Saturday, July 25, 2009

Perception, A Terrible Thing to Waste

Oh MY GAWD why didn’t somebody tell me I had gotten old? You may or may not know but I was interviewed yesterday morning on the KTLA Morning Show. That is the Los Angeles CW station’s morning news show. It is kind of like the Today show only funnier and hipper. I was on for an essay I wrote on this story MY Worst Date, Well One of Them. Kahuna and I got up bright and early at two o’clock, yes in the morning and gussied ourselves up. We then proceeded up the Highway of Hell to the city of Lost Angels. We panicked when we were sitting completely idle on the 15 freeway at 5:45. We wandered if we would make it on time? Would the news go on without me? Would they even miss me? Well I’m happy to say we made it with time to spare and the news was able to be reported. I know big sigh of relief.

That my friends is not what this story is about but the fact that I saw myself on the TEEVEE yesterday. Do you remember the old cartoon where the woman has a size 10 foot and she keeps trying to put it in Cinderella’s size 2 glass slipper? I guess what I’m trying to tell you is my story is about perception. You see when I saw myself on the screen sitting next to some young blond thing, Jessica Holmes I said to Kahuna “Hum I wonder when that old hag is going to be off of here and I’m going to be on. Hey why is that old hag wearing my dress and saying my words?” Then I screamed and grabbed Kahuna’s arm. I had realized that old hag was me. I do not see an aging woman in my minds eye. When I look in the mirror I am still a young woman, wearing my blue eye shadow and Gloria Vanderbilt size double zero jeans, but a young woman. The woman on the screen was old enough to have been my mother, well at least in my mind. It was this awful realization that made me think of my college room mate.

My college roommate, God rest her soul, was named Viola. Now you may pronounce it anyway you want but back in Texas we pronounced it *Fie-OH-lah the emphasis on the OH. She was from a little town up in the panhandle of Texas named Muleshoe. She was a preacher’s daughter and wilder than a March hare. She was always slipping off with this boy or that to get drunk, smoke pot and do whatever college kids did back in the 1970’s. I don’t want you to think I was a total prude or a goody-two-shoes because believe me I wasn’t. I just worked all the time and didn’t get to go drinking and carousing, much. Viola though was a professional at it. She loved to get dressed up in my clothes I might add and hit the town.

Now I know you’re sitting there saying “Gladys what the heck does that have to do with perception and you being older than Methuselah? Get on with the dadgum story, dagnabbit.” (I see you’re pretty old yourself.) The problem was Viola was 5’5” and weighed in at about 160 pounds. This means that she wore a size 12. I on the other hand was Skinny Minnie weighing in at about 72 pounds on a good day and all of 4’11”. Like I said I wore a size double zero. I was tee-tiny and my roommate was trying to and often did squeeze her much larger self into my little bitty clothes. Then she would paint her lips copper penny red fluff her henna colored hair and waddle out of the room and out onto the quad all smooshed and sqooshed into my little clothes.

I am not going to lie to you she used to drive me absolutely insane. I could not for the life of me understand why she would try to wear my obviously too small clothes or why she would even go out in public looking like a badly stuffed sausage. I know you are picturing it in your mind, lumps here, flesh exploding there. It was not a pretty sight. People would stare at her and whisper. I tried telling her several times that my clothes were too small. I begged her not to wear my shiny polyester shirt with the rhinestone buttons or my Diane Von Furstenberg knock-off wrap dress but she didn’t listen. She looked in the mirror and saw Cheryl Tiegs. She saw a Supermodel and was oblivious to everything else. She was the size 10 footed woman trying to fit into Cinderella’s size 2 shoe. Not that I think or even thought I was Cinderella. Well except for having to scrub the floors and cook and clean and not getting to go to the ball, but that is a story for another day. She simply had a different perception of what she looked like than the rest of the world.

It is she, I thought of when I saw my taped interview. I thought of Viola trying to fit into my too small clothes because my perception of what I look like is so different than what I saw on that screen. What I saw was an aging woman with a fat face and no lips. Oh and by the way Farrah called and wants her hair back. What I see in my minds eye is my younger self. The tight skinned, bright eyed woman of yesterday. I have to tell you truthfully I have one mirror in my house and it hangs over my bathroom sink. I am usually the one behind the camera, not in front. I rarely stop and stare at myself in shop windows or gazing pools so I am not that familiar with the woman into which I have aged. It was down right scary and disheartening to see myself in all my sagginess up there on the screen. I now understand why there is such a run in Hollywood for plastic surgery. Why actors go into the surgeons office looking like our favorite actor and come out the other side looking like that horrible Joker from Batman, the Jack Nicholson one not the Heath Ledger one.

My perception of my looks is so different than reality and I’m okay with that. I will not be starting a plastic surgery fund nor will I be soliciting on the internet for strangers to watch the procedure for a mere forty-five thousand dollars. I won’t even as my friend Suzy Soro over at Hollywood Where Hot Comes to Die says fly off to Thailand for the five star treatments. I am who I am, saggy jowls, wrinkles and all. The woman who spoke was still me even though the visual was askew. My mind still works in the same demented and twisted way and I still have the ability to laugh and have fun. I am not saying I don’t apply the anti-sag anti-wrinkle face tightening face lifting creams but honestly you can only do so much. I mean you can’t make a silk purse out of a sows ear and you can’t make me 18 again.

So our perceptions of ourselves good or bad are usually based on what our thoughts are. Your thoughts control your beauty and how you appear to others. My case in point is what you put out there you will be. I don’t mean go buy the size double zero jeans and try to squeeze your size 12 self into them but think positive about yourself. Go look in the mirror, acquaint yourself with your sags, wrinkles, pimples, blemishes and all then perceive them as beautiful because you are. Think sexy and you’ll be sexy. Think positive and happy and you will be. Trust me on this because I’m older than Methuselah but I think I am a spring chicken.


VE said...

I know about TV realities. I saw myself on TV once and I was actually wearing a big clown outfit. WTF?!

The Texas Woman said...

Hey, at least your boobs are perky!!!

Suzy said...

I think we all think we look better than we are. The minute 10K walk into my life, I'm off to Thailand!!

Hobbs 1 said...

Dang, I'm impressed that you were on tv, saggy or not. Way to go!

Anonymous said...

I guess we all see ourselves a little differently...even when it comes to ourselves.

Did you like you "performance?"

Gladys said...

VE- I didn't know you were the star of Stephen King's "IT"

TTW- Well Thanks for noticing.

Suzy - So Suz do you think they could change me from looking like Winston Churchill into looking like Angelina Jolie?

Hobbs- Well I was happy to be on there saggy jowels and all.

MTAE- My performance was fine. It was me. It was real. It was the fact that my lips have evidently ran off to pad Angelina Jolie's lips and I have picked up Winston Churchill's face that bothered me.
It really was a hoot.

terri said...

You have a great attitude. I felt bad that you were initially a little shocked with your appearance on t.v. But you're right about just being happy with who you are. I don't know what you look like, but I know your words and they paint you as a beautiful woman. So that's who you are to me and I'm sure the same is true for everyone else who knows you as well.

Gladys said...

Terri - don't feel bad, it was just the shock of not seeing myself for the last several years and the loss of 35 pounds. Do you know how many wrinkles 35 pounds fills in?

Staci said...

As my mama used to say "pretty is as pretty does". Or was that Forrest Gumps' mama? Anyway.

I too am impressed with the TV appearance!

Girly Stuff said...

Yes, I too have moments of clarity and then I blissfully slip back into ignorance. My mind's eye view makes me much happier than the mirror in the bathroom.

That's why Snow White's stepmom talked to her mirror instead of looking in it.