My first grey hair was discounted as blonde. My partner plucked it out of my head with triumph and I smirked. A week later, looming over me in his height, he gasped and took my head in both hands. A second hair was plucked. I studied it curiously trying to determine what was different about this hair than all the rest of my hairs.
I taped it into my journal and wrote “FIG 1. GREY HAIR” next to it in an accusatory kind of way.
The week after that I found two more when I was brushing my hair. I plucked those myself. Not to get rid of them, but to get a closer look. I was perplexed. This tangible sign. But of what? Was it a sign of my stress? Was I stressing myself grey? Was I getting old? Can you turn your hair grey by not getting enough protein? Can flat ironing turn your hair grey? I wasn’t angry at my hairs. It just felt like a part of somebody else’s body was growing out of my own.
I keep telling everyone that I turn 30 next year, which is true, but I actually turn 29 this year. It’s all semantics. I’m not afraid of my 30s and I’m not afraid of getting older. But it’s a curious process. You become accustomed to the version of you that you’ve lived with for so long. As if overnight, you change. I have smile lines now and I have one particular pore that I can actually see. People get mad at me when I say that but it was alarming. My skin feels different now, it demands more care. My vision went. I wear glasses when I realize everything is really blurry which is less often than you’d think.
I’m not afraid of getting older but I am afraid of dying. The dying is the thing you can’t predict. It could happen tomorrow or next week or a couple of years from now and the fear of dying is paralyzing. I always imagine dark. But then I remember that dark is a construct of life. The perception of darkness. I would not even have the darkness. But things would go on without me, wouldn’t they? And I’m not quite fine with that. It doesn’t sit right with me at all, frankly.
So there is this paralyzing fear and it is peanut butter and jelly with this sense of now. There is only the now. And it’s not until you’ve sat down and had a proper dinner with death do you really know that the now is a living and breathing thing. There is no past and there is no future. There is only now. And it’s been written on so many inspirational pinstagrams that all meaning has been removed. The now has reached semantic satiation. Now. Now. Now. Now. Now. What does now mean? Now does not mean we must fit a lifetime into a moment. It only means that a lifetime is a moment. A series of moments. Look at what you want your life to be when you are twenty years older and think of what you must do now to achieve that life.
I don’t want a skin disease and, despite my indifference with wrinkles, I’d certainly like to prevent the more aggressive sags. So I wear sunscreen. I wear it in the winter months. And I make this choice because my now is also my then. It’s all connected, don’t you see?
No, me either.
As soon as something happens we begin to forget it.
Each time we try to remember it, we rewrite a new version of what happened over the reality of what we actually perceived.
In my journal I will write I am not afraid of turning 30. I am not afraid of anything. And when I turn 30 I will look back and I will read this and I will think, I wasn’t afraid. And when I turn 40 and when I turn 50 and when I turn 60 I will forget how this moment felt. And I will open my journal and I will read I am not afraid of turning 30. I am not afraid of anything. And because I will have forgotten, all I’ll have is this. A line scribbled in a book. And I’ll think, she wasn’t afraid of anything. And that will be the truth.