Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Fat Black and Weird, you have found your people.

One of our homies here at Chez Shannon has some concerns.

Mainly she is concerned about aging, being a weird fat Black lady.

First of all. welcome to the fold my homie.

You are officially in your 30s.

Let's talk about aging.

I personally have no beef with aging. I'm human, I'm mortal. I'm gonna age. Things change and frankly I think it is a vast waste of time, energy and money fighting aging tooth and nail as we're told to do.

If nobody has told you, you don't have to look 21 forever. You don't have to come into your 30s looking "better" than ever.

You really don't.

Most of the super youthful people who are held up as role models for us honestly have a lot of things most of us do not.

  1. Enormous amounts of income which translates to the best of dermatologists, plastic surgeons, products etc.
  2. Enormous amounts of time to devote to the things above.
  3. They get paid to look "youthful"
  4. They have armies of stylists for hair, clothes etc etc.
So let that whole ideal go.

Now here's where things can get messy so let's get it out of the way.

If you want to fight aging with your time, money and resources you can if you wanna.

Here's the part where I say something that is difficult to work out sometimes. You can do whatever the fuck you want but you don't have to do what our culture tells you to do.

It sounds like a very simple distinction but to put it into practice (oh HI self esteem and fat acceptance) is really hard. Also sometimes it's nice to just hear that you have the option.

Now let's move along.

Here is what I have found amazing about my 30s.

As much as I may have given no fucks previously, being firmly in my 30s has taught me that I give even less of a fuck. As I get older, I get tired. I don't have the energy to deal with a lot of the shit I had the energy to deal with in my 20s.

In my 20s I could sit and patiently explain why my make up is none of anyones business (go read this), or why it's not okay to do X thing but, as I get older that list narrows.

What that looks like for me is there are a lot of things that used to set me off into towering infernos of upset, don't really get me even sparked up anymore. I figured out that my time is finite, my energy is finite and I need to save my fucks for things I care about more.

The other thing that came along with all those fucks I seem to have lost, is that I am into fashion again. Not just into it, into buying and wearing whatever the fuck makes me feel fancy when I have the funds.

It is beyond liberating to look at my stack of Spring skirts, and see that they are not "age appropriate" nor are they particularly trendy, they aren't business like (because I am very blessed to have a job where as long as I wear pants, nobody cares for the most part), they are just pretty to me.

For me this is what my 30s is doing.

I feel like I look how I want to look. I am wearing black and purple extensions (soon to be switched out for a black white/grey/lavender color scheme), I wear my make up in ways that are often not day appropriate.

I don't give a fuck.

Here in my 30s I've learned that I care more about shaping my own universe and sharing said universe with you my homies, than I do changing the ENTIRE world. It doesn't hurt me so much to realize that no, I cannot change the ENTIRE world nor can I be who I am and be pleasing to the masses.

And that is okay.

I have learned that while I don't care about fighting aging, I care about pleasure.

For me that pleasure means I'm using some really wonderful products on my face, I spend a lot of time rubbing vari-scented items into my skin. 

Being in my 30s and now heading for my late 30s I have rediscovered that many of the things that fundamentally made me happy as a child, still make me happy and if I want to engage in them, I will.

So my homie, here's the thing.

You don't have to freak out about being in your 30s because our culture has told you to.

I'm going to assume since you've survived and you're doing things that you can adult pretty well.

You don't have to do fuck all to please anybody.

BB, do you want to dye your hair colors? Is that good with your job? Do it. If it's not good with your job, buy yourself some fabulous wigs.

You wanna wear some Pirate Lolita? Wear that shit.

You want to spend the rest of your natural life dressing like an S&M Clown with a glitter fetish? Do the damn thing.

Here is what I feel is important to do and learn in your 30s:

  1. What gives you pleasure? Cookies? Wigs? Shoes? Make up? Playing with your gender presentation? Sit down with yourself and figure out ways (even tiny ones if you need to) to infuse that pleasure into your day to day life. This is doubly important if you are poor or having some other real life shit going on.
  2. Understand and implement self care in your life. Even tiny bits. Do your nails, put lotion on your feet, eat a danish. You know you can, now is the time to put those things into daily use because you are important, your comfort is important.
  3. Get weird. You don't have to stop playing with things when you are not a child. Wear silver moonboots, buy a tiara at the dollar store, become a pool shark, play pinball until you have thums of steel, whatever. Take up competitive walking, get some dance dvds out at the library and jam out with your ham out. The point is, you know who you are and you are awesome at being who you are. Level up and keep yourself entertained.
Even if you don't fully know who you are, that's fine too. Being a grown up doesn't necessarily mean you have it all figured out. You don't, I don't, nobody does and that's okay.

What else?

Other general advice I think is good for everyone regardless of age and that can make aging easier on the body.

  1. Take vitamins. For most of us a good multi is enough. I take a good amount of vitamins because it makes me feel good, I don't get sick as often and this is awesome.
  2. Drink water. Stay hydrated. It's good for your skin, hair, nails, kidneys EVERYTHING.
  3. Ration your fucks. Pretend like how much you care and how much energy you put into anything is money and you only have a finite amount. If that means don't read comments, skip em. If that means letting go of websites or blogs that hurt you, girl bye. And remember, you don't have to give a fuck. 
  4. Remember that you are human and you're going to fuck something up sometime and that's okay. It happens. Learn how to apologize when needed. 
  5. Remember that you are not done baking yet. Human beings have the capacity to continue learning and doing things for a long ass time. Take advantage.
  6. Don't take yourself so seriously. Sometimes you do silly undignified things and it is perfectly okay to laugh at yourself. Make fun of yourself. Remember that you are not the knower of all the things nor are you SO important that laughing at yourself would cause some sort of time space vortex of doom.
And most important, learn to be nice to yourself.

Sometimes especially on bad days or when things are just full of bullshit, you need to be nice to yourself. 

Now on to another thing for a minute before I turn things over to the best crowd sourced knowledge base in the intertubes.

We know my 36th birthday is coming up and after some folks asked me about wishlists and stuff here's what I"m doing.

If you want to help give me present, come use my gofundme to help me get a shiny new tattoo. That's all I really want out of my birthday this year.

I'll be dropping a link in the sidebar if you want to come back to it.

Now, my homies.

Do you have any other advice for our friend?

Are you out of your 30s? Are you scared about aging too? Come on y'all.

Let's give our homie some support even if it's just a "oh shit me too".

Homo Out.



The Real Cie said...

When I hit 30, I was all freaked out about being so "ooooollllldddddd!"
If I could go back in time, I would slap myself upside the head for being such a shallow twit.
I was also dead smack in the middle of the yo-yo dieting, self-hate.
Unfortunately I didn't find out that I had type II bipolar (the more insidious and therefore more difficult to properly diagnose type of bipolar) until I was 38. While I try not to be a member of the "regret club," I feel like I could have been further along in life if this were discovered when I was 28, or better yet, 18. I'm still cleaning up messes I made when I was younger. And going to school in your forties is hard, unless you have someone who can help you to be able to work only part time, or you are going into a field where you can just take a class or two at a time.
It wasn't until I was 45 that I discovered Size Acceptance. Until then I was still "fat pigging" myself every time I looked in the mirror, weighing myself constantly, yo-yo dieting, and hating myself every time I failed. So, stop wasting time with that shit TODAY if you're still doing it.
The other thing I let myself do at 45 is have gray hair. I've been going gray since I was in my late 20's. I quit bleaching my hair because it was destroying it. I've thought about using henna, which is less destructive, but I don't really have time for such things.
Physically, I don't feel all that much different at nearly 50 than I did in my 30's. I have sciatica, but that's not age-specific. Anyone can get it, and it sucks at any age. I do notice that I can't run myself as hard and I do tire a little more easily. But with reasonably adequate rest, I'm good to go.
I assist the truly aged (in their 70's on up.) Aging at your age or even my age? It ain't no thing!

witchyvixen said...

When I was younger I had several older women tell me that once they hit their 40’s their lives got amazingly more enjoyable. Most of the time their kids (if they had them) were, if not grown, able to take care of themselves for the most part. They had become comfortable with their bodies and who they were on the inside. And the petty little shit that used to consume them just did not bother them anymore, most times didn't even register.

I couldn't image that. I was in the middle of the panic (it’s all going by so FAST!!!) and it was beyond me to think it someone could actually not be bothered by the way they looked or not be intimidated by what other people would think. I thought these women had just given up and were making themselves feel better about ageing. I thought they were blowing smoke up my young(er) ass. How could it be possible to not hate your looks and fight them every second of every day? How could you just ignore what other people thought of you?

I should look up each and every one of them this moment to apologize and tell them they were right. Only they wouldn't care, they knew they were right then and could give a shit about my opinion now! LOL

I would like to take my turn as a woman who will be 44 tomorrow and tell all of you younger people who read this: Honey, relax. I wish I had learned decades ago how little all our outsides really mean in the scheme of things. And what my elders said turned out to be true for me too. Once I hit my 40’s I just had so very few fucks left to give and not a single one to spare on physical aesthetics. Do I still play with make-up and hair color and clothes? Yes. But now I do it for ME, not you. I am what I am and I am still here motherfuckers. Every mark or so-called “flaw” on my body was hard earned and my own personalized badge of survival. Self-hate never got me anywhere but self-love has made all the difference. It takes a little time to learn but it gets easier to do with practice and feels so much better.

Subscribe To My Podcast