I keep reading things about “anti-aging” serums and “cures” for aging. I look at scrubs and potions and fillers and peels. All the ways I could change my face to look a little bit how it did about ten years ago. But probably also a little different too. I mean, even Cher couldn’t really Turn Back Time, although, Goddess knows, she tried. I love Cher.
And Cher is not timeless because of serums or surgery or acid peels or anything physical, but because she is CHER, HONEY. And no one else will ever come close to a thing like that, no matter what their cheekbones say. There is no actual cure for aging. I mean it’s the deal we get when we arrive here. It is the nature of time. We get to have a bit of it. Some more than others. And yeah, taking care of our bodies may supply us with more of it, and a more comfortable quality of it while we are here. But time, it passes. It does it’s relentless ticking away. Not because it is cruel or because its nature is to ravage. It does what it does because the great world spins. The forests grow and tangle, rock erodes, oceans lap up shorelines. Our skin may begin to parade around in its ravines of smiling, our knees might creak a bit and we might just get light brown spots right on our jawbone. I did. Two.
Some days I look in the mirror and I think about this and how each of these conditions has a remedy these days. I can get rid of the spots and fill up the ravines. And because I am a feminist and woman that deeply believes we each have the right to do as we see fit with our bodies, I am certainly all for women making whatever choice they want to be physically comfortable in a world that does everything it can to fuck us on that count. I say fuck that world right back, and if easing the crease of your brow provides you with a true jolt of unbridled joy, HAVE IT, GIRL. Have all the true joy you can.
But I remember a beautiful day in 2009 here in San Francisco. Ginger and I headed down to the SFMOMA to see the Richard Avedon(RIP) retrospective, a massive collection merging beauty, fashion, death, class, and TIME sprawling in black and white across several galleries. I moved along the walls of politicians, drifters, actresses and models wanting to live with those photographs. I wanted to set up a cot and a cool pitcher of water, kiss Ginger in the crook of her neck and then lock everything our for a week. Just me and Richard and his muses all up in there. His father dying. The dustblown strangers he’d never see again. Marilyn. Janis. Twiggy. Something about this show was the last. This man’s work was so iconic, just before and into the age of Photoshop. But here were enormous photographs of people who would not be airbrushed, their pores splayed out on walls like butterflies pinned into shadow boxes.
I had almost forgotten what an aging beautiful face looked like. The face of a FAMOUS person who was allowed to age. I just realized there would never be a show like this again. Real film, no pixels. Faces with their particular divots and stray eyebrows. Humanity lined and gorgeous with faces doing the things that faces had done for eons. I thought then I would do my best to just get old. I went into crone training and a few years later gave up with the hair dye. Gave up potions and serums and what not. I’m not saying I won’t freak out one day and show up here with raven hair and a facelift BECAUSE I MIGHT. That could be a physical adventure I choose for myself. But even then, the truth is, there is no “cure” for aging. I hope all of us stay in the place of knowing there is no fight against time, there is really only being with it until we make our way along to the next thing. And then my friends, in dust and in dust, we are finished here.
Just for fun, here are a few other ladies further along on their path than I am. I’ve been following them for some time and I adore them all.