Continuing the whine from my last blog posting about transitioning to retirement, I had a most unpleasant experience this week -- a brush with reality. In fact, Reality whacked the crap out of me and left me bleeding in an alley.
In anticipation of selling and marketing my completed children's novel, I decided that now would be a good time (before I get one day older) to have professional photos taken -- you know, for the book cover, the magazine cover for my headline interview, the 10 x 20-foot still photo behind my interview with Oprah -- all the promotional stuff that goes along with enticing new readers.
I happen to know, (by virtue of being his mother,) a young man who moonlights as a portrait photographer -- specializing in excellent pictures of individuals, families and school classes. We set up an appointment for a sitting in a lovely outdoor setting with early spring light filtering through newly-green trees. He brought his kazillion-dollar equipment, I bought a new outfit, slathered on the makeup, curled the freshly colored hair and whitened my teeth.
The shoot was quick and easy -- pose, click, pose, click, smile, click, don't smile, click, turn, click, click, click, done. By that afternoon the proofs were available, and Reality smacked me upside the head.
I wrote about "age dysphoria" here -- which posting I called "The Big Secret Of Life" as no one EVER tells you that your self-image freezes at some particular age and you forever feel that same age "inside" -- no matter how the "outside" crumbles and decays.
What I found this week is that in addition to that skewed and flawed self-image, not only does your mind play this inimical trick on you, so does your vision. Until I saw those proofs I had NO IDEA that saggies, wrinklies, droopies, puffies, molies and spotties had, like creeping mold, taken over my once pleasant face.
Who the hell stole that somewhat attractive woman and put this old bag in her place? BRING HER BACK, I SAY!
I frantically emailed my son and begged (ordered) him to employ all the Photoshop skill he has -- which is considerable -- and take at least 10 years off my face. So he did. It didn't help. I begged him to take me back another ten years ( to1991) and he did, and it still didn't help. Apparently, there's only so much time traveling Photoshop can do, especially with a fatally flawed subject. Where I had been expecting to see Princess Diana, what I got instead was Elton John.
I finally figured out that for years I've only seen myself in my bathroom mirror (great lighting) without my glasses, and I'm so nearsighted I can't see my feet without them. No wonder I hadn't a clue of what visage I presented to the world. No wonder everyone calls me "ma'm" and treats me like a little old lady. Apparently I AM a little old lady. Who knew? (Everyone else... but certainly not I.)
Those pictures have been consigned to Limbo until I can figure out a way, just this side of plastic surgery, to seriously fool the camera. Do they make filters that eliminate 30 years of living? I'll have to check Google....
Also, I'm posting a comment on last week's blog about retirement that has some great advice, I think -- written by a friend who is SO much older than I and who has been retired, with his wife, for a few years. Just scroll down to the end of the previous blog and click on "comments."