"When I turned 30, I decided I was going to go get some fancy wrinkle cream from the department store," my mum told me. "But then I had cramps, so... I didn't bother again". She told me this while laughing, an indication of how many fucks my mum doesn't give to beauty standards of femininity, which is one of the many reasons she's a great role model.
Turning 30 seems to be a harbinger of doom for many women, something I can't say I understand. I've looked forward to getting older my whole life- wrinkles, spots, hairs on my upper lip and all (which, mind, I got started on early- I grew my first whisker at 27 and was overjoyed). There's loads of bucket lists, particularly for women, of glamourous things, intelligent things, charitable things they want to do before they turn 30 and are, I have to assume, taken out. I was unaware that we lived in Logan's Run, but hey.
Well, I hit 30 and nothing changed. My boyfriend was not suddenly repulsed, I didn't become wiser, I continue to get catcalled on the street and I continue to scream obscenities back. I still fall asleep with my makeup on because I'm still too lazy to remove it before bed.
Maybe it's because I have a fat body that I didn't really feel pressure to beautify myself EVEN MORE now that I'm 30. Being fat is a great shield for that sort of thing, in a way, because fat folks learn to brush off comments about stretch marks, cellulite, jiggly upper arms and muffintops every damn day. When every day people comment on how dissatisfactory your body is, you learn to tune them out as best you can. Hopefully you gain the strength to get those people out of your life.
I was inspired to write this in part because of a piece in Vice by Molly Crabapple on her experience turning 30. She says how she doesn't get propositioned anymore, now that she's the magic number. i'm envious of her invisibility, something I certainly don't have regardless of my age. I will still get inappropriate propositions, I will still get harassed in the street. The major difference is I've developed the willingness to fight back- but I had to develop that early, at 22, 23, because men would consistently push me into situations I didn't want to be in, because women would continuously touch my stomach and ask for my due date. I couldn't afford to wait til 30 to grow a backbone, which is good, cause I imagine I'll get harassed for the rest of my life. That's just part of being a fat woman, where having a fat body is seen as an invitation for society to comment, touch, and cross boundaries.
So far, my 30th year has seen me become a lot more driven than I've been... well, really since my breakdown. So far, I've written the Consent Culture book pitch, been working as the social media/PR girl for TroubleFilms, socialized with friends more often than I have for a while, worked out every day (and can now touch my toes), been writing more often and for pay, and only had one cigarette (and bought none). My life has gotten better on most counts, which is fabulous. But it's not because of or in spite of my age, it's just part of the process.
I will say that Olivia Wilde wrote a great piece in the "advice for turning 30" vein, with decently good advice. But you know what? I really genuinely don't think that there's things you should feel limited about doing or wearing once you've been on the planet for 30 years. You can be awesome your entire adult life; it's ok to enjoy having fun and being responsibly hedonistic whatever your age. Stop looking to the media as a guide on how to behave, for fuck's sake. Or, if you NEED a role model, consider Maude, who is one of the most compelling and interesting female characters ever to be on screen. Her beauty and playfulness radiates, and THAT'S what I want to be like as I grow older.
Also, I'm frankly relieved to not have to dig out my ID anymore, it's a pain in the ass.
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