The stuff of age. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. But oh my vanity, oh the follies.

I spent the last 15 years sensing that my power was there, just beyond all the junk I had to wade through to get there. I was mired in murk. Trapped in replaying various patterns, taking what was given, waiting to get good enough. Always wanting to read as younger. Turning 38 was a shock. I wasted most of 39 worrying about turning 40. When I turned 40, I realized that no one cared. And in fact I could just as easily say 34 and people wouldn’t question it.

When I turned 30, I felt like I reached the top of a small hill. I had earned my place in the game, I could proceed to attempt to scale higher peaks. But something strange happened as I reached and passed 40. My vanity and my experience were pitted against each other. I wasn’t sure if I was going to turn 44. I didn’t have a death wish, I just thought maybe I’d start rewinding for a bit. Turn 42 instead, gain back a few years. But 44. Such a good number. A number with power. I was starting to get used to standing in that power and trying to figure out what to do with it.

I met a woman who set me on fire and I realized that I had to do the work of admitting to myself, and coming out to others, that I’m into women. That happened as I turned 44. That required some work. Was not just a party trick in my 20’s. I had been avoiding men for a while but hadn’t quite figured out how to change teams. Luckily someone came along and I had little conscious choice in the matter.

And just as I was getting used to that, I hit perimenopause. This seems unfair. I’d just figured out that I am gay. All the years I had not spent with women. And now my hormones are doing something new and crazy. My breasts hurt. One gets bigger than the other. My scent has changed.

And then just like that, another year went by and I turned 45.

I do not want to tolerate less than I am worth. I won’t suffer the fools anymore. Which means some hard letting go. My vanity and experience are still at odds. I wouldn’t trade what I know for the beauty (unaware and filled with self-hatred) of my youth. But oh the days can be dark. The wrinkles won’t lessen, or more aptly, the breasts won’t perk back up. I mean I guess they could. That is possible. Intervention. I like the idea that my body is evidence of my life – that’s pride – yet I choose to have only one tattoo. Experience and a vanity at odds again.

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