Female and (practically) 40.
This month I turn 37 years old. Age seems a silly thing to focus on but as we all know, the media isn't going to let you forget that you're no spring chicken anymore. The likelihood of being a pop star went away with my twenties, and as a cute and well meaning brat on a class trip told me "you're starting to get your elevens". Elevens, for those who are as confused now as I was then, are the two wrinkles you get between your eyebrows from furrowing them at stupid comments. As a matter of fact I've probably had them since I was eleven. But I digress.
Aging has been rough for me because I got caught up. I got caught up in the "I need to be a grown-up" trap. I have a five year old on the autism spectrum, which means I have a lot of contact with school administrators and therapists and the ever-present playgroup interviews. I haven't "passed" one of those yet and it started to really seep in and make me uncomfortable. So I tried. I tried to grow out my (shaved) hair and put on a conservative gray dress, leggings, and mary-jane shoes. I balled up my ratty skull print t-shirt and tossed it into a drawer, I left my paint spattered jeans at home, I decided against my hemp cord beaded necklaces and instead opted for a demure silver chain.
...and I felt worse and more insecure than ever...
I started to question whether I was doing the right thing by presenting an inauthentic face to the public. I struggle in very real ways with social situations, so feeling awkward in my own skin just exaggerated the issue. Now instead of feeling awkward about being the only bald, messenger bag toting mom at the kindergarten round-up I worried that my son (and other children) were recieving deeply unhealthy messages about conformity, identity, and what it means to be a parent. Besides that, I am an advocate for people who are different at the core. I struggle with my gender and racial identities, I have issues with mental illness that I confront non-medically, I am on the autism spectrum (Asperger's), I am different and that goes beyond what I wear, but it bloody well includes it too. There is no reason anyone should be ignored or brushed off because of how they look to someone else.
So this is me. Practically 40 and rocking the 90's grunge/artist look for at least the next decade.