Ballad of an Old Woman

SF 149

One of my favorite things to do when writing is to embody a character that is not my own and explore how they might think.

The following character was originally written in July 2008, and edited and revised last year.

Over the course of my life, three things have motivated me; the acceptance of my peers, the search for fun, and the pursuit of beauty. In my younger days, I thought they were all I needed. Now, as I grow old and my light begins to fade, I realize that my three motivators were not correct, and see the natural consequences they have brought.

Every day I longed for the acceptance of my peers. I always felt it necessary to be popular and envied. My life was ever governed by the newest trends and latest fashionable dictator. My friends were not only a community, but a guide: shaping my every decision. While I proudly pronounced that I cared not for what others thought, that I was my own free woman, internally I cringed whenever I did something that was even slightly questionable.

As a product of growing up displaced and unloved, I discovered that only when I was having fun could my sorrows be forgotten. I saw fun as an escape from my dreary and depressing reality. The search for fun was exhilarating and dangerous, it made me feel courageous. When the elusive feeling of bravery coursed through my veins I laughed in the face of my demons. My search for fun was full of sequins and dancing and bright lights and loud music. Searching for fun kept me young, and yet aged me all too soon.

Beauty – an equally appealing and tempting motivator – I also sought. All that was ugly and distasteful appeared wrong in my eyes. Surrounded with people who raised beauty above all else, I did what was necessary to be physically perfect. To this day my heart swells with pride when my looks are complimented. Inextricably linked with the mentality that beauty is something to be bought, I only cared for skin-deep beauty while ignoring beauty of the heart and soul.

Tonight as I write about what has pushed my life along over the years, I see the truth behind what I sought, and the fullness that I missed. I was like Ulysses without something blocking his ears; I succumbed to the siren calls. When I sought acceptance, I did not seek family. When I sought fun, I did not seek happiness. When I sought beauty, I did not seek graciousness. Whatever my regrets may be, my past is solidified in time, and I cannot change a thing. Now all I can cling to is the truth in the statement, “Every day is a new day,” and hope to recreate my final days.

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