Yes, it's still foggy and pouring rain. And yes, I'm still talking smack. Last week, the Bosses brought in a professional photographer to snap head shots of all the staff for the website and other marketing material and after much scuffling, I was finally captured and shot while trying to shimmy up a drain pipe and onto the roof. Who would look there? Especially in a downpour.
See, I'm not really coy, people. I just hate having my picture taken. Always have. Everyone has their place and mine is on the business end of the camera, not face front with someone muttering, "smile, smile." In fact, the last time I had my picture taken it was by the guy at the DMV and that was ONLY after he offered my a lollipop. My features are crooked, my nose too large, my teeth a bit lumpy, my eyebrows overgrown. And then there's that myopic look of someone who's worn glasses her whole life but still can't quite figure out how they should sit on her face. I could go on.
But when I saw the proofs, I was stunned. For the first time in my life, I look my age. No wonder I never get asked for ID anymore even in a dark, smoky bar when the waitress is hurried and the counter is full of college kids on summer break and yes, I just might be the slightly older sister. Nope. I look like MOM. It's official. The crow's feet and lined lips. The collagen deprived neck waddle. The softness around the jawline. The growing heaviness of the eyelids. And something else.
Last summer, while wine tasting in McMinnville with friends my age, everyone got carded except me. When I joshed the wine guy, he shrugged, embarrassed, and said, "It's something around the eyes. Experience. You've seen a lot." There it is.
I have the face now of someone who has lived to tell about it and while part of me proudly carries this like a badge of honor, the girl who was once the youngest marketing director in the history of Business Week is now wholly unsettled by the idea of Middle Age. I am half way up the mountain, looking back, no longer anticipating what's at the top with that giddy "let's get started" feeling, but sinewy and cautious in the long march forward because I know a thing or two about injury, falling, oxygen deprivation. And I only have a few granola bars left. I am no longer one of Charlie's Angels, but MacGyver, a resourceful secret agent.
I have the face now of someone who is no longer pretty, but handsome. Oh, GOD! Reminds me of all the horse books I read as a girl; the stoic side-kick was always handsome. And the real beauty, the lead character, always got the boy AND the horse.
No wonder the world looks at me and the Ranger and smirks.
But then I browsed the rest of the photos, random moments captured throughout the gym and yoga studio. And this is the photo that stopped me.
Really. All I can say is NICE ASS, GIRLFRIEND. I'd tap that. And that strapping yoga back...not bad either. Well-defined calves. Good. Good. And for those of you wondering, yes, I DO work-out with that fucking adorable personal trainer who's promised to teach me how to surf the very moment I figure out how to swim.
So maybe I've been looking at this whole thing ass backwards because for most of my life, I've had NO ASS AT ALL. That's right, flat and shapeless, just like dear ole dad's. Always had trouble finding pants that fit or underwear that didn't sag in the back. That's why, early on, when the Ranger told me he was an Ass-Man, I could only wonder, why is he with me then?
So yeah, some of our best parts are behind us, but that shouldn't keep us off the mountain. It's a good climb after all, full of surprises, and unlike the first half, you're better conditioned, better prepared, not so easily tripped or led astray.
Plus, hell, it's good to know...the next time we leave a restaurant or walk out of the grocery store and the Ranger puts his hand on my hip, I don't think there's any doubt. Nope. Not the Mom.