Friday, June 26, 2009
I just read Sid's post about growing old and this made me thoughtful. It's such a touching post that you need to go check it. The same made me take a deeper look into my own aging process.
As I stand in front of the mirror brushing my now shorter hair, I studied the image that is looking back at me. Oh, how I wish I can change something every time I looked into the mirror, although it didn't show me anything I should be upset about, except for some creeping gray hair. Hahaha!
As the brush navigate the now graying strands, I studied my brown skin in the mirror. Was I really too dark? Well, I am not fair skinned, that's for sure. But what was so bad about being dark? It's natural. I am Filipina, dammit!
Being a Saturday, I am in a khaki shorts, a simple tee and flipflop. Yes sometimes there is an advantage to looking different, to being under dressed, to having different faces at your disposal. For one, I can go to so many more places and mix with so many different people than I might otherwise not be able to if I always played it one way. It's nice sometimes not to be noticed or to blend with people that I am more likely to get what I want. I believe one don't always have to "impress" people and put on airs of morality and importance. One can get what she want in hundred of different ways.
There are so many women who liked to play that game of status and money. They wear the latest designer clothes, use skin whiteners, have a face lift, talk about their latest trip to the States and the hot and trendy restaurant in New York they've eaten at. Not so subtly reminding people how important they are because they are rich.
Well that is okay when you need it. Even though I am not anywhere near rich, I knew how to impress people with that angle if I had to. I can put on the right clothes and jewelry, offer up good table conversation, nothing but the most impeccable manners and charm. But in this world, there is so many other directions one could go, so much out there that one could be.
With brush strokes now becoming slower as if caught in a trance, I thought about the struggles I have been through, especially after losing my business. There were times I didn't know how I would be able to feed my kids. I lowered my expectations and learned to live from meal to meal. And we got by. I accepted a job even when the plant is outside the city, doing marketing work on the side, getting what I needed and wanted. This is where I learned the value of being different people, of different modes of dress, of having many faces out of need for survival.
Iam glad I had pulled myself through the worst of my ordeal, and set my kids up in a decent house and educated them. But the battle isn't over yet. I have to continue fighting to learn and continue learning because it is essential for survival. I wasn't born into privilege and I am grateful for those people who had unselfishly helped me get by.
Oh yes, now I know why I like looking in the mirror. Because after all the turmoil, I'm still here - I am still standing in front of the mirror. Still hopeful to see what's going to happen at the end of the rainbow. I'm eager to find out what's there!
I'm fighting it out all the way - old and gray.