letter #3: age in my chicken neck: the adventures of ola y chau
From Chau to Ola 12 May 2018
[i wrote this the other day in a bar. dealing with age. i am dealing with age. i am surprised by how present it is.]
I am older, sometime by much, than most of those around me. In amman and in thessaloniki, more than in san francisco or bakersville. Look at this young couple by the window, sharp in black and hip in tattoos and skinny, so serious and adult and much younger than me. I have arrived at the age of carefree bellies and comfortable clothes and bad hair. I have to stop referring to my age with the young, for they--like i used to--react with the silliness and ignorance of youth. They offer me denial or consolation. Age is a shocking matter of fact, so expected yet it creeps up, we count yet it creeps up, it happens all the time to everyone else yet it creeps up. I maybe, like every single human at age 43 (who made it to 43), am shocked by age. By my age.
From Ola to Chau 16 May 2018
yes age is very present, i am now watching a new series, drama, very intense family relationships, actually it’s very good. the script is good. anyway, one older person who is dying from cancer tells a younger woman how arrogant she is thinking that she will live forever, and refusing to accept a very sweet invitation from a sweet guy. so he told her you think you want to take your time, there is no time, be aggressive and grab things now, there will be a time when you will be very slow and it will hurt. and we always hear this and always repeat it but for some reason the way he said it affected me a lot. he’s a black man, maybe that’s why. anyway, and then in the shower the next morning i started thinking, i don’t want to take things slow. i want to be active as much as possible, i want to have many projects going on, even if i don’t finish them or even start them, i want to be moving a lot. and i feel i am ready for it, like my body wants it. i want to keep learning and trying and and because yes it’s coming soon, where my brain and body will not respond to what i want.
From Chau to Ola 20 May 2018
on the one hand i appreciate age and welcome it and i understand it is a channel that takes me to my end (if i am lucky and age is what kills me), but god does it scare me to realise that i, like many (dare i say most), will regret a life not fully lived. could that be escaped? only if life is robbed at an early age will one miss to regret not living it. how ironic.
Time that we share is a gift and i bathe in it, like a cat bathes in a spot of sun.
Ola, I cannot but see age in my chicken neck developing, the wrinkles where my breasts meet, the falling stomach and that funny loose flesh where my thighs meet. my age compared to others. in my twenties, i found i liked older men. these men are my age now and the older men like younger women. classic. that is what women have said for years in books and films and life around me and i never gave them a chance for understanding but now i am starting to.
this is not to say that age does not compensate me with confidence and self assuredness and wisdom, it does and sometimes i feel that it is more valuable to me than youthful skin.
my father did say it was not fair: youth is given the body that they only come to appreciate after that body is already gone.
From Chau to Ola 21 May 2018
also, one good thing about age which i am enjoying is that i am not afraid of young men. there are many young men, sometimes in large groups who walk around the city, refugees waiting, waiting and i am not afraid of them. on the contrary, i have a soft spot for them. i understand their anger and frustration but i mostly see their sincere and awkward attempts to fit in and be attractive and they hold what remains of their dignity dear to them. this dignity may seem at times as a harsh facade or a know-it-all or even as violence but i think it is only that, what remains of self respect and hope.
From Ola to Chau 27 May 2018
in amman now i am on the spectrum of middle age, i do feel middle aged, i spend a lot of time with 75+ or early twenties. i am also noticing more than ever that children are not part of my being at all, and it feels awkward when they are around. there is a big age group of humans that i have no idea about. shall i go and lease a few kids and have them hang out with me for a bit?
i find myself counting to fifty, in one year i will be 45 and then 5 to the fifty. at the age of 43 i am now ready to explore my body in new ways. I stopped smoking three years ago, that is when i started being more aware of my body, the fog of smoke started fading and some thick layers of denial started peeling off. gradually i started feeling my skin, smelling it, seeing it. and now i am trying to forgive myself for ignoring and shaming parts of it.
هذه المدوّنة هي جزء من المراسلات بين علا وديالا توثّق مغامرات أولى إي تشاو
This blog post is part of the correspondence between Ola and Diala documenting The Adventure of Ola y Chau
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