I had a disturbing encounter, and subsequent revelation the other day. One that is still haunting me.
It had been a very long, physically and mentally challenging day at work, and I had made a quick pit-stop at our local “Wally World” on my way home, to pick up some things to make my aching back feel better. I was disheveled, in pain, tired, had no makeup on, hair pulled straight back (except for the many pieces escaping from the “do”), and had just gotten over the Flu (on top of everything else). I wanted nothing more than a cup of coffee, a hot bubble bath, a bowl of hot soup and to put my feet up.
I rounded the corner by the Pharmacy area, when I heard someone behind me give their name to the Pharmacist for a prescription pick-up. I stopped in my tracks and turned around to look at them. Yup, sure enough, it was my old best friend!! I had not seen, or heard from them, in over 15 years (since they had gotten married and moved a couple of towns away). I immediately said “Hi!!” – and they looked at me like I was a loon! You know the response – the deer-in-the-headlights look with a hesitant “Hello”, while you can almost see the wheels in their head turning while they are trying to process WHO this crazy person is who thinks that they know them (and do they even WANT to know this person) look????
They had NO CLUE who I was!!! Didn’t recognize me AT ALL!!! My old best friend!!!! 😦
The thought immediately went thru my mind that “they must not recognize me because of how I look right now”. The very next thought was – “if I look that bad/that OLD, then I don’t want them to know it’s me – they’ll go tell everybody how bad/OLD I look!!!!”.
So, vanity thoroughly in charge – I shut up and moved on. Leaving them thinking that I was just some “crazy lady in Wally World” who mistook them for someone else. I was suddenly so vain (something I am truly NOT) that I didn’t even admit to them who I was! How could I have done that?? Moved on and not even tried to remind them who I really was???
Actually, I’m not sure if I should be more ashamed for my behavior – or upset with the fact that my old best friend (of many years), didn’t even recognize me – even after I’d said “Hello”…. 😦
When I got home, I ran to the mirror to check and see how bad I really looked.
Somehow, during all of the stress, sadness, disasters, upheavals, financial attacks, emotional turmoil and general nastiness of this past year – I looked like I had aged 20 years! That photo of me over there on the sidebar was taken last Thanksgiving Day – almost 1 year ago to the day. I’m not showing you a picture of me now…..
I lost 25 lbs after the funeral because the thought of food made me sick; I look exhausted – all the time; I haven’t worn any makeup in months; I think I’m getting a “turkey neck”; I found 5 gray hairs – in my bangs; I have enough bags under my eyes to pack up a small army, and I physically feel closer to 100 than 1/3 of it in age!!
I know, I know – it’s “understandable” and “excusable” given everything that I’ve been thru lately (and am still going thru for that matter), but that still doesn’t make the realization of my appearance any easier….
Oh, Vanity be thy name……
The saddest part – I am not a vain person by nature! Why I allowed it to take over, and get in the way of saying “Hi” to an old friend (preferring to have them remember me how I used to be/look), I will never know, or understand. Maybe I was just too tired/achy to deal with it at the time. Looking in the mirror when I got home didn’t help any, however!
So, I guess it’s time to start wearing makeup again so that I quit scaring people; go pay a visit to Mr. Clairol to rebuke those gray hairs; start wearing turtle necks to hide the “turkey neck”, and invest in some super-duper-extra-strong hold hairspray that can handle me working outside all day in nasty weather and gale force winds!
It may not make me look any younger, or less sad/tired/whatever, but at least I’ll quit scaring the natives – and myself when I look in the mirror! If that doesn’t work – then at least it’s coming up on hat and scarf season. 🙂
“Aging Gracefully” is for the birds (and wine and cheese)!!!!! I’m going kicking and screaming the whole way!
Now where’s that bottle of Clairol?!?!?
I guess I’m more vain than I thought. 😉