Age is Only a Number

As I age one more year I try to convince myself that age is only a number. Unfortunately that has proven difficult when you consider the fact that one little number has the power to define an entire person. A number can make you too young or too old, too tall or not tall enough, too heavy or too slim, too cold or too hot. It’s never “just right.” There is always something lacking, something in excess, as though infinity were perfection and non-existence the ideal. The number is never enough. It’s selfish and needy. It is always a qualifier, and sexist at that.

If you are a man, numbers encourage you to grow tall as a redwood, to generate millions, and to forget the confines of your numeric age. After all, the higher the number the more respectable you become. As a man you have the luxury to feel blasé about numbers because you define them! But what a cage those numbers are when you are a man.

If you are a woman, numbers dictate that you aim for everything that is petite, meek, and fragile, because the last thing you want is to overpower Man. Make enough money to assert your independence but not too much lest you overshadow your partner – because you can’t not have a partner. Do not have children when you are too young but hurry, you do not want to exceed your expiration date. Do not date a younger man; it will make you a pariah. Marry an older man. He will make a respectable woman out of you because his age can morph in accordance with societal expectations. He will protect you; you who are invisible.

In an ideal world these confines would not exist. Numbers would be exactly what they are: abstract theoretical concepts dreamt by philosophers in their pursuit of knowledge. And, since it’s an ideal world these abstract symbols would not be linked to oppressive gender roles because gender would not be oppressive. Unfortunately, it’s not an ideal world. The abstract has been qualified and associated with everything that should never have been qualified.

So here I am, valiantly defying society’s gendered terms of aging one wrinkle, gray hair, and unused ovum at a time, wondering what wisdoms this year will bring.

———
“Age is Only a Number” by Azul Serena

Typical

How typical of me to let go of the thing I want most
As though it were sand running through my fingers
And water draining through a strainer.
More typical yet when I justify my listlessness
With a shrug of my shoulder and a heavy sigh from my soul.

———
“Typical” by Azul Serena

Untitled

There are mornings when the sun looks dim and your lips feel distant,
When I question the existence of your whispered words,
And wonder if the freckle on your nose and the smiling crinkle of your eyes
Are a falsehood of my mind.

On days like these the caress of your touch destroys my fraying nerves,
And the sweetness of your tongue poisons the murmur of your voice.
It’s on days like these that I succumb to the uncertainty of love
And twist the whispered truth behind your words into whispered horrors of the night.

But, this all ends when you hold me close as we lay in bed.
When the shelter of your arms shields me from the inkwell of the moon,
The steady rhythm of your sleeping breath drives away my fears, and
Your scented warmth lures my timid fingers toward the sinews of your soul.

When every word is imagined, every gesture is magnified, and every sentiment is contorted,
The only antidote becomes the very thing I doubt: your love.

— — —
“Untitled” by Azul Serena

The Asterisk

“I promise that I will always protect and defend you from any and all aggressors.”* – Father to Daughter

*Unless of course that aggressor happens to be male and I agree that he should use aggression to set you straight. But you don’t need to know this right now because the only time you’ll need to know this is when you need to be set straight. Fortunately for you, I’ve raised the perfect submissive daughter so your aggressor will never have to become your aggressor. Thus the promise remains.

It’s funny how promises work. They’re always offered as a perfect olive branch to any and all problems no matter the size or the gravity of the problem. Unfortunately, no one ever really stops to analyze the undertones of a promise because they’re usually too vulnerable to accept anything other than a flimsy promise.

I learned early in my life that a promise’s worth is dependent solely on the value that the granter of the promise is willing to extend upon that promise. For this reason, I promised myself – funny how these things work – that I would never, ever make any promises to anyone. Why? Because the way I saw it, if I had the time to shroud my actions in a promise then surely I could use that time to simply act on my promise; and if I didn’t want to do something I’d simply say no and avoid the trouble of breaking my promise at a later time. Quite frankly the whole process saves everyone time, embarrassment, and pain.

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