You’re never too old…
Twenty-five years ago, more than almost anything (except a farm and a horse), I wanted to dye my hair light green and pierce my nose.
Unfortunately, twenty-five years ago, I was waiting tables and back then, there wasn’t a restaurant around (at least not in my neighborhood) where I could get away with green hair and a nose ring. Having double pierced ears was pushing it—so when I saw someone with a tragus piercing and thought “man, that’s cool” that was out, too. (The tragus is a part of the ear; it’s that little nubby thing that juts out from your face back toward the ear.)
Although I would still love to live on a farm and have horses, twenty-five years later, I’m a bit wiser, and a lot more practical. That’s why back in January, I traded in my upside down mortgage on a house that I’d never especially liked for a hundred year old fixer-upper in Detroit that will be paid off in another couple of months. (Hubby isn’t very handy, but his family is awesome! Dad used to be a carpenter and both he and my brother in law are pretty good with plumbing and electrical work.) It’s finally mostly fixed up (or at least fixed up enough to move into). Good by suburbia, hello city! (I really don’t understand suburban culture. I love country and I love the city. That in-between place has never been a good fit for me.)
You’re never too old to figure out where you belong and find a way to be there.
Last week on my blog, I talked a little bit about my life, love, and happiness, although mostly I ended up focusing on my recent weight loss effort. Since March, I’ve dropped about forty five pounds. I have about thirty more to go, but I’ll be deciding what the “right weight” is when I get there. Eighteen years ago, I had a baby; ten years ago, I had major surgery in my abdominal region. Between the two, things aren’t quite where they used to be when I was eighteen and weighed a hundred and fifteen pounds (which is twenty pounds lighter than my tentative weight goal of one thirty-five). But regardless of what the scale reads or how unattractive that great big scar across my mid-section is, next summer, I’m wearing a bikini—because you’re never too old to wear a bikini.
I’m also going to buy that corset I’ve been wanting for years, but was never quite ready to spend the money on because I want a nice one made with steel boning. (And seriously, the scar has never bothered me. I would much rather have had the surgery that left me with it than died.)
And you are definitely never too old to wear a corset—or whatever other kind of clothing you want to wear. Little by little, I’m creating a wardrobe of clothes that fit me. The real me. The one inside who internalized that “forty year old women don’t dress like that” and “fat girls don’t look good with short hair.”
Last week, I went out and got my nose pierced. I’m making an appointment in the near future to get my tragus pierced and I’m going to talk to the guy about re-piercing my second and third ear-lobe holes. (I’m really not sure if it’s advisable since they’ve been closed/semi-closed for over fifteen years, the first five of which were spent with a man who did everything in his power to squash my spirit. And I allowed him a lot of spirit-squashing power. Actually, I’ve given a lot of people a lot of spirit-squashing power over the years. I’ve decided to take it back.)
Because you’re never too old to get that piercing you’ve always wanted. You’re never too old to reclaim your inner child. You’re never too old to take back the power that you gave away to someone that you thought would treasure it.
Two months ago, I dyed my hair fuchsia. Last month, I dyed it bright blue with fuchsia bangs.
Because you are never too old to dye your hair that funky color you’ve always wanted—assuming your boss won’t fire you. Since I work for myself, there’s little danger of that! (Being older and a little bit wiser, I realized the up-keep on pale green hair would be a pain in the butt; I didn’t want to have to do my roots every two weeks. The blue is darker, so my roots stay camouflaged longer.)
Four years ago, I published my first novel with Dreamspinner Press. I write slow, so at the moment I only have three books out (and a novella I’m serializing on my blog, and a non-fiction book with Clerisy Press. Oh, and a house I’ve been fixing up since January!) I’ve been writing since I was in the second grade. I always thought I was pretty good at it, but once upon a time, I let someone tell me I wasn’t good enough to publish.
He was wrong.
You are never too old to pursue your dreams. Yes, some are more realistic than others; I have to live within the confines of a forty five year old body that I should have taken better care of.
But it’s never too late to start taking care of yourself.
Every one of us has a person buried inside who has internalized the message of “can’t” and “shouldn’t.” Our parents, our teachers, even our friends tell us what we should and shouldn’t be doing with our lives. But what they fail to remember—what we sometimes fail to remember is that only you can live your life.
So this year, I’m going to write more (after I get my office at the new house sorted). Next year, I’m going to Rainbow Con. I’ll be wearing that bikini in the pool and that corset at the masquerade ball. I’ll probably still have blue hair (I kinda fried when I bleached it to do the blue—which I’ve never done before, but I sort of started writing a hot sex scene and forty minutes later…. My stylist, who is utterly amazing and saw right through my suburban housewife disguise the first time he had me in his chair, made faces while assessing the damage that you never want to see your hair dresser making. And then he gave me the most awesome cut in the world—in fact, it’s the cut I’d wanted a year and a half prior, but the woman I saw the first time only saw suburban housewife and gave me a nice, tame, boring do.)
And by the way: it’s never too late to surround yourself with the people who can see you for who you are and appreciate you for who you are. The people who will support your dreams and goals. Even if you’ve known those people who say “can’t” and “shouldn’t” for years, if they’re not actively supporting you, it may be time to re-evaluate those relationships.
Never lament the years you think you “wasted” on this or that—those years and the lessons you learned brought you to where you are today. The scars on your body, your soul, and your heart shaped you—created you. I wish I’d started writing seriously sooner—but who I am today, who I was when I started, is the only version of me who could have written the stories I’ve written, stories I believe in and characters I love. They come from my heart and my soul.
No matter how old or young you are, it is never too late to start living your life for you.
I live with my husband and children (both human and four-footed) in Detroit, MI. The city has a lot to offer—and a long way to go, but if we all start working together, we can get there. Although I grew up in the suburbs, I love the city. I do volunteer work with AIDS Partnership Michigan, which just moved its offices to the amazing Fisher Building downtown. In addition to being a hotline operator, I do neighborhood outreach and am very happy to be participating in AIDS Walk Detroit this year.
If you want to find out more about that, or anything else, please visit my website: helenpattskyn.com
Although it’s been about a year since I’ve put a book out, I recently wrote a novella that I’m putting out in serial format, a chapter per week, on my blog. Tentacles and Chain contains some seriously dubious consent, explicit m/m sex, a virgin merman, sensual tentacles (I had to promise my daughter that “no” it doesn’t read like Japanese tentacle porn!), a little BDSM, and a big sappy, happy ending. (Which isn’t a spoiler if you know me; HEA is all I write.) A new chapter comes out every Saturday; if you miss a chapter, there’s a link on my blog to the archive site.
(And don't forget to have a look at these as well!)