To all my "dear readers, as the great Ann Landers referred to her "followers," this is for those of you who also function as my mental-health caregivers. Since most of you've been with me from my blogging beginnings, you're aware that this is a critical phase in what professionals call my "grieving process."
So, let's start out by taking a look at a "glamour shot" of me from several years ago, when it was still considered (by whomever owned the photography outfit, at least) sexy for a woman to wear a ridiculous mass of annoyingly ticklish ostrich feathers dyed in phony bright colors, which was known as a "feather boa."
Anything wrapped around my neck described as a "boa" immediately strikes me as repulsive, but I allowed myself to be talked into it, along with, ugh, red lipstick.
You should be aware by now of my dim view of such stupid notions when it comes to popular feminine fashions in my mother's day. When I look at the offensively flashy absurdity adorning my unevenly tanned shoulders, then focus on my lame attempt at a "come hither" expression as I'd been instructed to do, I'm not sure whether to laugh or cry.
Maybe throwing up is a more accurate way to describe the impulse I most often feel when I look back at what it was like to be an attractive young woman from my now-enlightened but hopefully not jaded retrospective view.
Ever watched AMC's "Mad Men?" I was in on the tail end of that blatantly sexist era, and maybe sometime I'll tell you about being literally chased around his bedroom by a horrible boss I once had.
OK, then, let's move on to my next item:
Here's an illustration of how I imagine myself navigating the stormy high seas of emotions in my life this month. I'm hanging onto Him for dear life as I struggle to keep my head above water in a flood of sad memories that threatens to engulf me at times. This is my attempt to endure what I know is a difficult period for all survivors on every anniversary date of a great tragedy in their lives.
Add to the turbulent swirl of days this May yet-another unavoidable and uncelebrated date: Yesterday was my 59th birthday. The combination of "celebration" with "birthday" is an oxymoron for a woman my age, whose bathroom is so over-stocked with anti-aging lotions and potions that one would think I own stock in the company that makes Oil of Olay -- or Oil of Old Lady, as my husband called it.
My ambivalent feelings about my 59th birthday are similar to my tainted, feminist leanings toward the societal influences that shaped my mother's life and my own early days. Actually, I'm proud of making it this far and in such fairly good shape, considering how little effort I've put into living anything close to a "healthy lifestyle."
If I allowed myself to fall back into my former negative way of thinking, I'd be horrified now to be just one year away from the unbelievably ancient and dreaded six-oh, as in, "OMG, 60?" But, due to the power of positive thinking and a weird freak of nature I'm really getting into these days, my head's been rearranged and now I think of "unbelievably ancient" as 80, at least, or maybe more like 90!