Saturday, May 30, 2009

Show me the face you had before you were born?

More than ever, I hate looking in mirrors. Because I swear to god it is not my face looking back at me. It is nothing like the face that is in my mind, the face I had before I was born.

Oh sure, part of it is the denial of aging. I do not accept the gray hair or the flabby skin and dark circles under my eyes. That middle aged face and flabby body can't be mine. My mind's eye doesn't recognize this decaying mockery of my self.

Seriously, that reflection can't be me. But all of our vision is filtered through chemistry and our brains, right? We literally create the image of reality in our heads. The brain is supposed to be a virtual minister of propaganda for our psyche filtering self-image to match expectations (which would explain why some people think plaid is a good fashion choice). So what is wrong with my brain that it doesn't filter out that mirror image of time slipping away?

It is not that I so much want to be in denial about the reality of aging. I have been campaigning against self-delusion for some time now. But why does reality have to be so harsh?

It is not just me. I see people I have known for 20 years or so and gasp at how they have changed. It is particularly hard when you haven't seen someone for a long time and you have this image of what they looked like a decade or so ago. And then wham, you are confronted with their aging self. I pity poor movie stars who are taunted with permanent records of the beauty of their youth and then paraded around in the media after the bloom has gone.

I am not sure why I feel guilty when confronted with my aging. Oh, I suppose it is this thought that I would look better if I had taken better care of myself...ate less, ate better, drank less, slept more, exercised more. But at what point do you give up living just to try and stave off the inevitable.

I suppose aging is what drives many people on spiritual quests. When the body betrays us we look to the soul champion our cause of perpetual youth.. Ironically most of my spiritual quests took place when I was young and naive. I really don't have patience any more for religion or metaphysics. You can only burn incense and stare at a crystal for so long before you realize you don't like the smell and you are just holding a pretty rock.

I marvel at born agains who are so certain that they are on the right path through Jesus. But that takes me right back to my last post about "those who know" and "those who don't know." Stupid people hold fast to their convictions and smart people always have doubts.

Well, I think I've chased my own tail enough on this topic. It's time to face the music and move on.


Anonymous said...

I quite often look in the mirror...oh not to admire my beautiful face but to remind myself I am in fact still visible to the naked eye.

This is largely because as I get older I feel more and more that I don't exist outside of the walls of my own home. I think I only exist there when I'm doling out cash or something needs to be ironed but I digress.

Do you ever get the feeling that you have become irrelevant to the world at large and therefore you are invisible? Ageing sucks...big time.

Time said...

I must have written at least three posts on being invisible and another two or three on fading away.

One of the joys I have found in having small children at my age is that they still see me. But I know that will be a fleeting thing. Sigh.

Naughti Biscotti said...

I'm turning 40 this summer. Fading away and invisibility aren't things I've experienced yet. I'm doing the mirror-denial thing already though. I look in the mirror and immediately see my faults, the falling chin, wrinkles around the eyes, etc. I have this thing where I position my face so that my extra chin is hidden, I tilt my head back and slightly lift my eyebrows. Then I imagine what I looked like when I was 19. I superimpose that image over the one in the mirror then... quickly... I mean QUICKLY (before reality knows what I'm doing) I move away from the mirror. It seems to be working because I go about my day thinking I look pretty good. I have to make an effort to avoid the mirror throughout the day unless I have a few extra minutes to repeat the process of denial.

Thanks for the reminder Tim.

Time said...


Don't put too much stock in all the hype about turning 40. It sounds so young to me now. And don't put to much stock in my ramblings. As you may have discerned, I am into gross generalizations based on my own life experience. I imagine the invisibility factor kicks in at different times for different people based on genetics and self-awareness levels. Or it may never kick in (depending upon your income level). Some people have always been invisible. I think these are the ones who climb towers with high powered rifles.

BTW, funny coincidence, a spam called "Bucket of Chicken" telling me how to win free KFC appeared in my mail box at the same time as your comment.

And you think there is no god :)

Naughti Biscotti said...

God is Elvis. He IS the one sending you the messages. He's trying to tell you that the meaning of life is not bacon and peanut butter afterall. It really IS all about the fried chicken.

There are no coincidences. ;-)

R. said...

I always talk to myself. This has the effect of keeping me from being invisible since most people in public tend to want to avoid the weirdo talking to himself.

I want to make age irrelevant by replacing my body with a robot one.

Time said...


Elvis has always been sending me messages. And I'm telling you he was not a chicken man. So it must be the Colonel hyping the fried chicken and pretending to be Elvis.

Since Bluetooth came along, talking to yourself no longer constitutes appearing odd.

R. said...

In my experience the people walking around with Bluetooth headsets are generally ones to avoid as well.

I say generally because my mailman uses a Bluetooth headset. Because his job requires him to use both hands it is a practical way for him to make the job go faster.