Written by contributor Mallory Green
Black Don’t Crack
On February 17, I turned 28 years old.
A lot of people have anxieties about getting older. I don’t, really. Actually, let me take that back. I do. But for me, my fear is getting older and not having anything to show for it. I live in Chicago and I work heavily in the world of theatre. This means that I don’t have a ton of money. I’m afraid of living my whole life under the poverty line. No money, no assests. Besides this fear, I’m quite happy with getting older. I look forward to being in my 30s. I see it as an exciting adventure, much like my 20s have been so far, but with more… assuredness.
My mother is 64, and is quite ok with getting older. In her words, “The only way to not get older is to die, and I’m not trying to do that.”
Now, if you’re black, have black friends, or encounter black ladies at the grocery store, I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase, “black don’t crack.” I say it all the time. But is this really true?
Look, it’s not like I’ve done extensive research on the issue, but what I do know is that the black women in my family look good! All of my aunts are in their 60’s and they have skin as radiant as Moses descending a mountain with a couple of stone tablets. Not to mention the legions of older black actresses who all look exceptionally unseasoned.
So what is their secret? Genetics? A secret skin regime?
These questions popped up in my head because in the past few months, I’ve become increasingly more aware of how my face has changed over time. I don’t look bad (good God, I’m only 28), just different.
I look like a 28 year old, and honestly, I think that’s awesome. It just weirds me out that I perceive myself as looking very different.
So this spawned something a little crazy. On the morning on my birthday I woke up, and went to Walgreen’s, where I proceeded to buy $60 worth of anti-aging products. With every item that I picked up I thought, “This is ridiculous,” but I still bought them, every one.
There are a million and one things besides anti-aging crap that I could have spent my $60 on. But at the time, it seemed imperative. In the mirror, I see this face that I happen to like—but am afraid of it changing again. In the back of my head, I was hoping to freeze in my 28 year old face forever. Of course, that isn’t going to happen.
Maybe I’m writing this blog post to myself, so that I don’t go over the deep end. There are so many beautiful, extraordinary, exceptional women in the world whose happiness is blocked by their distress about aging. I don’t want that for myself. Maybe I need to change the way that I think about my face’s metamorphosis. Maybe my face looks different than it did 4 years ago because today I know more. It may have changed because today I am more confident and self-assured. And I know for sure that I love myself today, more than I did when that earlier picture was taken. And maybe that’s what showing up on my face.
To read more of Mallory’s writing please feel free to visit www.MallorySSTP.tumblr.com
If you’d like to contribute to wearingmyblackness.com contact me at wearingmyblackness [at] gmail [dot]com.
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