A few days ago I sat on the floor of my closet with my roommate’s cat and cried because I’m never going to get any prettier than this.

I’m never going to have more collagen in my skin than I do now. Prematurely gray hair runs in my family. Gravity has been my enemy for years now, and unless a few limbs fall off, I’ll never be 120 pounds again. And, of course, we live in a society that assigns value to women based on their level of attractiveness, which is linked to youth and fertility.

George Clooney is a silver fox; Renee Zellweger is a punch line.

I tried to explain this through the sniffles and the soppy cat to my boyfriend, who rushed in when he heard me crying because he is caring like that. He was concerned, and then just confused, because he’s a logical guy and this seemed a totally illogical thing to be upset about. Besides, he said, I would be “a really hot old lady.” Which made me feel better and worse at the same time.

I know I shouldn’t be upset about eventually getting older. It’s an opportunity and a blessing that not everybody gets. My family knows that better than most. My maternal grandfather, from whom I inherited my chin, died when he was 28 (plane crash). My dad was 59. I’m an alcoholic, which increases my various risk factors. I spent two solid years firebombing my liver. I should be so lucky as to perish ancient and wizened.

And yet, the waves of lousy emotions come in and out like an unwanted, illogical tide.

I’m not sure who to blame for these thoughts, but I’m pretty sure it’s the guy making money off hair dye and “anti-aging” creams. It certainly wasn’t my parents, who did a good job raising us to care about two parts of our appearance – keeping clean and being appropriately dressed for the occasion – but other than that, took their own silver hairs in plenty of stride.

It’s not that men don’t worry about going bald – I’m sure plenty of them do – but they can look at the stars and reassure themselves that they will look like Patrick Stewart or Bruce Willis. (For the record, my boyfriend would be a Patrick Stewart.) But where are my gray-haired leading ladies? Daniel Craig is 51 and is going to make at least one more upcoming Bond movie. The probable Bond girl, according to the internet, is 31-year-old Ana de Armas. (Even her name sounds like a Bond girl name!) Somehow I don’t think the reversal would be green-lit by the studios. Which is a shame, because Angela Bassett should absolutely star as a talented, morally gray super-spy who jets around to exotic locations with one of the Hemsworth brothers (not that I’ve thought about it or anything).

Maybe it’s because, like most Mainers, I don’t like change. My body was pretty much static from the time I was 16 until I was 24. Then my dad got sick and to cope, I ate and drank my feelings. I was up to 170 at one point. When I quit drinking (and got really into protein bars), I bounced around to about 150, on a 5-foot-3 frame, which is where I am today.

My face is softer than it used to be, which is odd, because I’m harder. I look more like my mom now (that part is nice). The shadow of a double chin lurks – the same double chin that can be seen on an old photograph of one of my great-great-grandmothers. If I can age even half as gracefully as the women of my family have, then I should be set. Of course, my mom isn’t old. So as long as she isn’t old, I certainly can’t be. Right? Right.

After I finished my little crying jag, and the cat had wiggled out of my clutches, I went to the mirror to mop off my ruined eye makeup. (It’s a strange look, being sad and covered in a light layer of glitter). And I looked at myself, at my dad’s nose and my mom’s chin. And I swear, I thought to myself, “One day, far, far off in the future, my mother won’t be here anymore. But my double chin still will be.”

Victoria Hugo-Vidal is a Maine millennial. She can be contacted at:

[email protected]

Twitter: mainemillennial


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