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Looking Glass and The Windowpane
By Jacqueline Cioffa

Let’s face it; there’s no fooling. The sagging skin, the wrinkled face, the ridiculous forty something woman in short skirts and bottled-up Botox. The gravitational pull and the eventual flight back home were booked in advance. You already hold the winning ticket. I recognize the faces in the street, the fear, the familiar grimace and disgust at the sideways glance in the shop’s windowpane. I see the doubt, the two-second pause, the roll of the eyes in the rear view mirror. I’m going to rise above it, be the lady lit from within. I’m going to honor this body that works, that walks me from place to place. I’m going to love this heart that beats and eyes that see the sun and feel the heat, and arms that sway to the rhythm and ears that hear the beat. I’m going to resist the tug; I’m going to dig the features and the sum. I’m going to take the very best care. Every so often, I’m going to eat eggs with buttered toast and pancakes dripping in maple syrup. I’m going to drink beer without the guilt. I’m going to love a man head on without flipping the light. Sooner or later, I’m going to want to play the parts. I’ll be mother, daughter, sister, lover, and feminist right on time. I’ll want to write the appropriate words that answer the meaningful questions. I’ll get the joke. I’ll laugh out loud without bringing my hands up to cover my face. I am timeless, ageless and the perfect temperature. I will not grimace at the sight of a beautiful young woman. I will nod and offer her a secret, knowing smile and familiar glance. I will put away the minis, the boots, and the crazy forms of self-expression and store them deep in the back of my closet. I’ll hold onto them for a younger version of myself. I no longer have any use. I’ll walk the walk with conviction. I’ll talk the talk and hear the discussion. I will listen, with a mind that is open. I will wait ten seconds to answer. I’ll have a well-thought out appropriate response. I’ll take an interest in the world around me. I’ll be empowered, insightful, bright and impulsive in an instant. I will mellow out and leave fear, jealousy and rage behind. I’ll do all the things that a grown up does. I will act like a curvy, sophisticated, well groomed woman. I will see the face and body; I will embrace and endorse the beautiful. I will tuck away my first class ticket in the back pocket of my favorite pair of ripped, familiar blue jeans for a later date. I will remember where I put it. I’ll keep my head on straight, high upon my strong, beautiful shoulders. I will put one determined foot in front of the other. For now, I’m just going to walk. And face the window without the pain.

14 comments

    1. Thank you, Karen for taking the time to read and comment.
      Your insight and support are priceless, as always.

      XO,
      Jackie

  1. I love your spirit, Jackie! And your writing too.

    “The gravitational pull and the eventual flight back home were booked in advance. You already hold the winning ticket.”

    That’s the best line I’ve read in a long time.

    xox,
    Mary

  2. “Sooner or later, I’m going to want to play the parts. I’ll be mother, daughter, sister, lover, and feminist right on time.” That was MY your best line. Actually, all of it was right on cue. How did you wake up to the mood in my coffee this morning?

    1. Paula, your coffee was in rare shape this morning and a fine mood.
      Thank you very much for the read and the inspiration. LOL
      XXOO

  3. Fantastic, Jackie. Yes, sooner or later–if we’re lucky–we play our parts in every feminine archetype. And now it’s my time to be crone. The issue of self-acceptance and self-love is more pressing than ever. I want to be a beautiful old woman and not an old woman trying to look like a young woman. I want to continue admiring my friend’s daughters and my son’s partners for their beauty, youth, and struggles. I had struggles with loving body at every age. The only way to change our conditioned response is to reflect beauty to each other. I spent over 40 years depending on my admiring husband to reflect my beauty back to me.. Now my job is to reflect it back to myself, to love my wrinkles and white hair, to love the muscles beneath, to admire the wisdom of body and its immediate feedback when I decide it’s not worth caring for. I see you in the mirror. You are beautiful.

    1. Thank you, Elaine for your beautiful and intriguing comment.
      As we age, the meaning and perception or misperception of the word beauty shifts.
      If we’re lucky enough to grow old, and learn how to love ourselves.
      No woman can never measure up to society’s superficial standards
      or even someone else’s ideals. Aging is inevitable.
      I’m learning to admire beauty found in strength, self-awareness, wisdom and accountability.
      I see you in the mirror as well, Elaine and I’m merely a reflection, bouncing back.

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