I Used to Turn Heads


I used to turn heads. There’s freedom in not anymore. But coming to this freedom was a long road of weaning and sadness and mourning. The process began when I was around 50. That’s when I noticed that I wasn’t getting the same response from men that I used to.

Being pretty enough is a privileged position. I used it to my advantage. When my youth and looks started falling away, it forced me to re-orient myself; instead of living from the outside in, when how people were responding to me affected how I felt about myself, I started living more and more from the inside out.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to understand what the outside world has to offer and what it doesn’t. I see now that there’s a limit to what externals can provide; I used to think that they could provide everything and now I see that most of living is an inside job.

I do get frustrated at the changes in my body, the diminishment of capacities and capabilities. But, in a way, it’s kind of a beautiful humbling, one that brings me closer to myself, with more kindness and compassion.

Today I’m 60. I’ve moved from trying to be “seen” in my youth, to feeling invisible in middle age, and now to being visible to myself with a lot of self-acceptance. I feel increasingly more authentic, more and more myself. There is such a pleasure in being less and less self-conscious.

The dancer Martha Graham said: “There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost.”

I feel like I’m finally getting to do my dance.


5 Responses to I Used to Turn Heads

  1. Kelli July 20, 2016 at 4:49 pm #

    Always reersfhing to hear a rational answer.

  2. Jayne Donnelly August 4, 2016 at 7:18 am #

    Thank you for this.Never has anything I’ve ever read touched me quite so completely. THIS is my journey and these words are what I needed right now.

    • Marla Estes August 4, 2016 at 7:23 am #

      Dear Jayne,
      Your response touches me and I’m glad that my words were helpful for you.

  3. Jessica August 5, 2016 at 2:36 am #

    As 60 looms in my front window, I, too, have been shifting perspective from the outside in to inside out. In the last six months, my exterior has aged dramatically. My arms and thighs sag, my face is sinking, my belly flesh sags. Oh, to be tight and firm and outwardly confident! But what a shift: as my exterior she’ll sags, my internal core stands straighter, taller, inwardly confident. Thank you for putting such beautiful words to such a profound shift into acceptance.

  4. Pela Via October 31, 2016 at 12:50 am #


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