In 2006, Nora Ephron, screenwriter, producer, director, journalist, playwright, author, wrote: I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman. In the book, Ms. Ephron writes about things women my age know so very well: age, loss and vanity. Her exquisite wit and talent lead the reader on a path to understand what happens to us as we age, as we start to realize that youth is fading away. The first essay is about the neck. If you haven’t read it, please do!!
When I read the book, I completely understood what she meant. I even agreed with her as I laughed out loud at her comparisons and advice. “Our faces are lies and our necks are the truth. You have to cut open a redwood tree to see how old it is, but you wouldn’t if it had a neck”, she once said. Have to say I did not disagree. After all, I have seen older women, I have seen that my neck was not the same. Still, I never considered being so preoccupied with it. I was still adjusting to other changes, my neck was not important yet.
Oh, how wrong can we be!!! Not two years after that, my neck became the center of my aging concerns. No, the worse had happened, my neck was definitely showing signs of wear and I thought everyone was looking at it!! I now know, each one of my friends was worried about her own neck and had no interest in mine. At least the ones that were real friends!! Or the ones who would not worry at all about aging, and we all have a friend like that.
I felt as Ms. Ephron did, I should have paid attention to my neck when I was young. I should have taken care of it more than my face, which could be helped with make-up and creams and other such things. Our necks, I am sorry to say, do not response all too well to those treatments. Short of surgery, there is little you can do to improve its appearance.
Her advise was to start covering your neck at 43. I was older than that when I read her book, so I was a bit late. Still, her ideas were seriously considered: wearing turtlenecks and scarves, Oriental collars à la Joy Luck Club!!! Just hilarious!!! Trust me, I have considered each one of those pieces of wisdom. Have even worn some of them, but these are just ways to ignore what is there in plain sight: our aging neck!!!
I have done facial exercises, have slept without a pillow and have used untold creams and lotions. I decided a long time ago, there would be no cosmetic surgery in my life. A couple of times, I have been tempted. The only thing I can tell you is that my fear of unnecessary pain kept me from those thoughts. I always say that if I have to suffer pain, it must be for something more than looking great: like having my C-Sections. My children were my reward.
Since starting this blog, I have changed many of my preconceived ideas and concerns. After all, once you let your hair go grey, few things frighten you about aging. On that note, I am telling Ms. Ephron: I’m sorry, regardless of what you said, I am embracing my neck. It is not that I suddenly find it attractive or I have found a miracle remedy. Sorry to say, that hasn’t happened. Probably is not in the realm of possibilities. I have not gone against my principles and had surgery either. None of that, I’ve simply decided that what I am doing is all I can do. Life continues, my neck will just have to take second place, or a place further down the line.
Creams and lotions and exercises will still be part of my daily routine. After all, I am now used to them and will missed them if I stop. My pillow will or will not be used at night. This will depend on my mood or my headaches. I am refusing to cover my neck unless it’s with a fabulous necklace or it’s cold and I need a scarf or a turtleneck. Everything that shows, I have earned. For good or for bad, what I did or didn’t do is now irrelevant. Age has its rewards and its detractions. I will consider my neck one of the latter and move on. Feels great!!
P.S. Please get the book and read through it. Your idea of aging will be greatly improved and you’ll laugh non-stop.