Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Wrinkles in the Plot

My brother-in-law is a part of the coaching staff for a Divison 1 college football team, and at the recent bowl game they went to (and WON), all the coaches received IPad minis.  I offered to buy his old IPad off of him and he ended up just giving me the mini despite my protests.  He's a generous guy! I always said that if I got an IPad it would be because someone gave it to me - I could never justify the expense otherwise.  But really, I've loved this thing since I got my hands on it.  It's like a huge IPhone and the games Gareth can play are great, but I do have one complaint.

The camera is...too good.  I keep trying to take a "selfie" and deleting the picture because of the WRINKLES UNDER MY EYES.  Seriously - when did I get these?  I keep looking back through my pictures trying to figure out when these lines got so deep and obvious.  Gray/White hair doesn't faze me and I'm actually pretty psyched for my upcoming (December is upcoming, right?) birthday so that I can be out of my 20's and into my 30's.  Age really does help in my profession, especially considering my gender. But these lines - these lines are freaking me out.  To the point that I'm wondering what can be DONE about them - you know, medically.  I don't like what they are communicating.

Don't get me wrong: I don't resent aging.  I'm not trying to "recover" any kind of lost youth, I'm not regretting "things left undone."  Judging from the lives of my parents and many other older adults I know, every year of life is a chance to do exciting and meaningful things; I don't assume youth equates to vitality.

What I'm afraid of is that these lines under my eyes may be communicating something OTHER than age - I'm afraid that they are communicating Weariness.  I'm afraid they're communicating Suffering.  I'm afraid that they are preemptively appearing and thus whispering to the unknowable crowds around me that I am bearing heavy burdens.  These wrinkles feel like spoilers, telling private stories to people I don't know.

In looking back through photos, these wrinkles seem to appear after my son was born, which makes sense.  His birth was trauma free, but the days afterwards were not.  And there's the fact that he didn't sleep through the night until he was close to 18 months old - and then stopped sleeping all together when Cliff went to jail.  And didn't sleep well again till he was 2.    But I know many women with more children than I who seem to have escaped the deepening lines under their eyes.

I fear that this is more than some kind of genetic predisposition towards early aging - I fear that Cliff's betrayal and incarceration have actually ETCHED themselves onto my physical body.  I resent that so much.  There is PRIVACY in having invisible wounds.  There is PROTECTION in complicated situations that can be hidden in plain view.  But these wrinkles?  They are violating my need to KEEP ALL YOU STRANGERS OUT OF MY INNER LIFE!

This is probably an overreaction, a psychic leak in my otherwise strong mental barriers that help to contain my personal brand of crazy.  But it also may be a part of that continuing struggle I fight, the struggle to be perceived as MORE than what has been done to me, as more than how I am coping in the midst of tragedy. I'm not just a wronged-wife, not just a single-mom, not just a tired parent, not just a Christian minister.
I'm more, I'm more, I'm more!

But these's hard to remember that I'm more when I see them.

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