Thursday, March 27, 2008

Artists and Poets Self Portrait Challenge, me at 44.99999?

Note: This is also my submission for Illustration Friday for April 25, 2008! I should have made a new entry but of course didn't think of it until after I submitted the link to this one.

Well, this month's challenge in the ZNE Artists and Poets group was to do a self-portrait and use a few words to describe yourself. Hmmm... I started out with the idea that I would do an actual, look-in-the-mirror self portrait. Ugh. I couldn't bear it. I'm in such a state about my looks lately. So my next bright idea was to do a self portrait that would portray how I think I look. You know that mythical self image you have that is always cracked when you see how you really look in the Christmas photo your Aunt Millie took when you weren't ready?

So I started on the painting and along the way it morphed into this sad-faced girl with the beginnings of jowls. Then my tiny little poem came to me and I realized that I was still in the state of mind so beautifully described by Paisley here. I had the plan, heck it was practically a credo, to "live fast and die young." My mother died when she was just 41 years old and because of that I always had the fear that I would go the same route. (It was a great relief to turn 42.) Maybe conviction is a better word than fear. I think subconsiously I always thought I wouldn't be around to get old - so why prepare for it?

What that looked like was no sunscreen, lots of alcohol, no exercise routine to speak of, many late nights, chronic sleep deprivation (hey, that's still true!), more alcohol, no savings, fantastic - but fattening and rich - food from fabulous restaurants (hence the no savings part!), lots of laughing, and hundreds of fun memories.

Tomorrow I turn 45. My hair is going gray fast. My skin's dryness factor has doubled in the past year. Stupid, stupid hormones are making my face break out (I'm a little bitter about this part). I'm beginning to see wrinkles - wrinkles! - on my face and neck (I refuse to talk about the Creeping Jowl Syndrome.). My body has apparently lost the ability to burn calories without assistance and I had to get tri-focals this year. Gah!

On the other hand, when I look at my life at 45, I see that I have so, so much. Just having a wonderful husband and daughter and a fulfilling art habit are so much more than I ever dreamed of having. It's a beautiful life and I am so grateful now that I didn't die young. But I'm still not reconciled to the wrinkle thing...

7 comments:

paisley said...

i am 47, and this has been the year from me.. i have never seen a crease in my face before this year,, and my eyesight is soooo in the shitter... i cannot seem to lose weight,, i am just thankful i am not gaining it anymore,, and i just feel like i will never be "me" again... what a cruel joke this, getting old......

i love the portrait,, and i feel that at this age we are not really that woman in the mirror,, and will not be until she becomes a familiar face to us... if ever she does.....

The Bag Lady's Art said...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY LAURIE! Or happy un-birthday if you want;-) Believe me, I think we all understand about the age factors. I've actually been working out faithfully since November, have I lost any weight??? NO! It sucks, I am losing a bit of jiggle, but no weight, how can that be? The only thing I can figure is that I kept myself from getting bigger-LOL! Ugh! Well, you go have a fab dinner and drink all you need to! I figure good food and alcohol are some of the only good things left to enjoy!
love ya,
Pam

between the worlds said...

Laurie- I turned 39 this year... it's my almost 40 year. wrinkles, gray hair, sagging body from birthing two boys... yep.. i'm getting old... the gals i work with took me out for my bday and i had one of THE BEST times of my life!!! next year, we have already started to plan a HUGE, 40 party, inviting all my other 40 somethings up to VT to camp out on the lawn and party all weekend long..... Happy BIrthyday, sweetie!! You are the best!!! Big Hugs!

jthom03 / Jan Thomason / thomranch@hctc.net said...

hey, sweetie!
you turned 42 and are having aging concerns.............i'm turning 55 this year - live it up while you can! trust me on this! LOL

i thought of you and rexy today it being autism awareness day. i hope you had a good day with that sweetie!

still on the trip - home late next week but am blogging:)
always blogging:)

xoxo, jan

Jodi Barone said...

You reminded me of my favorite line of poetry...
"I wish I knew the beauty of leaves falling. To whom are we beautiful as we go?" Jeffers
Your art with your words are a gorgeous portrait of you, thank you for sharing both. Knowing that life is short, I love that you have lived and continue to live all of your days... a wonderful gift to your mom and your daughter.
fondly,
jodi

Anonymous said...

happy birthday pal!!! hope it was a great one filled with love and fantastic goodies! (i owe you an email after our coffee visit...it's on my to-do list!!! that was such fun!!)

let's chat soon!!
:)
jen

NANCY LEFKO said...

great painting fellow ZNE-er !!!!