By Claudia Caramiello of Word Blush
All over the internet I’m being bombarded with articles on how fabulous and fierce being 40 is. Women everywhere are loving this time of their lives, embracing the middle-age spread, feeling freer and sexier than ever before and rolling their near-sighted eyes at the thought of their former insecure selves. These women have left their thirties in the dust, blazed forward bravely into a new decade, relishing the role of a confident, arrived woman. Meanwhile, I’m sitting in front of a magnifying mirror plucking course hair out of my chin.
Did I miss a memo? Your forties are supposed to be great?
I’m two years into this over forty club that magazines and websites alike tote as the place to be, and I have to admit, I’m a little less than thrilled with this decade.
I entered my forties with a positive attitude, threw myself a party complete with hilarious, self-mocking invitations, and even booked a once in a lifetime vacation to a chic seaside in Costa Rica. I had high hopes that this decade would blow my selfish twenties and exhausting, hard-momming thirties away, and I would finally be able to say I, too, have arrived.
What has arrived instead is a shitload of embarrassing and very vexing problems. Let’s discuss.
1. Saggy Boobs—Once when I was 20, a guy tried hitting on me by telling me I had beautiful eyes, all the while staring at my chest. Being young, bold, and built like Salma Hayek, I batted my lashes and coyly answered, “Well, they’re nothing compared to my hooters.” If I attempted that line now, I wouldn’t be able to keep a straight face. Neither would the guy. Do you know what happens to giant knockers after they’ve been nursed on by two voracious boys? Picture tennis balls in tube socks. Since I’ve hit my forties, my nipples have been pointing south, saying hello to my sensible shoes. It’s not pretty, and neither are the bra choices for my deflated fun bags. The perky, young B cups have all the fun, while I’m in the corner tugging at band-aid beige bra straps.
2. Increased Facial Hair—I’ve always sported a little mustache. I’m Italian, no big deal. What I wasn’t expecting was not only the increase of coarseness of my stache, but matching chin hairs as well. Often I’ll think that I’ve got them all out, but then do a quick check in my car mirror only to find more hairs jutting out proudly. I now have to carry a Tweezerman slant in my glove compartment. Some mornings my 14-year-old son and I are side by side, defuzzing our upper lips. He’s thrilled he gets to use a razor on his face; me, not so much.
3. Unsightly Belly Fight Is Real—When I was in my thirties, I started noticing an onslaught of commercials asking, “Do you struggle with stubborn belly fat?” Every fitness magazine had a section geared strictly to belly fat, and every diet promised to melt this mysterious layer of fat that I never had to deal with. I was never a skinny girl, usually falling somewhere between a 10 and a 14, but my fat seemed evenly distributed. Big ass, big thighs, pendulous boobs. Now?! Every damn extra pound has decided to take up real estate around my middle. Everything is tight and I look like I’m five months pregnant. I’ve tried planks, paleo, and portion control, but then I find an errant grey nipple hair, get depressed and shove a Nutella crepe in my pie hole.
4. One Word: SCIATICA—This past June, my son graduated from 8th grade and I threw him a party complete with a DJ who cranked out hits of 2017, most of which made me want to gouge out my eardrums. Sorry, Avenged Sevenfold. At one point I heard a familiar thumping bass and my hips immediately recognized the tune: Queen’s Another One Bites The Dust. I didn’t give a rat’s prickly ass that I was in a room full of young-ins, I shook my wide bottom as if I were back in high school, dancing my heart out and embarrassing my son to boot. It was great, until a few days later when I attempted to get out of bed and realized, crap, I can’t walk. I ended up in the ER getting shot up with steroids in my bum by a much younger male nurse and hobbling around for a week like the oldster I am.
5. Perimenopause—I had a friend over for wine one night and she remarked on how crampy and weepy she was. Not having to use a tampon in 8 months, I was perplexed. “You mean your period?” I asked. She nodded. A wave of envy washed over me as I pictured my friend shopping for overnight pads the size of a Cadillac. Before you question my sanity because I’m shedding tears over the loss of my flow, allow me to invite you into the world of Perimenopause, where you are not so old, but your eggs—the ones you have left—are using wheelchairs. I probably wasn’t actually going to have that third child, but I wanted to be the one to make that decision, not my ovaries. I knew my eggs had an expiration date, but I didn’t think the shelf life would be quite so short. The end of baby making days coupled with mood swings and hot flashes so intense that you’d think I just left a hotel room with Norman Reedus leave me longing for the days of bloat, leaks, and labor-like cramps. Remember that episode in the Golden Girls where Blanche goes through the change and Sophia tells her that she’ll grow a beard? She wasn’t kidding.
I hate to be the complainer in a room filled with self-assured forty-somethings in slouchy boyfriend jeans and statement tees, but I find myself a bit lost trying to navigate a decade that was supposed to be my best. Perhaps my fifties will be filled with more confidence and less sweating. Lord knows, it’s right around the corner.
About the Author
Claudia Caramiello is a writer whose work has appeared on Scary Mommy, Bluntmoms, Elephant Journal, Tribe Magazine and Her View From Home. She survives single motherhood on caffeine, fantasizing about Norman Reedus, and eating icing out of the can. Claudia lives in New Jersey with her adorable, albeit ball busting sons. Find her on Facebook at Espresso and Adderall, at Wordblush.com, and on Instagram at Mom_Be_Trippin.