I turned 50 last year. I’m not afraid of the fact that this year I will be fifty-one, you see I had an out-of-body experience that put the rest of my life and my reality in true perspective. It was an epiphany, a metamorphosis, a change that occurred in a way that I can neither forget nor believe, but occurred nevertheless.
You see, I had been telling myself I was turning fifty for weeks. I had practiced saying it aloud to my friends, and even begun preparing my wardrobe for my golden celebration. But I had not really been prepared for the shock the true reality would be, you see I discover at the very moment I stood in the mirror on the morning of my fiftieth birthday, that what I had been looking at for the last thirty years of my life had not really been there.
It began shortly after I turned twenty. I was a bombshell, a brick shit house, a live in surround sound diva with a trail of men, romance, seduction, and adventure that oftentimes felt like something out of one of those tasteless novels written for women filled with undercover pornographic references and a loosely orchestrated story-lines that felt a lot like the fairy tales young girls are often fond of, without the sex of course. I wielded my seductive prowess like a thick miasma, an overpowering erotic smoke. Men fell like flies, into my trap, and I reveled in the sheer perfection of my power, the only goal being their adoration and attention.
In that time, ten years passed.
At thirty, I was a confident, successful business women. Seduction was no longer a toy, but a tool to use to encourage men to do the things I needed or wanted to have done. I climbed the corporate ladder on the backs of unsuspecting victims, and paraded their conquests through the halls of financial wizardry. I played them like a deck of marked cards and peeled away their resources leaving them bare to the exposure of others who would later either redeem or destroy them.
But midway between the next decade, I realized something that I had not thought of in the beginning; I would one day want a mate or companion of my own. I didn’t need to have children if it didn’t happen, but I didn’t want to be alone for the rest of my life and I certainly didn’t want anything like the men I had taken advantage of in the past. I redirected my focus to find someone I thought was worthy of my time, someone who would be willing and able to deal with all the nuances of my personality and still be capable of meeting my needs. In short order I discovered the imaginary beast was not to be found.
By the time I hit forty I had dated and had relationships with a variety of men. I was still single, by choice, but looking. I eventually met a decent man, though I had ceased to be searching for the ideal mate, and we were married. We had decided against children, and I did not feel this was a difficulty at first. He had assured me that it was not something he needed to have, but since when did anyone need children.
By the time he got the seven-year itch, we had been married five years, and suddenly he wanted to have a baby. I guess he was feeling his mortality. Whatever.
“Are you out of your mind?” I asked, in complete disbelief.”Do you know how hard it is to have a baby at my age? Aside from having to take time out from my job, wreck my body, and be totally responsible for the needs of another person, there are also some possible health dangers.”
He looked at me and shrugged and answered,”It was just a thought.”
He left it at that, or at least he appeared to leave it. Several months later I discovered he had not left it at all, simply taken it somewhere else more receptive. I was furious, but not really in a position to complain, especially since he had asked and I had flat-out denied him the opportunity.
The little girl was born a few weeks before I turned forty-seven. Our divorce was final before she turned one, and the second child was on its way. When he remarried I was forty-nine. Now I know they say it’s hard for a woman to find a man after the age of forty, but it’s not impossible. I still had options.
But on the morning of my fiftieth birthday I looked into a full length mirror and suddenly all that I had thought I had been flashed in front of me. The bombshell who had thought men were toys, was simply a quick and easy lay, a way for the men in the fast lane to get their rocks off without the inconvenience of a commitment. The ball busting corporate siren was simply a gold digger earning privileges on her back rather than really riding the backs of the successes of the men she thought she was using. The high-classed, self-assured, open-minded professional stood before me next, but when I saw the way too superficial, judgmental, prude who thought she was too good to marry an ordinary man and watched her turn into the painfully bitter, newly divorced, middle-aged harpy, I nearly burst into tears.
But suddenly I looked into the mirror and what I saw shocked and surprised me. There was nothing there but a fifty year old woman. Smart, industrious, and a survivor of a mirage she had been living in for thirty years. When it disappeared, all she had left was the rest of her life, and all she could do was live and enjoy it for what it was.
If you spend all of your life trying to take advantage of what others have, you may wake one day to discover that of all you had, there was nothing left of your own to enjoy.
I will be fifty-one this year, and I look forward to discovering what new things life has to offer.
The Mirage © DJuna Blackmon 2015, All Rights Reserved