I swear we get old the same way that we get fat—suddenly.
You have birthdays every year. And you feel great. Hell, you look great. You have embraced the euphemism, “Age ain’t nothin’ but a number,” because although your age is going up, you feel essentially the same. Everything in life is moving along at the same tempo when one day you go to pull up the side zipper on the white linen dress that you wear frequently for summer outings and you almost cut your right arm pit (or whatever you call that area right under your arm pit that is a mushy mound of blubber that is almost a boob, but not quite, because it is at your side and is more malleable than your boobs as it cannot be fully contained by a bra and instead will either fall below the bra strap or be cut in half—giving you a tri-boob look on each side of your body). For a minute, you try to work with the fat: mold it, tuck it, even press it flat because it’s soft and seems as if it may compromise, but you learn it’s a stubborn bastard. As a matter of fact, it’s stubborn and sneaky because you are sure that as noticeable as it is now; it wasn’t there yesterday.
So you delicately roll the dress down and off to prevent further injury (to your ego, heart, and side boobs), sit on your bed, in your underwear and no bra because you are pissed at it as well for not being able to get a hold of this situation and your newly acquired side-boobs. You set-out to Google how to get rid of them; but what do you call them: side boobs, fat hills, arm rests? Finally, you settle on “How do you get rid of side fat?” and Google, like a lying man, always comes up with some stories to give you. 34 articles later, you learn that you have to lose weight or get plastic surgery. Some say that there is no spot reduction. But others offer you hope. After all, how can there be spot eruption and not spot reduction? How can there just be mounds of fat that just show-up in odd places?
So, you start exercising more. Now that you are a bit older and more financially stable, you even hire a personal trainer to work with you a couple of days of week. You start to lose weight, but you don’t lose those mounds. Why? Sadly, they are there because you are older and our capitalistic society wont’ tell us the truth because they make millions on us exercising, buying fat burning crèmes and pills. But when you get older, new shit pops up. Surprise, you now have 6 tits! And even if you lose 25 pounds, you most likely will be a slenderer version of you with 6 tits.
So you find ways to “work with” your 6 boobs: you hold your hands down at attention instead of being so animated when you talk, you buy looser shirts and girdles that aren’t just for the belly, but for the whole body.
But, the surprises keep coming. One day, you look in your rear-view mirror to back out of your parking space and see 4 long curly hair casually hanging out on the corner of your chin, as if they are mingling at the summer party you missed a few months ago due to boob-maggedon. You stare because that’s the natural reaction when uninvited guests show up, until an aggravated driver sits on her horn, yells at you, and motions for you to ”move out the damn parking spot already”. Before you had side boobs, you would’ve shifted out of reverse and shifted into full petty-mode, put on lipstick, rearranged your glove compartment, and taken your sweet time getting out of that spot (because you are sassy in that way), but today you feel old. You are an old woman with 6 boobs and chin hair, and you just ain’t got the fight in you. So you wave and nod, forgo doing all of your other errands because you’ve got to get home to evict those squatters out of your chin.
As you pluck, you start to think about how long those imposters may have been in your chin. As you’ve gone through life thinking that you were being completely charming—were people completely distracted thinking, “Why in the hell won’t she do something about her chin hair?” Has her chin hair been the equivalent to the 12-year-olds booger that moves as he talks distracting you from concentrating on his message because you are obsessed with ripping the dangling hardened mucus from his pimply nose?!
Now you are indignant. You throw your tweezers on the bathroom sink, grab your phone and call your best friend. Before she can finish saying hello, “Girl, why didn’t you tell me I had chin hairs and have been looking like Glenda, the Ghetto Witch?”.
She howls—cause your best friend doesn’t just laugh—she literally howls, “Now, girlfriend, who was the first one to tell you that guy Jim you liked was a gay enough to be an original member of the The Village People? Who was the first one to tell you that you didn’t have any business being in the church choir because God deserves better? You know I wouldn’t knowingly have you out in public with a goatee. I would tell you!
“Yea, that’s true,” I respond. “You’ve never been one to hold back the truth.”
I can’t believe you just are now experiencing the great migration?”
“The great migration?” I question.
“You know: when your pubic hair migrates from your whoo-haa to your face. I got those sparse gray patches down south waxed off years ago. So, at least, I don’t have to watch those suckers move; but trust me, I still see them once they’ve relocated.
And I have no doubt that they are the same hairs. I ain’t never had hair this coarse anywhere on my body but in the Southern Hemisphere. It is truly public hair. And it’s angry—because when I pull on them to come out, I swear those suckers pull back. Weekly, I’m in my house having a full-on tug-of-war. The only thing I can hope is that all of that pulling will work on my laps and my side-boobs will go down a size.
I wipe my tears, though I can’t stop laughing. I guess the best thing about getting older is old friends—the ones who have been there when things occur suddenly.
My intention is for Black people to love themselves and each other. It sounds somewhat silly, I guess; but oftentimes my people are overwhelmed with negative images, bad news, and stereotyped characters about us. I’d like to flip that script. I’d like to remind us, as often as I can, how incredible we are. Read more