Look in the mirror. Does the person you see match the person you feel like on the inside? How much stock do you put in appearances?
I’ll be straight with you; I don’t like looking in the mirror, as I hate how I look.
Sometimes when I do it, I don’t even recognise myself which is, as you can imagine, pretty unnerving, but a lot of times in the past, I’ve been grateful for the way my appearance has protected me.
Because, if my face is not animated or smiling, I can look a bit severe/intimidating.
Not out of choice, but a combination of genetics, shitty karma, desire for self protection, gambolling paranoia and a sharp whack with the ugly stick tends to mean I can emanate a certain ‘Get the fuck away from me or suffer the consequences!’ vibe, if you will.
A black guy who was trying to chat me up a few years ago, told me confidentially in amused tones, that when he’d seen me before, he’d thought I was racist. When I asked why, he said I looked like a racist. What does a racist look like? You, he replied. Strangely enough he never did get into my knickers but hopefully this example will illustrate that I don’t exactly have the angelic visage of J Lo or the sweet girl next door looks of Holly Willoughby. More like the stern, patrician appearance of Maggie Thatcher, alas.
But my scary exterior, like antibiotics, didn’t just see off dangerous infiltrators (arseholes, sexists, bullies and bitches), but also the good folk. Like timid but lovely potential pals, soul sisters and, last but not least, potential life partners. 😦
And now that I’m working on trying to be more open, friendly and accepting, the ever-so-helpful ageing process is colluding with the menopause and my dastardly karma and offering me jowls, dragging down the corners of my mouth and thinning my face, none of which scream ‘lovely, warm person, with a heart of gold and so much love to give’, fiendish bastards that they are.
And just to add insult to injury, I am also cursed with looking like a ‘lady’, which is what a lot of people refer to me as, especially when they don’t know me. Which despite what you think, isn’t a compliment, as it means they think I’m rather straight, formal and foreboding, which could not be further from the truth.
Because whilst my dubious exterior hides, yes, a life long depressive with serious issues, it also masks a die hard wind up merchant, with a blistering sense of humour, a love of mischief, and, at times, the irresistible impulse to behave like a cross between Jim Carrey, Joan Rivers and a five year old after too many e-numbers.
People forget that middle aged women were once young and in their youth, have probably behaved worse than they did, and let’s face it, my generation ruled with regard to shocking a nation, so anything done nowadays in the name of rebellion is tedious and derivative as far as I’m concerned, hence I love encountering young pseudos who try and shock me as they always go away red in the face, with a rather profane flea in their ear.
On the plus (and I suppose minus) side, not too many people see me nowadays, so when I need to interact with the Great British public, I find myself trying to dress accordingly to fit in,hence don’t end up getting chased into the nearest train station like the Elephant Man.
Going to the supermarket? Scruff out, keep head down.
Going dancing? Wear something youngish, but not mutton. Speak as quietly as possible so as not to be heard over the din, then I won’t be asked awkward questions like ‘What do you do for a living?’
Meeting people from my past? Not that this has happened yet, but when I does I will try and concoct something that screams happiness, fulfilment, spiritual enlightenment and success which may involve smiling continuously, wearing a bindi and going barefoot whilst adorned in designer brands (from eBay) and leaping around with a bit of chiffon.
Yesterday I went on a mad mission to hunt down a coat (more on that later) in a smart part of town, so had to raid my old wardrobe and wear something tasteful/expensive and look every inch of the ‘successful’, stylish, monied (ish) senior exec that I once was, and ended up in a very expensive shop negotiating with the sales manager over the price of a cashmere coat. Thank the Lord I bit down my urge to seal the deal and walked away with this very pricey prize, but there is no doubt that this woman totally bought my act and had no idea that I was half mad and down on my uppers, about to go on benefits.
So, to my mind, whilst someone’s appearance can be indicative of who they are, you would be a fool to put too much stock into such things, especially as despite all my different guises and ageing fizzog, no matter how I look or what I’m wearing, this picture actually illustrates who I really am.
Think about this next time you see an ageing harridan, a fat, overprivileged banker, a hooded youth or blonde Barbie’d bimbo and try and hold back your misgivings and prejudices.
All you are privy to at that moment in time is the vehicle, not the driver.
Let the light of who you are shine in your eyes, and judge lest no ye be judged.
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