There are a few issues I want to write about but I'll stick with this one for now. Maybe more later. Maybe much later. Who knows.
But about birthdays, it kinda goes along with my frustration with "the media" (insert ominous music here). For instance, as a woman in her thirties, I'm not really a target audience for a heap of stuff. I mean, yes, I do have a big red target painted on me just like everyone else does; but it seems to me that the general consensus about how to get my financial support hinges on my pre-programmed inability to answer anything but "NO" to the following questions. In fact, "the media" (insert ominous music here) is desperately trying to remind me that the only answer to these questions IS, after all, "NO".
1) are you pretty enough?
2) are you skinny enough?
3) are you sexy enough?
4) are you rich enough?
5) are you young enough?
6) do you appear to be happy enough?
7) have you bred enough?
8) do you save enough?
9) do you spend enough?
10) do you care enough?
and the list goes on and on, with "are you smart enough" being somewhere down in the 200's. When we're tripping our way into teenagerhood, the first three questions are all that matter - and of course the answer Must. Always. Be. No. (or you are a conceited slutty whore bitch and will be shunned and/or ignored for eternity. ETERNITY!)
Then as we get older, the other questions start to get planted. And of course, we must always answer "NO" or we are wicked, controlling, conceited whore-bitches who nobody likes. MMMM. Delicious social standards.
And sure, as we grow into our own personalities we learn where we can draw the lines and cut out all but the most deeply rooted confidence-crushers. But we can never escape the questions. It's online all the time, with closeups of flabby bellies or browning teeth, and the perfectly manicured counterpoint showing us how good we could have it if only we bought X Y or Z product. You've heard my tirades on that before so I won't go into more detail about how much THAT irritates me.
Somehow we have converted all of this cure-all energy and question-answering into a single, solitary plan that involves one mantra: Do Not Get Old.
Egad, that's a horrible thought. Sure it's fun to be a bendy 16 year old, but most of them are horny little idiots. Yeah, it was cool to be 7 years old, but I like being able to choose what I eat for dinner and I ADORE not having to do page after page of multiplication tables.
Do Not Get Old. Old-ness, by far, is the toothiest nightmare out there. Birthdays - oh gawd not a birthday! I'm getting older? OH NO! How Weak of me! How STUPID! How could I have been so careless as to get older? *swoon*
but wait a minute - there's a name for things that don't get old: DEAD.
You're telling me that the only option for this life is perfection acheived by death? Well, it makes sense. Look at how perfect our memories of the young-dead are! They don't get old. They don't go to nice dinners and hug their nieces either.
Okay so maybe we don't have to DIE, we can just inject death into our faces and scrub it into our skins and pump it up into our colons.
Wow. Wait... What? No thanks.
Getting older means being alive. And after every great tragedy and every near miss, that's what we all remember right? That at least we're still alive? Like, you never see the woman who gets pulled from the burning building screaming that the firemen leave her babies in there so that they don't have to get old, right?
SO what's the big deal? The big deal is that we've handed our bodies and our ability to approve of our own bodies over to strangers who want our money. The big deal is that we're letting strangers decide what's good for us, what's right for us, and what makes us happy. The big deal is that we should be proud of getting older - think of the thousands of people alive today who won't be alive tomorrow. Being alive right now is an amazing feat. Being alive right now is kinda like shaking hands with God (or all of them) and saying "check it out, dude, I'm still here!"
Proof of being alive is change. Change happening to our minds and bodies. Some of it sucks, like aches and pains and sickness. Some of it is cool - like getting stronger and learning more and getting little stripes of silver hair and knowing that you're finally smarter than those horny little idiots in highschool. WHY do we let people tell us that these things are things to be ashamed of? Shouldn't we be just as proud of our silver hair as we were of our boobs? Shouldn't every new crease be as exciting as four first words? our first steps?
Being alive means being a survivor. Some have to fight harder for it than others, and in the end, nobody lives forever. Let's try to find a way to celebrate the journey we're all on together, instead of tearing eachother to shreds everytime something that "the media" says looks like weakness comes along.
Have a birthday coming up? Celebrate it. You're older! Congratulations! Billions of people aren't. You are still part of this earthly timeline and up to your nose in this bubbling human soup and for better or worse you're still a part of it. You're amazing. You're wonderful (and there are loads of other people who are getting older at exactly the same rate as you are. so, at least you'll always know, they're next)