I am afraid, this morning, of my face.

I have been trying to write something about aging for weeks and weeks now, and I just can’t seem to formulate my thoughts into appropriately blogworthy non-gibberish.

Or is all that stuff in my head thoughts, exactly? I don’t know. Maybe it’s more like a bunch of clumsy impressions. Sort of like when you can see massive Koi Carp drifting around a grubby pond, but can’t get a proper look at them. Fishfeelings. Actually, that’s exactly what the impressions are like; although maybe they’re not Koi Carp, maybe they’re actually Pike. Or Piranha.

The truth is,  I am scared shitless of aging.  I can’t believe how for-granted I have taken Smooth-Faced Me – I see that now – now that I am about to lose her. I just don’t know how I am going to cope with the approaching sag-fest. I just can’t begin to understand who the hell the new crinkly version of me is going to be. How will the crinkly version interact with the world when she is invisible? Because that’s what happens to women once they get a bit crinkly, isn’t it. They become a sort of homogenous cluster of anonymous upholstered shopping bag carriers that function mainly as obstacles on pavements impeding the progress of the important and beautiful.

I am EXACTLY on the cusp of becoming one of those forgotten crinkled ladies. At the moment I have a few very minor lines around the eyes – nothing dramatic or that I can’t pass off as the result of plenty of laughing and smiling benignly at passers-by – but definitely there. I had a taste of things to come, though, a couple of weeks ago in Plymouth Travelodge when I awoke with a proper actual crease under my left eye. An ACTUAL folded bit of face. When I prodded it, it didn’t vanish. IT STAYED THERE. Even when I pointed it out to my two much younger friends and they stared at it with the bemused (smooth) faces of the very un middle-aged and poked it a little, it just remained there, like someone had deliberately ironed me badly for a prank.

“It’s OK, you’re probably just dehydrated” my friends said, reassuringly. They were obviously using “dehydrated” as a euphemism for “old”, but I did buy a bottle of water just in case and blundered around the pavements of Plymouth exactly like an upholstered obstacle trying to come to terms with my new face while they searched for somewhere to breakfast. By the time we found a pub-full-of-murderers for our morning repast, my wrinkle had vanished, but the damage to my idea of myself was done. The ghost of that wrinkle is still hovering around my face. I can hear it gently cackling to itself, spectral shopping bags rustling. It is only a matter of time.

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