You, instead

Screen Shot 2013-04-03 at 12.00.09 PMFor you,

This used to be easier, didn't it? I think it used to be easier. I'm pretty sure it was once-upon-a-time a little less hard.

I'm tired. I'm tired in that way that settles around the eyes and reveals just a little too much, a little too soon. Tired in that way that lacks imagination--that can't imagine anything changing, ever.

I've grown into my adult face. At some point between the majority of twenty-six and the last few months I got my adult face. I almost didn't notice, it's a really subtle change. My cheeks are so full (and yes,  I'm sure as I age I'll be ever-more-grateful for just how big they are) but they are ever-so-slightly-less-big, ever-so-slightly-less-full. The outline of my face is a little bit leaner, a little bit harder.

I went out with some girlfriends recently and we had one of those New York nights that's governed by nothing more than the overriding principle of what-the-hell. And so when two Croatian "aesthetic" surgeons (specializing in rhinoplasty) sat down next to us, we let them. And when they toppled a single glass of wine with little left, we allowed them to buy three more. And when they guessed our ages (accurately) I then demanded to know just how it was they knew I was two years older. And the one said, The lines on either side of your mouth are deeper.

He might have used more clinical, professional (accurate) terms, but I knew what he meant.

It became one of the jokes of the weekend--me and my deepening smile lines.

It did used to be easier.

I've run out of things to say. Or maybe just the courage to say them. Yes, maybe that's it. Maybe it's that I've forgotten what it felt like to do this--to write, to imagine, to leap into a future without small and unkind people saying small and unkind things--not the doctor, but the people who come and read these words and think me so terrible because of them.

I know this feeling will pass. And I know I'll get my courage back. And I know I'll figure out how to care a little less about the small cruelties of others. But today I do. And today it's hard.

The thing is, I like my deepening smile lines. I like my older, now adult face. And so maybe it does get harder, and maybe am I little more tired, but maybe those things are just products of reaching in the direction of the life I want.

Of which you are a part.

So forget the small and unkind and cruel naysayers, I'll take you instead.