Writing My Life

Now and Then

… a time to weep and a time to laugh… (or I didn’t think I looked my age until …)


In 2002, Jamie Lee Curtis, former True Lies hottie and current Activia spokesperson, blasted the media’s perfection myth by posing in her modest underwear, sans makeup and Photoshop’s glamorizing touch-ups. Nora Ephron, writer and director of When Harry Met Sally and Sleepless in Seattle,  “feels bad about her neck,” and so she wrote an essay about its metamorphosis into a wattle.

While I applauded these celebrities’ willingness to face gravity’s heavy embrace, I chose to duck into clouds of delusion. Enjoying gasps from acquaintances who expressed disbelief that I could be the grandmother of 10, I thought I was successfully dodging Time’s plundering depredation.

But then the day came when I joined the madding crowds clamoring for friends through social networks. Unless you choose the anonymity of such sites’ blue silhouettes, it is necessary to post an image of yourself to accompany witty or sage comments.  

Me as Jane Austen

Me as Jane Austen

 At first, I thought I would remain incognito and choose a caricature of sorts. So I perused the galleries of Flickr.com to find a facsimile of Jane Austen, donned in clothes worthy of a trip to Bath. Her facial features, however, were not far removed from those of the blue silhouettes. 

Me as a Victorian romance-writer

Me as a Victorian romance-writer


 Next, I stumbled upon the likeness of a romantic Victorian lady writing, but I could hear echoes of my sons’ guffaws at my choice as they asked, “What the freak???? 


Glamour photo courtesey of the DMV

Glamour photo courtesey of the DMV

Eventually, my search for the perfect picture led me to my driver’s license, issued in 2004. Yes, that’s right – my DMV glamour photo! By a stroke of luck, a decent camera angle, a pretty good hair day, and a limited number of pixels, I have a picture ID to be proud of. And I don’t miss an opportunity to show it to any checker at any grocery store or any security attendant at any airport! I’ve even requested that the photo be published along with my obituary when that need arises.

In the meantime, I scanned, cropped, and uploaded the photo onto my computer and pasted it everywhere: My Google profile, my 3 Ning accounts, and Facebook! When long-lost friends found me on FB, I loved reading, “Cute picture!” or “You look fantastic!”  I even laughed when my boss, who sees me every day, accused me of cheating because I used a glamour photo.

But then the proverbial “moment of truth” came when my daughter-in-law “tagged” a current photo of me, taken at my grandbaby’s recent birthday party. I knew that anyone viewing that picture would know I was suffering from the “Oprah Effect” – no matter what the day-time diva looks like  on the  TV screen, Oprah remains svelt and ageless on every cover of O Magazine.

So, in the spirit of Jamie Lee, Nora, and Susan Boyle, too, I decided to publish pictures that reveal the real! Friends, please don’t think I’m feeling sorry for myself or seeking reassurance that I “don’t look that bad” because that’s not the point of this post. I am merely laughing at with myself for a variety of reasons.

Nice grimace!?!

Nice grimace!?!

Moment of Truth #1: Profiles don’t lie. In spite of 20 lost pounds, the double double is still hangin’ around! And I thought the new hair-do was flattering. Let’s rethink that one! At least there’s a cute guy sitting on my lap!

In the ample arms of love

In the ample arms of love

 Moment of Truth #2:  Cap sleeves don’t cut it after age 40. In Utah, 70% of the women call arms like mine “Relief Society arms,” named after the women’s organization of my church.  (I wonder if Baptist, Presbyterian, Catholic, and Methodist women nick-name these appendages  “church-lady” arms)

FYI: Global warming is the result of millions of female baby boomers' hot flashes. Now am I a candidate for a Nobel?

Female Baby-boomers: Known source of global warming!

Moment of Truth #3: You’re not experiencing a hot FLASH;  it’s a freakin’ heat WAVE!!! FYI: The onset of global warming coincided with the advancing ages of millions of female Baby-Boomers. And for heaven’s sakes, Girl, don’t wear pink blush! In this condition, YOU DON’T NEED IT! (But isn’t that baby adorable? Awww!) 

 So, that’s it! Oh, there are many more pix in the mix, and I really have to chuckle at how I see myself when I’m NOT looking. If I truly examine these photos, I’ll pass by the pudginess and see the playfulness; I’ll see joy, not jowls; and I’ll look at the love, not the love handles. Besides, in 20 years or so, I’ll sort through this collection and say to myself, “And I thought I looked OLD  in those pictures!”

Author: rbs

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6 thoughts on “… a time to weep and a time to laugh… (or I didn’t think I looked my age until …)

  1. Renae,
    I just want you to know that I’m not handing out compliments or “you don’t look that bad”s. But, in all truth, you are so beautiful, cute, and fun! Really, you’re one of those ladies that when a…uh… “not as experienced” lady like myself, for example, looks at you, she thinks, “Wow! I hope I look as good as her (when I’m that experienced) :). I hope her husband realizes how fabulous she is!” And that goes for looks as well as personality. I’m happy to know you!

    • Oh, Angelica, You can hand out compliments any time. Who doesn’t love to hear such sweet sentiments, especially from someone “not as experienced.” I’ll be sure to remind my husband how “fabulous” I am as I sit here surfing the web while pretending to clean the house, and he’s slaving away in our yard.

      By the way, I’ve been battling WordPress in uploading pix – hence only one post last week. Did you see photos when you read this entry? They keep disappearing!!!! Grrrrrrr!!!!

      Thanks again for taking the time to comment. You are a cutie!

  2. Renae,

    You are adorable and I love your blog! Very creative and fun!

  3. This was such an adorable and truly truthful article. You are truly beautiful, loving, sweet, darling, funny and more so much more. My dear aunt gave me a great line when I turned 61 a few years back, she said, Oh, sweetie, I wish I were 61 again, just wait until your 89 like me, then you can groan a bit.” True. Love you so much, Carol

  4. Pingback: “… because you are you and I am me …” or MISadventures at the DMV | good times & seasons

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