BEING ME (IS THAT STILL ACCEPTABLE?)

The outer packaging is undergoing changes;

There are more wrinkles and sunspots on my skin–

my hair has thinned so much, there’s little I can

do except keep it short–and occasionally lighten

it to cover up the gray.

For a long time, I didn’t look my age and liked it

when no one could guess how old I was–but

having four sons–the youngest of whom will turn

50 next year–has taken a toll, along with upheavals in

my life and theirs.

Being me – is that still acceptable?

I certainly hope so.

I have always liked myself and never wanted to be someone else, like, say, a movie star.

I am someone who enjoys cooking and baking,

collecting cookbooks and recipes.

I started collecting free recipe booklets when I was

about ten years old–about the same age when my mother

turned me loose in the kitchen.

I began writing stories (in pencil on loose leaf notebook paper)

when I was eight or nine.  I was making up stories and telling

them to younger children, mostly on the playground at St. Leo’s

before I was old enough to write fluently.  (My first rejection slip

came from My Weekly Readers when I was in the third grade–I

knew I wanted to be a writer–I just had no idea how to make it

happen).  Explorations into poetry came later, when I was in high

school. I was never one to hang around with groups of girls in

school–but had two close friends who lived on my street, from the

time we were six or seven years old (with whom I am still in contact,

when I  go back to Ohio for a visit).

When the eighth grade girls were clustered together talking about

boys and lipstick, I’d wander off at recess to organize circle games

with first and second graders – and by the time I was ten or eleven

years old, I was going by myself downtown (in Cincinnati) to explore

thrift shops and used book stores.

And there were always my younger brothers to look after–I look at

old photographs of myself and younger brothers and cousins are

invariably in the pictures too–my arms are protectively around the

younger children in most of those old photographs. And there was

never any question in my mind that someday I would get married

and have children. I was married for 26 years and then went through

a traumatic divorce–after the divorce, I had no desire to get

married again.  I had a significant other for well over 20 years – until

he passed away from cancer in 2011.

And so, my life is comfortable and full, with one dog, one cat,

thousands of books and a lot of interests.

 

Sandra Lee Smith

Originally posted October 20, 2009/updated July 3, 2018

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