I turned forty this year. It’s a big milestone, and the first one that really makes me feel different. New medical tests are required, and my body is doing weird things. Hot flashes. My old wrist injury aching when it’s going to rain. Random eyebrow hairs turning silver, growing extra long, and spronging out from my face, like “Look at me! I’m a gray eyebrow hair! Helllooooooo!! Do you see me?”
I know how that shining, fabulous eyebrow hair feels. Sometimes you just want to be seen.
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve begun to slip quietly under a cloak of invisibility. I find myself thinking often of that scene from Six Feet Under, in which Kathy Bates teaches Frances Conroy to shoplift, explaining that since they’re invisible as older women anyway, they might as well get free stuff.
When I’m in my mom uniform, jeans and a basic top, minimal makeup, at the grocery store or the waiting area at dance class, I can feel the slide of eyes. An older, plus size suburban mom. Utterly invisible.
The blue hair helps a little. A genuine smile helps sometimes too. But I still feel the slide into invisibility. Middle-aged. Overweight. Nothing to see here.
But I’m not gonna go quietly.
I’m 40! Do you know how freeing that is? I am the person I’m going to be. This is me. Not to say I can’t reinvent myself in another twenty years. I totally can. But pretty much, I am who I am, and I know myself pretty well. This is me. Crazy, irreverent, boozy, loving, maternal, potty-mouthed, smart, and sexy as hell.
I get to just be who I am. Blue hair. Whiskey blog. Obsessed with corsets. I'm forty. I get to just be that.
And I don’t have to be invisible if I don’t want to be.
So here I am. Forty. Overweight. Mom of twins. Doing pin-up. Because beauty isn’t a number. It’s not an age or a dress size or a number on the scale. It doesn’t come from anyone else’s approval. It comes from inside.
And I will not go quietly. Oh, hell to the no.
All photos are by the amazing, extraordinary Rebecca Palmer of Lifescapes Photography. Also known as best sister ever.