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12.11.2012

You, instead.



For you,


This used to be easier, didn't it? I think it used to be easier. I'm pretty sure it was once-upon-a-time a little less hard.

I'm tired. I'm tired in that way that settles around the eyes and reveals just a little too much, a little too soon. Tired in that way that lacks imagination--that can't imagine anything changing, ever.

I've grown into my adult face. At some point between the majority of twenty-six and the last few months I got my adult face. I almost didn't notice, it's a really subtle change. My cheeks are so full (and yes,  I'm sure as I age I'll be ever-more-grateful for just how big they are) but they are ever-so-slightly-less-big, ever-so-slightly-less-full. The outline of my face is a little bit leaner, a little bit harder.

I went out with some girlfriends recently and we had one of those New York nights that's governed by nothing more than the overriding principle of what-the-hell. And so when two Croatian "aesthetic" surgeons (specializing in rhinoplasty) sat down next to us, we let them. And when they toppled a single glass of wine with little left, we allowed them to buy three more. And when they guessed our ages (accurately) I then demanded to know just how it was they knew I was two years older. And the one said, The lines on either side of your mouth are deeper.

He might have used more clinical, professional (accurate) terms, but I knew what he meant.

It became one of the jokes of the weekend--me and my deepening smile lines.

It did used to be easier.

I've run out of things to say. Or maybe just the courage to say them. Yes, maybe that's it. Maybe it's that I've forgotten what it felt like to do this--to write, to imagine, to leap into a future without small and unkind people saying small and unkind things--not the doctor, but the people who come and read these words and think me so terrible because of them.

I know this feeling will pass. And I know I'll get my courage back. And I know I'll figure out how to care a little less about the small cruelties of others. But today I do. And today it's hard.

The thing is, I like my deepening smile lines. I like my older, now adult face. And so maybe it does get harder, and maybe am I little more tired, but maybe those things are just products of reaching in the direction of the life I want.

Of which you are a part.

So forget the small and unkind and cruel naysayers, I'll take you instead.





Yours


27 comments:

Julie said...

I don't know you, Meg, but I'd be willing to bet your smile lines are wonderful, and that you come by them honestly.

Helen said...

Surely he didn't mean it to be cruel! Do you think he really did? You have a gorgeous smile, and the deep lines mean you are getting a lot of use out of it. I'd take that over a wrinkle-less face any day. xoxx

Jenna | The Paleo Project said...

Oh you, you're exactly how and who and how old and how everything you are supposed to be. Don't let any small thing (person or otherwise) make you think differently.

Natalie said...

i love this. deepening smile lines and all. (especially deepening smile lines).

Days Careen said...

Its a sign you smile a lot and what could be better than a life full of smiles?

Ashley said...

I've been nervous lately, too, about things people think and say. My words are not read nearly like yours, though, so I don't think there's a real reason for my fear. Just a general feeling of fear of other people's judgment. Nonetheless, I admire you for still writing what you want and writing beautifully despite the muck that gets posted in response (and which, honestly, doesn't matter--too many people are offended or fired up about the dumbest of things, and I hope you take that as part of the criticism)

Ashley said...

It wouldn't let me finish! Anyway, keep being you. And I hope the fear somehow fades... For both of us, but especially you. Because I think you are so talented.

Alice said...

I love your way with words Meg. Thanks for this post - it made my morning. x

Jessica R said...

Reminds me of a favorite quote from The Guardian:

Hell, I've always been old Ben. Ya' know what though, I don't mind. I mean if my muscles ache, it's because I've used 'em. It's hard for me to walk up them steps now, its 'cuz I walked up 'em every night to lay next to a man who loved me. I got a few wrinkles here and there, but I've layed under thousands of skies with sunny days. I look and feel this way, well cuz I drank and I smoked. I lived and I loved, danced, sang, sweat and screwed my way thorough a pretty damn good life if you ask me. Getting old ain't bad Ben. Getting old, that's earned.

:)

Amy A. said...

I wondered when it would hit you. I've been reading for a while and am always amazed at what and how you share. You put so much out there, and here I sit, in my 40's, not able to say anything. Is it my age? Do we clam up at a certain age? I admire your vulnerability.

Small and cruel people are jealous people. Ignore them. And I'm sorry that you will begin editing yourself because of them. You and your writing are special.

Diana said...

I love this, Meg. I can certainly understand what you are saying because I have been noticing subtle things about myself lately as well--things stemming from growing up and things easily criticized. But like you, I'm starting to realize that it's because I'm reaching. And I'll take that over giving power to the critics, too. So, once again, thank you for being so honest with us. You are very much an inspiration and I am so glad that despite others' cruelty, you are still so vulnerable and so lovely!

DL Stas said...

This is beautiful.

lizzy said...

a friend commented today that i seem a tempest. and it's true. but it has more to do with what you've expressed in this post than anything else. and oh, reading your words soothed my tired heart and smarting eyes and fading courage. there is relief in taking a pause to acknowledge that it's hard, even for the fiercest optimist, it is hard. thank you, meg. you are wondrous to me.

Anonymous said...

Somehow, almost everytime I need words of wisdom, you have the perfect words. Very wonderful. Thank you.

Paula said...

I love your writing Meg, And I pray you will always have the courage to write... :) You are awesome! - deepening smile lines, adult face and all!!

Abiella SF said...

Meg, I've been reading your blog for a long while, and I just wanted to say that I hope you continue to know how much your words matter and inspire. So much of what you write resonates in a way that I can't quite articulate. You are brave to share your writing here, and I, for one, am very grateful!

sharlyn emily said...

dammit Meg, you've done it again. bravo.

sharlyn emily said...

dammit Meg, you've done it again. bravo.

Anonymous said...

I have come here for a while now, quietly reading your words, never commenting, but always coming back. And when I scaled back the blogs I read to only a handful in order to spend less time online, yours is one of the few I kept reading. Because your writing is delicious, honest, lyrical. I hope you won't let the cruel ones take your courage.

Alexis said...

Please keep wearing your badge of courage around these parts, I really enjoy visiting to read your words. Last night I went to a fancy holiday party and felt completely out of place, I spent my entire morning ruminating on how it went down, what I should have said or done or not said and done. Ack, not a good feeling. I hope you do not put yourself in that place.

Jo said...

i'm just starting to learn that there is a special courage that comes with smile lines and leaner cheeks. you are wonderful, and your writing has a beautiful honesty...and courageousness.
xo

Lib said...

I hope that you know that for every silly person who makes a mean comment to you about these letters and your writing, there are another 50 of us out here that feel so lucky to be let in to your world and are not saying anything, even though you're writing exactly what we are thinking. (Ever so eloquently, as always).

Dree said...

I read your words so often, not even as a passage but sentence by sentence, pausing after each to let the words sink in. I'm embarrassed to say that I rarely, if ever, comment, because what you say resonates with me in a way that I can't articulate. You really have an incredible gift, and I am so very grateful that you choose to share it with us.

Keiko said...

"To me: You are perfect."

Kalyn said...

Your words and photos are always beautiful and inspiring. You give life to feelings and thoughts that I could never say out loud or find the words to express.

Sam | ashore said...

I can't remember if I told you that night, but my mother always said (about growing old) "you get the face you deserve." If smile lines are the ones that come, what a wonderful thing to have earned.

Andrea said...

I've never commented here before because I've always been shy about commenting on blogs of people I don't personally know. But the thing is, more and more, I've realized how connected we all are. And you give voice to so many of us women, who like you, think and feel deeply. Who are sentimental, smart, and funny. And we all fear. And we all hope. And it is my hope that you never stop writing. For you are INCREDIBLY TALENTED! Thank you for your brave words. And thank you for sharing your love with us. For that is the bravest, and most noble thing of all.