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7.15.2012

VORACIOUS VANITY




“I am vain, or once was, and one of my vanities was to feign that I was not.”

Confession time; I am vain. Oh, I try to disguise it, deflect it, play down its place of prominence in my life, but it is there irregardless of my willingness to admit it or not.

I don't really remember being overly vain when I was young. At times I was insecure and unsure of my looks which is a morphed form of vanity. That though is something most kids, teens and young adults traverse through en route to coming into themselves. But this obsessive vanity I have presently is disturbing, unsettling and yet common. My husband has this affliction too, a fact that we both discovered as we confessed our vanity to one another today.

It would seem the older I get the more time, work and energy it takes to get lesser and more fleeting results. For instance, our metabolism slows as we age thus taking more exercise and less caloric intake to maintain the status quo of our bodies. That is just depressing. Gravity is a principle at work in life all around us, bodies included. But when it begins to take hold of our skin and flesh, eventually dragging us to the grave, its ultimate goal, we flail like a four-year old thrown off the high dive into the deep end of the pool.

My two sisters and my daughter have always teased me that I will fight aging with all I have in me. That I will age kicking and screaming and fighting. I really hate to admit that they are right, but they are. I have begun the fight.

It really goes against most of who I am to be vain. My simpleton, pared down ways don't shout vanity. What I am finding though is that aging hurtles at you like a meteorite from the sky. Vanity is a form of self-protection, self-preservation from the meteorite headed toward us. Described in that way it makes vanity seem well, less overtly vain.

My sisters and I were talking about vanity some years back, and if we could have any plastic surgery procedure done what would it be. I think one of my sisters said she would have liposuction (what women wouldn't!). I can't recall back then what I said, but now at 46 years old, I would have anything that has fallen pulled back up and staple-gunned. I don't need to be Dolly Pardon, but I would like what is naturally mine back in its original place and packaging.

Of vanity, I couldn't have said it better myself...

“Vanity is becoming a nuisance, I can see why women give it up, eventually. But I'm not ready for that yet.”
Margaret Atwood, Cat's Eye

“There comes a time when you look into the mirror and you realize that what you see is all that you will ever be. And then you accept it. Or you kill yourself. Or you stop looking in mirrors.”
Tennessee Williams

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