Friday, June 30, 2006

happy birthday to me...

the birthday girl
here i am in a booth at kemia with my friend. (he's the one that took the picture.) he says he's the luckiest guy in the world. the truth is, i think i'm the lucky one. no, not lucky. blessed.

remarkably, i didn't wake up today thinking, wow, i'm a year older. (that ended when i was nine.) i woke up thinking, thank God for another day, another birthday, another year on this planet. thank You for my life, my health, my strength. thank You for keeping me in my right mind and able to take care of myself. i woke up feeling grateful to be alive, to be here. later, when everyone started calling with birthday greetings (my father laughing and screaming my age into the phone repeatedly over my mother's shoulder is definitely one for the books), other things came to mind.

in a perfect world, i want any one that meets me to meet me -- not my gender or my race or my age. or my hair. but the fact of the matter is, people are so ageist and sexist and racist that usually that's as far as they extend themselves: what they see. it's some kind of a small miracle that anyone gets past any of that and gets to know the person that's encased in all of that detail, detail that's supposed to be a point of departure in exploring who this person is, not some kind of a cultural/social life sentence that decides who they are and keeps them there against their will. in this business of music and entertainment especially, introductions are like that in a more obvious way. someone meets me, likes my art and immediately wants to know how old i am. but it's like that all the way across the board. when i go home, everyone looks at me funny because i'm a college graduate, i've never been married and i don't have any kids.

in my opinion, nothing ages a woman quite like the act of telling her age. i never tell mine for that very reason. i stopped when i was a little kid. i suppose i figured that with so many details seemingly giving me away at a glance, i didn't want my age to be one of them. of course, everyone knew how old i was but i instinctively knew that not telling was a good habit to develop. and i was right.

hardly anyone ever asks me how old i am, probably because it's quite rude. not that being rude has ever stopped anyone from doing anything, so yeah, i get asked that question. then again in my telling my age they have to tell theirs -- and usually they don't want to do that, even when they say that they do. it's kind of like telling everyone how much you weigh. everyone thinks it's less than it actually is. especially women. and that's another thing. no one cares how old men are. it's not a negative thing for a man to be fifty, with grey hair, a lot of wrinkles and a strong body. its changing for women because what 40+ looks like now is demi moore and madonna and iman and ann curry and beverly johnson and halle berry and rosanna arquette and on and on it goes. women over 40 nowadays look as good as women under 30. those women are already famous, though. they have a team on staff to help them look that way permanently. wouldn't we all look that great if we could make weekly visits to spas and have our own nutritionist and personal chef and personal trainer and life coach and yoga instructor/pilates instructor? and stylist and make-up artist? and hair stylist? who wouldn't look spectacular with all that help? but i digress.

another reason why they probably don't ask how old i am is because they think they already know. i remember my mother telling me a long time ago that i shouldn't get upset when people presume things about me that aren't true because it makes them easier to manipulate. and she was right.

that reminds me of one of my favorite stories about dolly parton. (if i could have anyone's career in the entertainment industry, it would be hers.) back in the 70's, an interview said to her -- "doesn't it bother you that everyone in the whole wide world thinks you're a dumb blonde?" to which she replied, "i know i'm not dumb." and then she said, "i also know i'm not blonde."

i care very much how old i am physically. i care a great deal about how old i look. i don't care at all how old i am chronologically. somewhere in my mid twenties when i was living in austin texas and running around with pot smoking vegan hippies and musicians, "look younger/live longer" became my motto. i decided that i didn't want to get any older physically. according to, i'm not. how did i do it? no smoking (anything), no alcohol, lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, and keeping myself lean and my cholesterol low with lots of excercise and laying off of stuff like bacon and butter, and making it a habit to drink things like wheatgrass on a regular basis. sometimes i fall off of my routine but i always get right back on it.

the fountain of youth is no fountain at all. it's good nutrition, the gym and a low stress life -- not necessarily in that order.

photos coming soon. (too tired for flikr.)

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