The Aging Duckling

In college mid 20s probably. Most of my pictures involve me not looking at the camera.

This is me at 40 looking terrified of the camera. I am really scared of the camera okay.

Crisis, pretty much describes my mind state for the last few days/weeks. I guess you could say I am going through a dark night of the soul. Purging. Trauma. Ego Death. The delicate balance between collapse and surrender. At the moment the only way I know how to let go is to beat myself down until I am too exhausted to resist. I don’t know if I am a sadist or a masochist. Maybe I am both. So what, you may wander, is bothering me specifically?

Well to start with there’s childhood trauma. I am really tired of dealing with this particular trauma and I have sincerely tried to heal these issues and move forward with my life. Basically it is feelings of insecurity. I don’t feel safe. I am still clinging to the side of the pool for dear life, metaphorically. There is other things too: I am afraid to hurt the people I love and afraid that the love I have to offer is somehow tainted. I don’t feel worthy. I don’t feel pretty enough, young enough, successful enough, good enough, sane enough, reliable enough, interesting enough, talented enough. Enough period.

Speaking of young enough. I am having some type of midlife crisis. I have always struggled with changes to my physical appearance for better or worse. I think it is because of the disassociation. I don’t see a gradual progression of changes but sudden, inexplicable changes. Which might be the reason I don’t wear makeup. I need to see my real face, not another external face plastered on top of my own. My dad was a pedophile and misogynist. He was really cruel in his judgements of women. Adult women particularly. I admit I have read about dating when you are 40 and it is basically the same diatribe he fed to me as a kid. One article said women are past their prime at 18. Presumably the article was written by a prebuscent boy. I hope so anyways because if a grown up of either gender wrote that article it is heart-breaking, not for me but for them. Personally I think you can be beautiful at any age. At least, I have never really cared much about the age of other people. So why does my age matter so much to me? When I was in college I used to subscribe to the Oprah Magazine. Which was probably geared toward middle-aged women but I liked it. Anyhow it had a collection of beautiful women. Older women. Each woman had a small biography accompanying her portrait. These women were in there 70s and they had such a sense of self, such confidence. They were gorgeous. I had this weird idea that I was going to get older and develop some sort of peace with my appearance. That I would shed the crippling insecurities of my youth as I got to know myself better. This hasn’t happened yet. The parts of my body I am not insecure about: my thumbs, my vagina, my feet most of the time, my nose which my daughter gives me hell for several times a week. I think a crooked nose is sexy (my nose is crooked and angular from the side from the front it’s a different nose). Truthfully though I always feel both old and young at the same time. I am not as different from myself at 20 as I expected to be (I mean internally not externally, I am definitely different externally lol). I am still me you know?

There is of course the whole financial insecurity thing. Speaking of which I’ve got an apprenticeship in a second hand store. They will be accessing my ability to work. They have many different departments. I chose to work in books. I was assigned to textiles.

I am worried about my daughter whose having a tough time right now, a really tough time.

I am still trying to work out what unconditional love means. What are twinflames?

I want to be painted in the nude by an artist who appreciates my very human figure.

I know I want to love and be loved. I know I am one of those sappy, hopeless romantic sorts. I write poetry so I am really obsessed with words. Rather than grand romantic gestures I prefer humor and small, thoughtful, and yes sometimes idiotic gifts. I don’t want a diamond ring. I’d rather honestly have a bubblegum machine ring. I don’t know why. I think it’s sweeter or simpler or something. I want something playful and fun. They say you get pickier with age. Here’s my list.

I don’t care that much about looks this (includes weight), money, status, or age (to a point obviously I think preference wise I am 25 up to infinity)

A good sense of humor/playful/silly/sweet

Loves me for who I am

A good lister (because I talk a lot)

A willingness to communicate

Honesty/they are real with me

Passionate and yet somehow still chill (this is where I get picky. How can they be passionate, a wee bit obsessive, and have a voracious directed toward me sexual appetite and still be laidback???! How can they be all-consumed with me and not be jealous as hell? See I haven’t worked this bit out at all.)

They reciprocate my feelings and willing to learn about intimacy with me because I am still learning

Stuff like that. Basically I wanted reciprocated love. I am probably not a casual dater and to be fair this has nothing to do with age because I never was one. I am basically like a baby duckling I imprint and so I literally don’t know how to think of anyone but the person I like. Which probably makes me needy and clingy. I can own that. Maybe after I work out these insecurity issues I will be less duckling and more swan.

Basically my current mission is just to learn how to relax and to heal. Also I am tired of pursuing/chasing whatever. I am going to do my best to just be open. To go with the flow. Let the universe decide.

5 responses to “The Aging Duckling

  1. I’ve come to believe that insecurity will always be with me. Some days, its voice is softer and other days its stronger. I try to sit with it and listen. I try to remind it of past times when I have succeeded. Like when I finished a story/poem that I enjoyed. And when someone has told me they liked a story/poem that I wrote. Insecurity and anxiety are parts of me, and I’m getting better about my acceptance of that. I wish you well on your journey of, as you put it, “how to relax and to heal.” For me, those are ongoing. I embrace the successes and respect the times that I fall short, for they make me appreciate the successes that much more.

    • Thank you so much Dave for your wise and compassionate words. You are right of course it is a journey and we should be patient and gentle with ourselves just as we would be with a loved one. It takes a lifetime to get to know yourself.

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