Tag Archive | youth

Mirror of the Past


Mirror, mirror on the wall  e5d7d-mein1969
Why can’t I look
Like I did when I was 16?

We women prefer the mirror of the past, I was told today by a friend on Facebook. We become insecure as we grow older. Men age gracefully. Or, we accept that men grow older. Their seasoned faces show signs of character. We women show wrinkles and sagging skin. We are jowly old crones over time, maturing into bosomy, flabby, ample fullness.

The person who commented that we women prefer the mirror of the past was not being unkind. He was trying to tell me that there is no need to hide behind a profile picture taken when I was 16. He thinks I look better now in photos of my mature fullness than in those of my girlhood. At least that’s what he said. He’s a person of great depth, so I have to believe that he means what he says.

What do I think? Am I better now – me, fully ripened fruit? I look at my photo here, taken when I was 16. How could I possibly believe that I have improved? I, who am hurtling frantically and relentlessly toward old age.

I look again, and remember. I remember the truth. Back then, I believed I was hideous. I was a mess, a nightmare of insecurity. I wasn’t tall enough; my thighs were too fat, my hair was frizzy; I wanted a model’s cheekbones and found none at all in my face. My lips were too thin, my mouth too small, my upper arms bulgy, my nose enormous, my waist too large, my calves manlike, my limbs too short. I am not making up any of this. These are the thoughts that I had about myself then, at age 16. These are the thoughts that I have about myself now, only amplified over more than 40 additional years and many more pounds.

I remember thinking back then – why can’t I look like anyone else, anyone but me? Why can’t I be anyone but me?

No, I haven’t improved. My perception of myself hasn’t changed. I will forever dislike the present that is me. I think my friend is correct in one regard though. I do prefer the mirror of the past, because the alternative, this real aging woman, is so difficult to face. Whether all women feel the same, I can’t say. I am aware of a few who are more confident about themselves than I’ve ever been. But I would guess that most of us look to our pasts when thinking of our beauty. Perhaps there are even some men who wish the reflection in their own mirrors could record an earlier, more fit time. Perhaps we would all readily hide in the shadows of our past.

Dedicated to the memory of my old friend


Once upon a time in a long forgotten land, I had one phone number and an email address, both of which I shared with my entire immediate family…

A couple of amazing things happened to me over the past weeks. First, under pressure from a well-meaning sibling and my daughter, who both insisted that I MUST open a Facebook account or be forever excluded from all communication with them, I started a #%!!#! account. I struggled my way through the setup, which included having to delete several mistakes (you don’t want to know how many) then added a fan page for my book, PERSEPHONE IN HELL. You can find a link to my Facebook page on this site – please take a look at it, it was so much work – I’m begging you! Several hundred grey hairs later, I now have three email accounts, a Facebook page, a Twitter account, and this blog. Plus a smartphone that bleeps and buzzes and texts me all day long. I now have to bring my cell into the can with me so I won’t miss the latest blinking green light that indicates an important contact is attempting to be made. Did I forget anything? Today a so-called friend told me that I should set up an Instagram account too. I officially have no time for any other occupation or avocation, such is my preoccupation with this social media world.

But on to the good news. I’ve been discovered! No, not by Houghton Mifflin or Harper Collins or a Hollywood agent. Discovered by an entity far more significant than a mere publisher or movie producer. I’ve been discovered by my high school class reunion committee!

They found me on Facebook. And here, I’d successfully hidden from them for all these many (too many to count or admit to) years. Somehow, they hunted me down. They found me out. They called my name and surprise (this is the other amazing thing), I am pleased. Every emotion in the world has run through me since a nice woman named Alice found me out. I am humbled and shocked by the attention they’ve shown me. I’m amazed they remember me, that some think fondly of me; that some even like me. Who knew? I didn’t. I spent many years being scared of my past. I blocked out as much as I could until the emotions of my teenage years came screaming back in my writing.

In this passage from my novel, Ancient Glory returns after 40 years to end the story. Glory the teenager has had a rough time of it. She believes that everyone hates her. She’s lost all her friends and the love of her older sister, and thinks that even Mother Nature is out to get her. She despises herself. She needs the comfort and support of knowing that she will somehow survive. She gets it from Ancient Glory…

“And scars will lighten, they’ll pale unless you keep rubbing at them. Best to let them be, let them fade away in their own good time, in their own difficult and savage, cruelly dissonant way. Wait long enough, they’ll fade – it’s the law of nature.”

That’s what I did. I let enough time pass from my troubled youth for my scars to fade. They have lightened, so much so that when I got the call from that nice woman named Alice, I could answer with a hesitant but happy heart.

With many thanks to my old chums.

This posting is dedicated to the memory of my old friend Tom, who tragically could not find the strength to let enough time pass for his own wounds to heal. Tom, if only we could go back in time…