Cartoon Me!

So there's this ad on Facebook that pops up every so often. Cartoon Yourself! it says. So I thought, why? Why would anyone want to cartoon themselves, except and unless they simply feel it will improve their appearance in some way. I have to admit, the cartoon images do appear quite attractive, often far more so than the original photo they show. More specifically, the process seems to perform that one elusive erases the lines. Tempting, naturally. I've got quite a few, and more keep seeming to crop up out of nowhere. So you cartoon yourself, and then that becomes your profile picture. Your friends from long ago, those with whom you recently reconnected with, don't need to know that you've aged right along with them.

I'm not really the type to spend a lot of money on expensive lotions and creams to erase the lines. So cartooning seems a pretty easy route to take. On the other hand, it's pretty much erasing the life from my face. Every line we middle aged women have is not merely a reflection of age. They are battle scars. We earn every one. And from an early age. What if, when you went for cosmetic surgery, you had to sign a consent form. Not for liability or malpractice issues, but to sign away your past. What if the doctor told you that every line he erased, would erase the event that caused it. Would anyone ever sign such a document? No way.

Each line has a story to tell. And they don't start forming when you're forty, more like when your four. The first time you were ever truly frightened, maybe a thunderstorm. Or a bad dream. That first day of school. Experiences most of us relate to, but never dwell on. They are the roots of our lines, the events in our lives that shaped us. Gave us character, or perhaps simply exposed it.

For me? I was a child of the sixties, enamored with the idea of civil rights and the beacon of hope that was Martin Luther King Jr. His senseless death shattered my idyllic world. The idea that such inspiring spirits such as he and RFK would be snuffed out in violence, to my young mind, was earth shattering. And I knew, even then, I would be changed by it.

I wore a silver ID bracelet in Junior High. It bore the name of a POW in Vietnam. We all wore them. It was all we could do. Not everyone came back. I was changed by that too. It didn't show on my face back then. Not much did. I was young. Not enough life lived yet.

There were more life lessons to learn. Having a guy break my heart for the first time. And discovering that it wasn't his to break. The early years of adulthood and marriage, trying to mesh lives and hopes and dreams and muddling through it all on a wing and a prayer.

Losing those close to me, whether at an early age, or later on. The realization that the hurt is just as powerful no matter when it happens.

The birth of my first child. When the hushed voices and eerie silence were as frightening as the words "life flight". The first time my younger child walked, and decided running would be faster and easier, within minutes of her first step. Letting go of the tricycle, then the bicycle. Holding your breath while your heart stops...for just a minute or two. And watching them take that fall. The first of many.

Every line on my face is a testament to me. To the individual that is me. To the strong, competent woman I've become. To the life I've lived, and the years yet to come.

Every line on my face tells a story. So, Cartoon Me? No thanks. I'll keep the lines, the history, the past, and every wrinkle in between.

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