Sunday, June 28, 2009

Your face

I just did something I hadn't done for a very long time: I Googled myself. First I saw a terrible picture of me, God only knows where it came from, and then several pictures of beauty queens half my age who share my name. Frankly, I am not well represented by any of those images.
I realized, then, that I don't have a picture of myself anywhere. There is not one here, nor one on my Facebook page (that's a new thing), and not even a portrait on my website. Frankly, I don't trust cameras, never did. This drawing I did a while back represents what I really believe about our face: it is not contained within itself, it spills forth through our words, our smile, our kindness, our impatience, and our attitude.Our face is a representation of who we are, and that's not just about two eyes, a nose, and a mouth.
People have told me that I am photogenic, I translate that to "lucky". Women are, after all, valued by their looks, and only as I grow older do I understand how tenuous that value can be.
We live in an age-ist, sexist society. . .ah, now I'm sounding feminist . . .and women know this personally, men only agree with it when they are intellectually savvy or it somehow touches them on a personal level (like someone saying, "Hey, what's an old man like you doing with a 25 year old girl?").
It's kind of a game for me, I think, because I look quite good for my age. Being a dancer, I stay in shape. I pay attention to Olay commercials, wear sunblock and moisturizer, and night cream, etc., etc. I walk that line between "I'm an intellectual, an artist, and a writer, I don't have to worry about what men want to see. I know that the male gaze has been the controlling factor in advertising, fine art, and pop culture for centuries, and I'm smart enough to be in charge of my own self-esteem. And on the other side of that fine line I live with the woman I've been, young enough to get attention, second looks, and long gazes. Sure, they felt good (most of the time), but the depth of personhood I have now, after forty (okay, after 50) could not be traded for anything.
I will put a photo on my Facebook page as soon as I figure out how to do it, and then I'll even put one here too . . .just as soon as I get one that looks. . .good enough.