31 May 2006

Cloak of Invisibility

I'm sorry I have been kind of a bitch lately. First I make fun of a nice woman who wanted nothing more than to pray for my healing and THEN I take easy shots at baby names, managing to offend Elizabeth of Table for Five who is actually the LAST internet person I should be mean to, since we will be sharing a room at BlogHer and she will have the perfect opportunity to smother me in my sleep (which some will argue is long overdue anyway).

None of this is very appropriate behavior for an Enlightened Spiritual Master in Training (which we all are, IMO, not just me).

I am feeling a little out of sorts lately. Dinosaurish. I guess the baby name thing got to me because I am seeing me and all the Susans and Donnas and Cindys going the way that Ethels and Mabels and Pearls did before me. It is only natural, I suppose - someday soon Jennifers and Kristens and Stephanies will fade away too.

And aging is a kind of fading away. I remember being puzzled at my invisibility in my late 30's. An attractive young woman learns that her mere presence is enough to guarantee that she will be the center of attention. Her every bon mot is treated like a pearl of genuine wisdom by men and by quite a few women, too. Everyone wants to be around a pretty youth.

Then something happens. People just stop paying so much attention. At first it is merely puzzling, like a far-off sound that you can't quite identify. Then it becomes more and more obvious until it is like an anvil across the head: oh, I'm not ALL THAT anymore - even more so since I was only moderately good-looking to begin with.

Now as someone who is about to turn 45, my invisibility is almost complete. I can say and do the most outrageous things and I am greeted with either the mildest of curiosity or, more often, complete blankness. If I had behaved the same way at 23, the media would have been alerted.

In one way it is infuriating, in another it is a joy. I can see why single women my age end up with 45 cats - no one notices and stops them.

It is all a very good argument for developing some skills and inner resources beyond the physical. Physical beauty does guarantee some advantages, but being pretty is like being a professional athlete - most careers are not that long. The saddest thing is when people think that physical attractiveness is all they have to offer, and then try desperate measures to extend their physical talent far beyond its natural life.

The other side of the coin is all the wisdom you get from becoming older. With age really does come wisdom. Things seem so simple and obvious now.

The fabulous irony, of course, is that so few will listen. They will pay attention to Paris Hilton saying "It's hot" 4000 times before they will bother with a middle-aged woman's well-thought-out premise.

The good part about being almost 45 is that the irony is obvious and hilarious. It's hard to stay pissed off for long when the years have given me such a good sense of humor and an understanding of this amazing cosmic joke. Life is short, people. Laugh it up. And that is the last piece of advice this old hag is going to dispense tonight.


Anonymous said...

I'm listening.

Cristina said...

I'd rather be wise than beautiful. Not that YOU'RE not beautiful. I mean, I've never met you, but the point is that you DO seem wise and that is really more important that anything else. So I'm listening too...:)

Bamboo Lemur Boys Are Mean To Their Girls said...

I love your thoughts on this subject. As my BDay is coming up, it's been on my mind too.

'They will pay attention to Paris Hilton saying "It's hot" 4000 times before they will bother with a middle-aged woman's well-thought-out premise.'

-If it weren't so funny I'd be crying.-

Anonymous said...

Two fundamental problems, ma'am. Your sister is so beautiful, and every one says you two look alike...
I'm not saying, I'm just saying...
How are pearls made, anyhow?

Anonymous said...

I really enjoy your thoughts and what you share. You are not invisible to me.

Anonymous said...

i totally agree. at first the invisibility is frustrating, then aggravating, and finally it becomes refreshing.

Mama Duck said...

Awwww, not invisible at all.

Amy said...

I feel so old lately, with the young teachers my husband works with around us all the time. Some of the were BORN IN THE 80s.

Youth is fleeting and so is time. Three of my relatives died at 54 - my grandmother, and her two sons (my uncle and my dad). My life could be more than half over, so I try not to waste a single day.

Which of course, I do.

I really liked this post a lot. I hear about your blog a lot and this is my first visit. I'll be back. Soon.

SUEB0B said...

Thanks, everyone, for the comments.

Anonymous said...

"They will pay attention to Paris Hilton saying "It's hot" 4000 times before they will bother with a middle-aged woman's well-thought-out premise."

Sad but true and and on some level, relates to Supafine's "toxic culture" post.

Nonetheless, I am always rapt with attention, whether you want it or not :)

Debbie said...

you're a bright lady. this is quite a thought-provoking essay. I've been musing over similar things, lately. it's really nice to get your perspective.

thank you. :)

(and will I really be able to eventually laugh at the crappy stuff more easily than I find I'm capable of doing right now? really? 'cause that sounds very, very nice.)

SUEB0B said...

Yes, lildb, I can almost guarantee you it will become funnier. Or else there are stronger drugs for you.

Suzanne said...

I know this is wrong to point out, but I think Paris H. spells "hot" with two t's ("hott). Another reason to wonder why the hell people listen to her and not you (or others like you).

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