Sitting in the salon today, I face the mirror, waiting while my color is mixed. I am wearing only mascara and lip balm. I study my 50 something face, crows’ feet accentuated when I smile, furrowed brow even when I am not furrowing, the parenthetical curves that frame my mouth, the puffiness beneath my eyes, and my nose, well it’s just big. It’s been far too long since I’ve frozen, filled or lasered my imperfections, but I’ve been busy, and, quite honestly, comfortable in my skin. I have grown accustom to my little defects and certainly learned over time that my inside is much more important than my outside. In this moment I can look at my reflection and smile inside. I like the way I look. Even in this not so flattering light, I really do.
Thoughts about aging and feelings of insecurity definitely sneak up on me, mostly when I think about the possibility of dating and how I look to others. I read somewhere that the adult attention span is now 8 seconds, just one second more than a goldfish. With first impressions and initial attraction ruling the competitive dating world, my chances of grabbing someone’s attention get slimmer by the second.
Nearly a year has passed since I decided to take a break from finding coupledom. Just when I thought I had finally gotten it right, I couldn’t have been more wrong. I’ve spent the months looking inward, setting priorities, and focusing on aligning my head with my heart. Integrity and self-respect rule my inner voice, and gratitude keeps me grounded. I have practiced being alone, and pondered the possibility of remaining alone. I actually find some comfort there, knowing that I can happily live my life as a single woman. Still, it’s not my first choice. I shake my head, knowing that I was alone in most of my relationships, wanting and fighting for the couple we never were.
I do want to share a life with someone though. That means I have to be okay with not having control. I cannot make someone love me, or even like me. I can control who I allow to get to know me, imperfections and all. But I cannot control how they will react to all that is me. Friends always say, It’s not personal. He just wants something else. I have to laugh . . . what’s more personal than someone saying, I don’t want you. Ouch! I’m not good with rejection. It sends me right into the abyss of self-pity, a place I swear I will never visit again.
As my hair is washed and my head massaged, eyes closed and completely relaxed, I remember and miss the intimacy of even the most common and routine touch. Holding hands, wiping a small crumb from a lip, or an errant eyelash from a cheek, shaving someone’s neck, or having lotion rubbed on my back. These simple gestures I truly miss. But before I get there I must be willing to let down my guard, be my most honest self, choose who is best for me, and let go of those who never will be.
At the moment I have no reentry plan for doing the dating dance. But, with a clear head, both feet on the ground, and for the first time, maybe in my life, a clear idea of what I want in a relationship, I think I could give love another try . . . maybe . . .
Maria dries my hair. Looking in the mirror we talk to one another about getting rid of old ghosts, and fresh starts. She knows all my stories and secrets, and gently offers some nugget of wisdom. With the added color I look refreshed, maybe even younger. Everybody needs a Maria in their life.
These days, I do my damnedest to live in the moment, no regretting yesterday and no fretting about tomorrow. I listen less to the anxious voices in my head, and instead focus on the wisdom of the Universe.
I smile again at my reflection . . . My how I have grown. . . I am stronger and wiser than I was a year ago. More importantly, I like who I am . . . inside and out. And when I’m ready, I will decide who is worthy of my love.