Evolving

No filter, no makeup, just Kerry

Until I moved to the USA, I had no idea that some people did not believe in the concept of evolution.  Charles Darwin and some brave predecessors deciphered the basic tenets of evolution despite wide dissent.  His book ‘On the Origin of Species’ was a masterpiece although undoubtedly flawed.  As more fossils of every species are uncovered our knowledge changes and develops. The virus Covid-19 is a master of change, evolution and mutation.  The sadness of a pandemic is that we are all affected – two members of my family have died from Covid-19.  One was 22 years old.

With intolerable mass shootings in the States and rising violence throughout the world, one can see that the effects of the Pandemic ripple out.  A tsunami is barely noticeable at sea until it hits the shore with devastating results.  Not everything about ‘now’ is negative.  Most of us have stopped and smelled the flowers.  Our gardens or plant pots are better cared for than they ever were.  Our pets and garden animals are subject to our endless gazes or affection.

Quarantine started at a pivotal time in my life.  Last year I turned 60 years old; officially becoming a senior. My husband is retiring this month and our lives will turn a new corner.  I doubt I would have paid much attention to sexagenarian status without the Pandemic.  In my denial, there would have been endless fashion posts, new makeup and exciting hair colors.  Instead, we all slumped into loungewear and natural skin.  At first that felt great but now it is boring yet comfortable.

I have a mild form of body dysmorphia and rarely see the truth in the mirror.  Curiously, when I was obese, I thought I looked fine and now I always want to be slimmer/younger/prettier.  I am not alone, supermodel Pauline Porizkova recently stated that she was somewhere between Jennifer Lopez and Betty White; referencing the invisibility that older women feel.  What is wrong with ageing?  It should be something we aspire to but modern society is consumed by the idea of eternal youth.

It doesn’t help that this last year has made most of us look a little older; the stress shows in our furrowed brows.  A smile would change our visage but it is masked.  Now we look out for crinkling around the eyes to see that someone is smiling at us.  In this new thoughtful phase of my personal evolution, I am beginning to accept that I am an attractive older woman.  Young men won’t whistle anymore but I get appreciative glances from older men who also feel sad about ageing.  My mother was a beautiful woman who aged gracefully.  A neighbor once made the cruelest comment to me referencing my mother, “Isn’t it sad when beautiful women age?”

My personal evolution is deeper than that.  I mentioned in the previous post, Change is Inevitable, that I didn’t like what I saw behind my eyes.  If you asked a friend to describe me, the words kind and funny might be said.  During self reflection during sequestration the following words seemed more apt.  Impatient, testy, judgmental, insular, anti-social, fussy, undeviating and unkind.  Was I a good manager or am I inflexible?  Am I a good friend or wife?  Not always.  I could blame my mental illness for some negative elements of my personality but that is disingenuous.  In my life, I have met so many mentally ill people who were adorable, the opposite or somewhere betwixt.

Prior to the pandemic, I worked, volunteered and was social.  When we first moved overseas, I made a huge effort to be social and get involved with my community.  This continued with the move to Texas but it is not my natural self.  I struggle with small talk, coffee mornings or girl’s nights out.  WordPress has been a source of comfort for me to meet like-minded people.  Quarantine gave me the perfect excuse to retreat to my nest with my bonded mate and I know how lucky we are.  So, what is the outcome of this reflection?  I am going to try to be a better person to everyone I know.  My base personality will remain the same but I can be thoughtful, gentler, compassionate and sweeter.  My evolution has not finished and wouldn’t life be dull if it did?

This is a Pizzly Bear (courtesy of BBC)

Climate change is affecting all species, in particular the Polar Bear. As the world warms, Grizzly Bears are moving further north and interacting with Polar Bears. In a wonderful turn of events, they are interbreeding and their hybrid cubs are fertile. They are the same species but one is brown and the other white. All of homo sapiens were brown before the diaspora from Africa. Those who went furthest north developed fair skin, over generations, to allow their skin to access essential Vitamin D from the weaker sun’s rays. You could describe this as a mutation or evolution. I identify with the Pizzly Bear, we are both of mixed race, have wrinkles and we are BEAUTIFUL!

My Wedding Dress

30th Wedding Anniversary

I married in 1982, one year after Princess Diana.  Many of the dresses of that period look dated but my lucky bargain dress stayed stylish and beautiful.  This photo (set) was a gift to Teddy on our 30th wedding anniversary – 6 years ago.  My wedding dress had not been cleaned in all those years and had traveled across continents.  It was in a plastic bag in our attic in Texas and after I lost weight, I decided to try it on.  It looked amazing so I took it my local dry cleaner who made it like new for less than $10.  It is ivory satin with tulle and Belgian cotton lace on the bottom.  I was struggling to find a wedding dress in Scotland because my skin is really more sallow than it looks.  All the bright white dresses washed me out.  Finally, my mum and I went to Fraser’s department store in Glasgow and found this dusty ballgown (not a wedding dress) reduced from 100 to 15 GBP.  Even then that was a steal.

As soon as the photographs were taken, I took the dress to my local thrift store so that some other lucky bride could enjoy it.  I felt somewhat guilty for having ignored it for the previous 30 years… Below is the dress on the original day, 19 July 1982.

Teddy and Bunny, with our Mums at our side in 1982

So this is the original color of my hair and also Teddy’s glorious blonde hair.  My hair is naturally curly and covered in confetti.  My mum had sewn up the low cut neckline for modesty but the stitches burst open as soon as I stepped (elegantly) out of the taxi.  At least Teddy and his grand-dad looked really happy at the view!  I was 21 but looked like a teenager – nervous about marrying a virtual stranger and living in a new country.

The anniversary photographer had a make-up artist so I posed for a variety of shots.  Teddy proudly displays them in his office and delights in visitors saying “Is that your wife??”  Yes, she is. ❤

Teddy’s looking younger!

Teddy and Bunny

Teddy and I took an olde worlde selfie last week with the timer on a camera. My girlfriends in Scotland had met up last weekend and had sent photos of them enjoying themselves. There were a few ‘refreshments’ imbibed… With my recent ill health I had been reluctant to take selfies. My body dysmorphia has been worse of late and when I look in the mirror I see the older version of Charlize Theron in the movie Snow White and the Huntsman.

Teddy is also unable to see what an attractive man he is – who does not look like he has just turned 59 years old (I will be 57 in a few months). We met when I was 21 and I was astonished that he had not dated half of Glasgow. Even his aunt thought he was gay! Had I not predated him, I doubt we would be married for 35 years. I thought he was cool and uninterested but he thought he had met the girl of his dreams. We were engaged within 3 months and married after 11 months leading to family theories of pregnancy. I have still to whelp…🐕🐶🐕

He is definitely looking younger of late however and I have a theory about that. From our mid 50s we have been having a wonderful time, both relaxed at work and travelling the world together. Then the oil slump came and life changed dramatically. We both have new jobs that can be stressful with horrible commutes. We are working in more challenging environments using different skillsets, with new colleagues. As difficult as that has been, the silver lining is that we both look a little younger than our real ages. We try to make life at home as stress free as possible and rarely socialize with other people. Time is too precious to spend with anyone else but each other.

The icing on the cake is that Teddy won an award at the Offshore Technology Conference (Oil) for his part in writing a paper whilst working at the company that laid him off. Isn’t life ironic? More fool them. I get stressed when I am working events but funny moments make it all worthwhile. When waiting for some guests the other day, I was sitting with a lovely young colleague chatting. A Ukrainian limo driver was really staring at me and eventually he said, “I know you”. I responded that he probably knew me from the airport. No, he insisted that I looked really like someone from the old country. He moved the other side but kept staring at ‘those eyes’. I burst out laughing and said, “Would you like a photograph?” Later that day a Lebanese silver fox told me that he and his wife were like sister and brother. Uh oh – time to stop flirting!!

The night the photograph was taken we went out for an ‘early bird supper’ and I was concerned that last year’s dress from Ross was too short. You can see how it rides up in the photograph. We popped into Walgreens on the way back and both of the beauty assistants told me how lovely I looked. It was the perfect end to a lovely evening out with my honey.