feel as old as I look in the mirror, though. Which makes it that much worse.
I know I just need to adapt. Find some decent concealer, maybe pick a new hairdo, get some clothes that are a little more flattering to my new figure. Stop wishing I looked like I used to and start working with what I now have.
But man, I miss me.