24 February 2010

Can I talk to you about the wrinkles around your eyes?


Over the 2009 winter holidays I was given the opportunity to be an employee in my own shop. Kae and Kristine were on their much deserved vacations and I was the last woman standing for two days at the studio. It was refreshing to set aside my administrative duties and instead be available for customers. My job was to show up on time, receive web orders, answer emails and greet last minute customers in the store.
Everything went pretty well, but I did notice one thing. The keyboard for the office computer was carpal tunnel waiting to happen. It even stressed my right hand so bad that I couldn't knit for the first few days of my precious down time! Things were going to have to change. When Kae got back I asked her if she wanted a new keyboard (yes please!) and off we went to the Apple Store. It's in the Stonestown Mall, a rather upscale experience with all the requisite shops and those little kiosks selling all sorts of things from iPod covers to cosmetics. As we left the store we were greeted by an enthusiastic young man who wanted to compliment me on my scarf, find out where we were from, make any kind of sympatico conversation that might lead us over to his booth were he was selling eye creams and other age-reversing potions. He was nice enough, and we were nice enough, but I really didn't want to get pulled into his pitch (he also had smaller shoulders and softer hands than me, and that's just wrong.) So, when he said, "Can I talk to you about the wrinkles around your eyes?" I just smiled (they really show up when I smile), said "No thank you" and continued walking.
And it got me to thinking, I don't want to cover up the wrinkles around my eyes. I like my wrinkles as much as I like my grey hair. I don't want to look younger because I don't want to be treated as if I were younger. It took me a long time to get to 49 and I want all the cred that goes with it. It also occurred to me that I don't dress and flamboyantly as I used to. I think this is part of the same vein, I don't need to call attention to myself with things on the outside of my body, I am interesting just by being me. I've been through a lot, good and bad, and have wisdom on my side. I want you to see who I am plain and simple (aka older women are the bomb, babe!)

Now, if he had said, 'Can I talk to you about the fat around your waistline?', he could have probably sold me the whole kiosk, but that's for another day.

23 comments:

ephemeral arts said...

We don't have enough beautiful, powerful, mature women role models in the public eye. You are one of them, thank you.

Amy said...

Hah, if you were in front of me I'd probably kiss you for this. Thank you!

Herbatka said...

Oh man, I wish women's magagazines would publish you instead of this stupid articles about "how to look 20 when you're 50" and making us believe that cosmetic surgeries are something "normal and recommended at certain age" and ageing itself is something "inappropriate".
And BTW - I like every single wrinkle around your eyes :-)
Beata

Erin vs. Paris said...

beautiful :)

Britta Bandit said...

Well said ;0)

Bo said...

Hear hear! I am one of the few people I know who isn't mortified every time a birthday rolls around. When I found my first gray hair, I was happy. I want a few wrinkles... just not the kind associated with baking in the sun. And why?

Because I had -amazing- older women in my life. When I see women with long salt-and-pepper hair, I am reminded of my grandmother who is a professional storyteller. I want to be like her, and many other gray-haired, wrinkled women I know. I feel that if people were exposed to more interesting folks outside of their own generation (in both directions) we might have fewer age-related hang-ups.

On a related note, those kiosk people automatically turn me off. Pointing out someone's flaw (bad skin, wrinkles, frizzy hair) as if you noticed it from across the mall is NOT a good way to get sympathetic customers.

Lotus Belly Dancer said...

You are beautiful Carolena, I'll be 49 next month...You are the perfect role model. Many Blessings and thank you for American Tribal Style. Alina

Ottavina said...

Bravissima. This is the attitude that most of the women in my family have taken. Though it's not the popular route published by the glossy magazines, others usually respond so positively to their natural beauty they've embraced.

Carrie said...

You fully deserve all the cred!

I'd be curious to know what you were wearing that day...
Had you been wearing your skin tight black skirt and power hour heels that I'm use to seeing you in, your wrinkles would have been the last thing he was looking at.
Shazaam! ;-)

katie said...

Thanks so much Carolena!
I just read your post one day after a friend of mine told me that I "HAVE to dye my hair.... it just looks so much better.... especially now that you're in your forties." Meant as kind advice, but it didn't feel nice.

Shimmydancer said...

This as just what I need to hear today. I was getting so frustrated with hearing people talk about ani-age this, plastic surgery that....its nice to hear that there are people out there that respect aging and think it is beautiful.

Elizabeth said...

I hear you! I like my eye wrinkles and yours!

Marilia said...

Beautiful Carolena! Each age have its own beauty, and we should be always proud of that! I admire you so much, and feel so connected with your way of seeing the life... even far away in Brazil...

Kisses!!

Cybelle said...

I shared this entry with all my friends who are freaking about their age and getting older.

And I have to say, from having met you and watching you dance--the last thing I noticed were the wrinkles around your eyes.

<3 Thanks for this.

SusanG said...

Thanks for sharing his, Carolena. My grey hair is gradually "coming in". Can't wait to have long grey hair. Am turning 55 in a couple of weeks any my body's "achilles tendon" is my generous bottom. Thank goodness for the lovely swishy skirts we wear in ATS.

DragonFly24 said...

I love my wrinkles and my greys too. My belly fat is mine as well. My stretchmarks, on the other hand... We all have something. Love you.

Margaret L. said...

What fat around your middle? You are totally awesome and beautiful!!!

And yeah, we older women are the BOMB!!

elley said...

It's beautiful to see women being true to themselves! Carolena, this is why you are an inspiration to women of all ages.

Jenn said...

wow...how funny that I read this just as I was watching tutorials on you tube for facial yoga.LOL This shook me more than you know, in a world where a 28 year old woman thinks that her smile lines need to be fixed you are what true inspiration is. My mother has aged gracefully and I should too! Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Dulce said...

Oh my gosh I think "crow's feet" are so sexy. :)

natt said...

"It took me a long time to get to 49!" lol!!

I'm just about 21 and i'd really love to get like you to 49!
to start with... loads of ATS! :D

Regards and a big hug from Montevideo, Uruguay :)

world_runner said...

You are a beautiful woman Carolena. Many women wish to reach 49 looking as good as you do. I have a lot of respect for you.I especially admire you in all aspects.Thanks for giving us FCBD and all the most beautiful moves in bellydance.Peace and blessings from Morocco :)

The Millers said...

speaking of belly fat...
One day after a performance and photo shoot, I was feelin' pretty awesome. I took my son to get his hair cut at the barber shop and the owner came over to me and said "I have something you might be interested in." He proceeded to try to sell me a fancy girdle. Why a man at a men's barber shop was selling women's girdles, I'll never know. I could've chosen to feel bad because that guy thought I should be trying to suck my gut in but instead I felt strong and beautiful. I walked out of there laughing to myself. He didn't know that I actually love my body!