A post from writer Meg Tipper:
So let’s talk gravity, skin and gravity.
I never used to think much about my skin except to notice a zit or to put on sun screen.
Perhaps a decade ago, in my early 50s, some strange extra-terrestrial presence began creeping over my body. I was afraid to notice.
But one day, my nephew made its presence undeniable.
It was summer. We were sitting on a couch together, face to face, with our legs extending towards each other. He first just looked down at my legs.
Then he put both hands on my thighs, a few inches apart, and squeezed them together, causing my skin to look even more like corrugated cardboard.
Then he looked at me with horror and asked, “Aunt Gangy, what’s wrong with your skin?”
As my 50s wore on, it was not the wrinkles at the corners of my eyes or in my forehead that got my attention. Wrinkles I expected, wrinkles people talked about.
What I was not prepared for was sag, the sheer force of gravity on skin: the way my cheeks are falling onto my chin, the way my upper arms jiggle, the way my breasts are now resting comfortably on my stomach, the way my ass has no personality.
It is sad to feel my sexy body deflating right before my eyes.
This spring I will have the pleasure of walking down the aisle as the mother of the groom.
While I am over the moon happy for this wedding, being the mother of the groom is not what little girls dream of.
Perhaps in shock, definitely feeling a little rebellious, I allowed myself to be talked into buying a dress for the wedding which is low cut, sleeveless, and tight.
I was told I look “hot,” and who can resist believing that?
However, when I looked at myself in my hot dress in the cold light of a mirror at home, alone, all I saw was sag.
I have brought in the best sag-fighting artillery: heavy upholstery in the way of a bra, uplift in the way of an impossibly tight and uncomfortable undergarment, which promises to eliminate any lines or bulges, but also makes me feel like I will be prevented from sitting or peeing during the wedding.
I stand in front of the mirror and try to find a way to hold myself, say, tucking my upper arms behind my shoulders; I search for a way to angle my face for the inevitable photos, so that can I swivel my neck around and hide the chicken skin. Suddenly, I have a serious interest in moisturizer.
I know it’s crazy. I am an attractive, older woman.
I am 60: glorious, sexy sixty.
I’ll keep telling myself, and I’m sure, come springtime, in my hot dress, on a fabulous occasion, full of love and happiness, I will feel it!
Meg Tipper is retired after over thirty years as a teacher at almost all levels of education. Her last teaching job was as an English teacher and Writing Center Director at Gilman School in Baltimore. She has published articles, stories, poems, and personal essays and has been a regular contributor and columnist for Catonsville.Patch.com. Meg lives in Catonsville , Maryland, with her partner, Jim Himel. They travel frequently and work on their old home and garden.
Meg’s first book, Standing at the Edge: A Year of Days After Sudden Death (Apprentice House, 2010) chronicles her journey after the sudden death of her 22 year old daughter, Maggie. Her son, Stephen Feiss, teaches math at Mt. Mansfield Union and coaches soccer at Winooski High School, both outside Burlington, Vermont.
Standing at the Edge: Proceeds from the sale of Standing at the Edge go to the Maggie Feiss Fund of the Baltimore Community Foundation (BCF). For more information, go to the Standing at the Edge website. The book can be purchased at Amazon.com.