There are many things in life that I just don’t care about anymore. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m older, now being in my early fifties, or if it has to do with having faced my own mortality as a cancer survivor, but quite frankly, things that I used to find embarrassing no longer evoke that type of response from me. For instance:
- Pubic hair showing at my bikini-line. There was a time I would have died of humiliation if that Sicilian Situation as I’ve always called it, made itself visible in my bathing suit. Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to scare any children or anything, but if some of that is growing back and is visible along my bikini-line, then so be it. We all have it!
- Nipples. I have spent most of my life attempting to conceal those little things. I was especially concerned if they were visible if I was cold. Why? I was brought up to believe that some things were private. Thanks goodness, I’ve really evolved on this one, as I often choose not to wear bras because they cause me great discomfort due to my lung surgeries. Look, you know I have them, what’s the big deal?
- Having perfect hair. I was one of those girls who washed her hair every day. Wash it, blow dry it, style it with some kind of hot curler or flat iron. Every day. I did this until I was in my mid-forties. Then I began to appreciate the day-after hairstyle–not perfect, but okay. Honestly, I wish my hair always looked as good as it does the day I wash it, but the day after is good enough. Let’s face it, although I think of my self as attractive, I won’t be on the cover of Vogue any time soon. Who else is going to care if I don’t wash my hair daily? Day-after hair is under rated.
- Shaving my legs every day. I was obsessed with shaving my legs. I have light skin and dark hair. If I shave my legs in the shower in the morning, I have 5 o’clock shadow! There were many times in which I shaved in the morning, and then shaved again if I was going out in the evening! I couldn’t stand the feel of stubble and I was always in search of the perfect razor. I even tried using Nair and shaving it off in the hope that it would grow in slower. It never worked–I have turbocharged hair follicles. Now, if I shave every other day, I’m fine with it. I’m not sure if this is because I can’t see it unless I put my reading glasses on, or because I live in a 55 and older community, and I know nobody else can see it.
- Having my makeup fully done before leaving the house. I was one of those girls who wouldn’t be caught dead without her makeup, especially eye makeup. At minimum: liner, mascara, concealer, foundation, blush and lip gloss. All to walk the dog or go to the supermarket. While I don’t love walking around au natural, I don’t feel embarrassed if I bump into a neighbor while out and about without my makeup on! After 53 years, I guess I’ve become accustomed to this puss.
- Passing gas in public. It happens. Of course, never intentionally, but sometimes it just sneaks out and catches you by surprise! Once again, I spent my life believing that some things are private. I spent hours of my life reprimanding my children who thought it was so humorous; I couldn’t understand how they had no shame! Now, however, there are times, when a sneeze or a cough can simply allow an audible escape and, well, what’s a girl to do? Sometimes, just changing positions, like getting out of a chair, can cause an obvious toot or two. The way I look at it, at least I’m not crapping myself. Yet.
- Having boogers in my nose hairs. Oh, I always try to catch a glimpse in the mirror after blowing my nose to make certain that it’s all clean, but sometimes I’m not in a position to check. There have been times when I did have something visible in my nose only to be found when I arrived home, or checked a mirror in the ladies room at a restaurant. Absolutely humiliating, “How long has it been there? Who have I been talking to?” I remember sitting across from a local congressman at a community meet-and-greet. He had a huge 70s era, porn star type of very dark mustache. Laying right on top was a huge ball of snot. I couldn’t focus on anything he said; I was so mortified for him! All I could think about was how he would feel when he got home and realized that he had a little hitchhiker with him all evening! I guess I was traumatized after that and was always checking my own nose. These days, I realize there are worse things that could happen– we all need to wipe our noses.
- Having visible mustache hair. Another curse of the dark-haired Italian with light skin. Over the years, I’ve tried many methods to either get rid of mustache hair or make it less visible. Some work well, others make it worse. For instance, using one of those personal trimmers only makes the edges of the hair coarser so that as it grows in it feels rough. Not a great feel for your upper lip. Waxing is the best, although it’s painful. I’ve even had my skin burned at a salon, so instead of hair, I had dark patches of damaged skin on my upper lip. Now, I have my own wax kit and do it myself–when and if one of the following occurs: I have time, I remember, or I can notice the little bastards without a magnified mirror. Now and then I look at my face in the lighted mirror on the sun visor in the car–most of you ladies know this is the true test–with the light and sunlight you can get a good gander at what’s growing. I might be aghast at what I see, but I usually forget about it by the time I return home.
- Pooping in a public restroom. I assume we are all in the same boat here. Again, some things are private. That is why we don’t have side-by-side toilets in our homes. It is also, the only reason I close the bathroom door. I don’t care if my husband walks in if I’m peeing, showering or primping. However, once, many years ago, the unenlightened man dared to open the closed door only to hear me scream, “Hey, I’m pooping here!” We’ve been married 31 years, and he has never done that again. So, while I don’t want anyone in my private bathroom while I am doing this, sometimes we must do this in a public restroom. I suffer from many gastrointestinal ailments and oftentimes, I find myself in a stall with feet to my left and feet to my right. I used to be humiliated by the sounds that I thought others would hear and went through the usual attempts to muffle the sounds. . . coughing, tearing toilet paper, flushing unnecessarily. Now I don’t care. Why is it that everyone is okay with hearing someone pee, but not poop? I’ve paid my dues sitting in a public toilet praying that the person re-applying make-up, or checking out her outfit would just leave and let me go #2 in peace. I’ve earned my right poop publicly.
I’m not certain why I have this liberated outlook on life, but I am comfortable with it, as I find myself more and more comfortable with myself. It’s about time.