The Creative Portfolio of Melissa K. Vassar-Belloso

TOAA Reflections: Maintenance Levels and Looking Your Age


TOAA Reflections

Maintenance Levels and Looking Your Age
By Melissa K. Vassar-Belloso

I’ve had a really strange week. I’ve wanted to write but I haven’t wanted to write what I’m supposed to be working on. I’m not sure if that’s just an affliction a writer has or just a creative thing in general. If you’re an artist or some other kind of creative, do you get that same sort of thing? Do you sometimes just want to create but not create stuff sitting in front of you that needs finished. I need to know I’m not a complete weirdo sometimes.

Anyways, today I have some more sort of random thoughts for you. I actually started out this morning whining to my husband for waffles and he of course went out and got them for me. One of the things you’ll notice if you ever see me in reality is that I look very young despite being in my thirties. I sometimes get confused for a high school student and often get carded for drinks. This can make me come off as being seen as cute on occasion and I usually only use my powers for good. I won’t lie,though. I’ve used it a handful of times to get a nicer cut of steak at Golden Corral or a free baked good at breakfast, but for the most part I try to not abuse my power. My husband strangely enough is this big bear of a guy who can look pretty scary when he puts his resting bitch face on, but he has a hard time saying no if I get pouty or look at him too long with my big doe eyes. Apparently my most dangerous state is when I’m sleepy.

I’ve always kind of considered myself to be sort of low maintenance, to be fair. In reality I’m low to medium maintenance. I don’t usually require a lot of gifts but I like thick-cut bacon and good brands of electronics. I try to be selective about where I apply high standards. I feel like I deserve the best of most things but those things are usually functional. However, I am a spoiled upper middle class brat at heart and I am occasionally aware that I’m not ugly. I think there’s some weird middle range between homely and glamorous that I’m capable of falling into when I choose to give a damn about how I look.

Sometimes though, I really hate having a baby face. There’s a long-term payoff of looking great at forty if I don’t absentmindedly die before then by walking into an open manhole or tripping on nothing walking down the street. The real annoyance is what it does for you before you get to that point of appreciation. Having a young face in the young adult world can be a bit of a bitch. It makes it hard to get taken seriously for job interviews. It means you get the double-take when you show your ID for a drink. It makes it harder to get promoted. It means lots of people call you adorable as an adult.

Granted these are first-world issues at best but they can wear on you at times. There are a lot of times where I can be a very serious and thoughtful person or I really need people to not go “aww”. There are times where I’ve been passed over for jobs or treated markedly different then the people around me who look their age and it can bother me depending on the situation. There are even times where I really need people to be concerned and my baby face makes me less believable.

I think the toss up with youth in our society is that we often play up how great it is while at the same time having a strange unwritten bias towards it. Yes, you will be seen as more attractive and get a few passing perks, but in reality it’s at the cost of getting heavily discounted in other areas of progression if you’re young and look younger. I think the value of looking young is really only able to be appreciated by the old who look younger, but perhaps beyond that the real value is just looking like you.

Perhaps about six or so years ago I stopped wearing makeup and there were two reasons for that. The first reason was that I realized a bottle of foundation is the same value of a week’s worth of sinfully delicious dollar cheeseburgers and only one of those two options makes me truly happy with a side of acceptable regret. The second reason was that I realized I didn’t need it. I looked fine without it and didn’t feel any different or better with it on. My standard of beauty is being clean and okay with the person I’m looking at in the mirror. I think to some degree I saw a lot of good things about having solid genetics. I have great skin,strong teeth so I don’t have to fret about my smile too much and that damn baby face. Despite that I usually mentally feel around 85.

At the end of the day, I don’t think youth has the value we think it does in our society. I think real youth is an intangible that you can’t get from a cream on your face. It’s a mix of acceptance,confidence and maturity that we have to achieve over time. Real youth isn’t blasting away the wrinkles around your eyes. It’s smiling wider because you remember how they got there. I’ve made peace with my baby face and I might get giddy being carded at forty someday, but what I really want is to be able to wake up one day and get distracted counting my little eye wrinkles and laugh lines while looking at the untreated natural glow on my face. The next time your Oil of Olay runs out and you feel the world telling you you’re old or ugly, take the same amount of time it takes to open a jar to just look at your face and appreciate it. Youth and beauty are great things, but there’s never going to be a more beautiful moment then when you realize you’ve already got them.

Thanks for reading this issue of Thoughts of an Aspie!

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