Letting (her/yourself) go

Disclaimer: I understand that many/most people have bigger fish to fry while the world is falling apart than to sit and contemplate this vanity-induced post here, so if you do comment, please be kind (but still honest) – I have no qualms blocking anyone if you attack or put down someone’s opinion on my blog.

* * *

Once upon a time when I was young and stupid, I dated some people I shouldn’t have.

Recently, I reflected on some comments one of them made, that have me irked. (sorry not sorry)

Here’s one that surfaced today:

Reference: He’s a pilot (30 something), I’m a flight attendant (20 something), we’re at some function that has other pilots and their wives there, some of them quite a bit older.

These are the comments he made (in front of me no less):

Comment 1: “She’s still got it.” (about some pretty wife of a colleague)

Comment 2: “She let herself go.” (to an older wife who put on some weight and clearly would have preferred staying home to take a nap)

Here’s my interpretation of these idiotic comments today:

Reaction to comment 1: “She always had it and you’re an idiot.” (I didn’t say that then but should have, and would have today)

Reaction to comment 2: “She’s amazing and you’re a fucking idiot.” (same as above)

First of all, what is it about women getting older and suddenly it’s either ‘she still has it‘ or ‘she let herself go‘?

Or the word ‘still‘?

What’s this whole thing about ‘looking well put together at all times‘ because ‘you never know who you might bump into‘?

(No wonder I’m insecure. Look at the company I was keeping…) 🙄

What is it anyway? Make-up, heels and a slender, toned body? Expensive clothes? Dripping in jewellery? Some rich idiot on your arm?

(Good thing I have a blog to hurl this stuff into…) 🙃

Secondly, I remember what my early to mid 40s were like. I had a baby, my second, who drained me for 18 months nursing every couple of hours.

She didn’t sleep through the night, in her own bed, for four and a half years.

4 years and 6 months with a toddler attached to you 24/7. Let that sink into your brain.

(Before you start pointing fingers and making unhelpful comments about letting her cry it out or bla bla BLAH, I did what I did, and now she’s the most amazing 12 year old so shut up with your parenting advice. Do what you need to do. I support you.)

Ask me if I cared what I wore, or how I styled my hair, or wtf was going on with the husband or the other kid or the dog or the house and I will tell you I didn’t care. I just wanted to know when I could sleep next.

Looking back to that time now, I wonder, what did people think of me when I stumbled around like some demented zombie on no sleep with two active toddlers for god knows how many years?

Did people say things like ‘she let herself go‘ about me?

Well I did let myself go. So what. Who cares. I was barely awake. Barely functioning. It’s not like those people came over to babysit while I took a nap.

After she went to Kindergarten and then full day school, it took another several years to overcome this trauma, and only then, by the later part of my 40s, did I start to feel myself again.

And that’s when I, too, fell into the whole ‘look better to feel better’ trap.

Or is it a trap? (This is a matter of perspective and you are entitled to your opinion.)

I remember actually stopping to look at clothes and shoes for purposes other than practical.

I bought shoes with a slight heel for the first time since my flight attendant days. 👠 I don’t remember what type of shoes I wore while chasing toddlers, but they didn’t have any heel, I guarantee you.

Then I bought mascara. And eyeliner.

And lipstick. 💄 Not a nude colour, either. Something dark and sultry. 💋

I even went for a hair cut and asked her to style me, not just blow dry me.

STYLE my hair.

I needed a pick me up and this self-induced vanity seemed to do something to my psyche. Looking in the mirror when my hair wasn’t a mess and my eyes were open and, you know, clear and awake, it made me feel better… 👀

It’s all very confusing.

Today, I play around with my look a little bit as well. I am admitting this right here on the social internet. I fuss and dress and pose for stupid selfies and put make-up on and heels and jewellery all because it’s fun. I have a little bit more time these days because of children who sleep through the night in their own beds. Actually, said children go to bed after I do. (I would have never thought that day would come…)

I play around with getting dressed when I do go out, even if it’s just the lawyer’s office or the bank or some grocery story, just because I can.

It helps me to navigate my midlife crisis. 😉

But those comments…they still irk me today. Even if they’re meant as a compliment. She’s still got it.

Yes I do. Not because of the hair and make up and heels, but because I always did, even when I was stumbling around like a sleep-deprived zombie.

And so do you.

Tell me what you think. I welcome all views; but please keep in mind different geographical areas have different opinions about what is, or isn’t, considered vain, or fluff, or unnecessary. I’m interested in what you FEEL when you hear a comment like that, or what you THINK when you make a comment like that.

See you in the comments.

35 thoughts on “Letting (her/yourself) go

  1. Great post and I am so with you. Love your thoughts about this sexist pig of a pilot. How dare he, but I can totally see why you wouldn’t have said anything in your 20s. I probably wouldn’t have either. It took me a long time to appreciate the person I am now, warts and all. I think I am here now – feeling pretty darn awesome every day, dressing up for me and wanting to look decent FOR ME, and for my man, yes that too 🙂 Personally I think that when people are happy and confident, they shine. I hope I shine. I feel like I do anyway 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love this post!
    It doesn’t matte what you look like, what matters is how you feel.
    Thinking about those women at that do, I’m landing in a sort of sure, we all have obligations, things to do and places to be because of our spouse, partner, or other family members territory. We have to present something specific to the world.
    Girl, if you put on sultry lipstick to walk the dang dogs in your track pants and hoodie, who gives a f**k? Are you happy with who you are? That’s what matters.
    As I write this, I’ve just ‘done’ my hair for the first time in about nine-hundred-and-seventy-five-years and I’m just sitting around the house.
    It feels lovely to like the way you look. But for me that’s key! I can’t be bothered to care what anybody else thinks about the way I look. I’m too busy trying to live my life.
    OK, this was rambling but I meant every word. Must work harder to organize thoughts before I write them down.
    xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well I can be determined, I do consider myself relatively intelligent, and I will admit to having worked on liking my looks lately that plays into the self-confidence thing, which remains a work in progress. And is often influenced by hormonal fluctuations, in either direction. 😳

      But thank you.☺

      Liked by 1 person

  3. From the way you compose yourself here, I’d say you never lost it. 🙂 And I only know ya online. Funny though, both my wife and i have gone up and down in weight and at times we are both insecure in how we look, but appearance should only be a small percentage of “it”. Only small minded people think vanity is the largest % of “it”.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I wear make up every day, whether I am in the house or going to the shop for milk or going to work. I wear it because it makes me feel good about myself. It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks (although it kind of does, but you get the point)

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Me neither! My self care – facial routine and make up came only a year ago when I had had enough time to grieve over my failed marriage and deceased father. One day I realised that, whilst I live my three kids, it was OK to be me and put myself first.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I think I love your spirit and your fire: it inspires me to keep a hold of my own.🙂

    I think that who you are fills you to overflowing, and you’ll never need anything outside of you to be beautiful.

    I think our spirit eventually teaches us all the ways we’ve been total dicks along the line (he was a total dick. I bet he’s changed his view, now, though. Cough. I hope he has. 😉)

    I think life is a blank canvas to create beautiful art with; I think our bodies are a blank canvas, too. Art looks like a lot of things. And it looks different to everyone.

    I think if you feel inspired to dress beautifully, and celebrate how beautiful ALL of you is…well, that’s amazing. We have bodies. We might as well explore them in the world. (I think Tracksuit pants and all day pyjamas are wonderful, too.☺️)

    I think you’ll never be everyone’s cup of tea, so you might as well be a cup of tea that you like.

    I think I liked your blog post. It made me smile. ☺️xx

    Ps- I think I just wrote an entire blog post in your comment section. 😂 Sorry, Claudette. 🦄xx

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Claudette. X☺️Me too. It’s kind of amazing to go back, though, isn’t it? To see how life, and who we are, changes. Pretty amazing. ✨xx

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I think it is always nice to look good. This coming from a mom who worked in fashion and an aunt who was a model for 17 Magazine and in her 80’s still worries about getting her hair done. I have been in many industries oriented towards looking good: fashion and teaching (presenting in front of an audience). I do agree with earthspins and avwalters. As you get older, still care but keep developing your eclectic interests and self. It is nice to look good but not obsess and this is something I remind myself of, also.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Young women are often trained to put more energy into how they present than into who they are. It’s a sad place to get stuck, especially because it manifests as accepting the world view of a shallow and immature male. As if, our value were measured entirely by that sorry standard. Nothing is more tragic than an aging woman, who has adopted and internalized such a standard and who clings, desperately to the accessories of that measure.
    Far better to live from the inside out–to engage fully in those things that interest you, so that you will always be engaged and interesting. That woman will still ‘have it,’ no matter what. If you really are, who you are, you can always play dress-up from time to time. If you never found who you are, dress-up will be all that you have.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Some people mean it as a compliment. Some genuinely good, nice (male) people I know. But during that scenario at the party back then, in my youth, I remember thinking that the comments bugged me. I just couldn’t figure out why.

    I’m older and wiser now.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I looked him in the eye and in my best ‘teacher voice’ said, “I’m going to need for you to take your seat, sir.”
        Off he went, tail between his legs and sat quietly for the rest of the class period.
        I still occasionally wonder what he thought his comment would elicit…?

        Liked by 1 person

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