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Monday, July 26, 2010

Monday Mimisms ~ The Cherokee Girl

I am slightly north of fifty.

Most days I like my place on the chronological globe. Some days I want to string it up from the highest rafter and kick the bucket of wrinkle remover off the highest cliff and call it a day.
Today was a bucket kicker of a day.

I took my 6-year-old grandson shopping through the neighborhood yard sale boutiques. He had a pocket full of money (mine), a skip jump and a heartbeat of joy (mine) and most everything else in his wiry little body that you can count on in this world that means a blessed thing. And he’s mine.
Wrapped around my sinew and bone like a web-spun intricate cobweb of blissful peace.
He is.

My hands have a few wrinkles.
I know they weren’t there yesterday.
And my eyes look tired. Must be the heat, I tell myself.
It’s because I’m midlife-never-mind.

And then I went home and got properly stuck on the age thing.
And why some days I look like hell
and some days I look like twelve
and how today I feel just like the Cherokee girl my grandmother was

I tried to wash my freckles away in the morning dew when I was 8 years old because she said they would disappear. Lo and behold, at 53, I am still trying to cover those blasted freckles and make my smile stop being crooked like hers and my nose wrinkling up when I really really smile.

For years I fought it. I wanted it to shift into Hollywood styled sophisticated perfection. I wanted to pout like Garbo, sizzle like Marilyn, slink like Ginger. I did not want to effude giggles like a pigtailed Mary Ann. (I just pulled a Palin, did you catch it?) Oh, I do alright in the catwalk department on a good ole’ day you see…..but it’s days like today …..when the sun is long and my freckles come callin’ that I see…I see…..(“I brought my grandson today, ma’am. His name is Baby Boy”) a wisp of her staring cold in the mirror and laughing cause she still sees the marks behind whatever makeup I put on (“Grandson? He’s not your son?”)……knowing full well I can‘t wash them off with the dew (“No, no,” I laugh, “my own baby is 30.”…) even though that’s what my greatly superstitioned grandmother told me (“That’s about what I thought you were.”) while she watched me wash my face with dewdrops one morning at 5am in the backyard trying to scrub them away….(“Oh DO go on, ma’am…I will buy everything you have in your garage today…“)

Whoever heard of a movie star with freckles?

I can't have both.
Can I?

So I came home flailing all my will into a long dramatic selfish pout, casting winks and coy glances hither and yon for the birds and the squirrels and trees, splashing on makeup and dropping pearls round the long strands of auburn that also belonged to the glorified goddess of an Indian-laced grandmother and took this shot and that and that shot and this trying to see what the yard sale lady said she saw in the shadow of my grandson‘s smile this morning…...oh I was bound and determined to have a dandy of a roll in the whine fields if I couldn't coax that number down and have a long satisfying look in the yard sale lady's mirror...... I desperately needed those years to wash away you see and since it was not morning, but a sun-washed afternoon in my fifty-third year I felt time turning pages in the solstice of a day that I knew I was meant all along to land in with my grandmother laughing all wrinkled and joyful behind that willow tree looking at me flirt shamelessly with wildlife and memories......wondering how did I get here so fast in a spot where spots are signs of age and not of youth with no stopwatch to slow them down... down.... down....
Until finally I saw something in the lens I’d never seen before.
Something steadfast.
Something strong.
Something …..

a streak of stubborn
A chiseled chin
A bold lined woman
Who never takes no for an answer
and knows exactly where she's been

One random streak of grey
And freckles
Not in the dew
But in the new

And then
I had an epiphany

About perfection
And the lack of it
In me
And imperfections
And strength
in the middle of
imperfect things
that I no longer want to wash away

My grandmother's gift of stubbornness and grit might have been borne on the backs of those unsophisticated marks, but she knew what she was doing when she passed them on to me.
She knew I would need them
there's some kind of magic in dew


Mark In Mayenne said...

Beauty takes many forms, Mimi. XX

Anonymous said...

I echo the sentiment of Cogitator. I quit coloring my hair and embracing my grays. I've earned every last one of them and I'm proud.

There are lots of movie stars with freckles! :-)

Akelamalu said...

You're beautiful inside and out Mimi. x

I always say I'm proud of my lines. They exist because I laugh so much. ;)

Mimi Lenox said...

Cogitator - Ahhh...Keep writing that thought,'s a good first line for a poem. Nice.

Mimi Lenox said...

Lois - My hair is still as auburn dark as it's always been and I've never colored it yet. I think I'm lucky on that score (it was the magic dew I tell ya) So that one little stray is gone bye bye with the scissors!! Poof! Gone!

I won't get any more...will I????

Mimi Lenox said...

Adorable little Hawaiian girl Akelamalu - Laughter lines I can live with. I could use more of those, yes. Laugh lines...I'll think of it that way. Hmm...

Mimi Lenox said...

P.S. All - I think I am having a midlife meltdown!!! BAHH!!

Homer The Palace Dog said...

Save me. She's driving me insane.

Mimi Lenox said...

Look what I found. I'd better take my vitamins...

Anndi said...

A woman will be forever young if there's a smile in her heart.

Charles Gramlich said...

Freckles are nothing to be ashamed of. Just be glad you don't have the "moles" of Get her done guy's sister.

Vinny "Bond" Marini said...

OH please dear friend...I have witnessed you up close and personal and you do not look the above 50 that you claim to be...

Your strength is to be praised...and Homer can sit in the dungeon if he does not like it

Anonymous said...

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and behold I see a beautiful woman.

And as I so often remind my daughter... Nicole Kidman has beautiful freckles.

Mimi Lenox said...

Ann - Your sentiment goes along with Akelamalu's!

Jean-Luc Picard said...

Well written. Freckles are lovely!

Mark In Mayenne said...

I await your poetic masterpiece with bated breath

Mimi Lenox said...

Charles - Moles?! I am so glad you didn't type "Git"..

Mimi Lenox said...

Vinny - Smooches to you. And did you hear that Homer? Hah!

Mimi Lenox said...

Dawn - Thank you.
I may survive this fit now.

Your daughter, Justine, is a beautiful and sensitive young woman! She has a bright future ahead of her.

Mimi Lenox said...

Jean-Luc - REeaaally?

Cogitator - must write the poem. See? Better get started!

The Gal Herself said...

Doris Day and Gwyneth Paltrow both have freckles. (So does Lindsay Lohan, though I'm not sure we can consider her a movie star.) So let's just dispel that myth right away. You CAN SO be glamorous with freckles!

I always think of you as being so comfortable in your skin, so sure of your appeal to men. So in a complicated way, your epiphany was liberating for me. So even monarchs have their insecure moments!

Now, if you'll excuse me, I must slather on a little more Neutrogrena Healthy Defense Moisturizer.

Mimi Lenox said...

Gal - Hmmm....The post for me was more about settling into the chronological reality, with all its changes and nuances (with a bit of pencil skirt drama thrown in for good measure). I think every woman has that epiphany of wanting to stop time and yet celebrating her life as it is, taking stock, shifting her view in the mirror, assessing and re-assessing who she is and where she's been.

Despite my musings and vulnerable splash on the page at that moment of freckle bemoaning and dramatic angst (imagine that!)...I am as "comfortable in my own skin" as a woman can be. I think part of that comes from owning the imperfections - which is liberating for me too!! - and trying NOT to be "perfectly dolled up" all the time...tapping into that little girl (ala freckled) look that seems to appeal, quite surprisingly, to men of all ages.

We all have our insecure moments. I just choose sometimes to let the whole world read mine.
Vulnerability - I never ever want to lose that. After all, I was a writer before I became a Queen.

**I will climb back up on my pedestal now**

Speedcat Hollydale said...

My comment is simple ...

LOVE this post Mimi, BIG smoootch 2 you ;-)

Travis Cody said...

When I was 6, I did that skip jump thingy. But these days I do kind of a hop jig thingy. I can't afford to get the air of a real jump.

Mimi Lenox said...

I miss you Travis.

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