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Image: Ali Syaaban

The other day, I came across a photo of myself, and noticed that my face looked different. I couldn’t quite figure out what it was. My face looked sharper, more angular, a little harsher. I looked… older. When that word surfaced in my consciousness, my initial response was to panic. Am I starting to look old? Am I old? I’ve always felt old, but always with a sense of pride at my crotchety, grumpy-old-man temperament. But that was only cute by contrast of looking like an 18-year-old.

Vanity is the quicksand of reason, George Sand once said. God, did she get it. (If you haven’t heard of George, she was a French writer in the nineteenth century that dressed like a man, smoked cigars, and dated men and women openly, so look her up). And quicksand is a perfect comparison. The more you struggle against it, the harder it is. Thus far, getting older hadn’t bothered me much. Every year has brought with it new joys and understanding. I liked being in my late twenties. But looking like it was something different. The hourglass had flipped; I felt it right in my stomach. I felt the sand start to drop, felt my youth and vanity start to slip without any concern for my feelings, and fall through my outstretched fingers. …

For the first time in a long time, I feel calm.

It is not my nature. Since the beginning, I’ve been a hurricane of a human. Especially as a child. I wanted to do everything and be everything and never have to choose one path in particular. And so I was an actress, an artist, a singer (I couldn’t sing) and a construction worker (I had no upper body strength) and a traveling photographer. I studied animal bones in the make-shift shed under my parent’s deck. …


Katey Hawley

Katey Hawley is a Los Angeles-based writer and artist who dabbles in poetry and personal essays. She enjoys people watching, sustainability, and slow living.

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