Shelley Brown in Storytelling, Creative Writers, Creative Oct 9, 2016 · 2 min read · 1.1K

Middle Age

I am either having a mid-life crisis or just one of my usual nervous breakdowns or maybe both. It’s been really ugly. I’ve been really ugly. I know the usual nervous breakdown part started with the holidays but the middle-aged crisis started because of Madonna. In my younger days, Madonna set the bar for me. She was a SEXY, FIT, BADASS! I never cared much for her music but my latent “I want to kiss a girl and I will like it” tendencies loved everything about her. In my eyes, she was the kind of woman who could “Strike a Pose” and give a bunch of guys an immediate boner.

Any hard…times, in my younger days, it was instilled in the core of my being that looks were everything and that you could never be too thin and blah, blah barf. Yeah, sometimes… Any 0ver-sharing and parental issues… Madonna set the bar for me. I actually met her when I was a concierge. She was a guest at the hotel where I worked for a few months while on location filming. She was a badass, she acted like a badass and she was beautiful. Her chiseled body was ridiculous! I was in awe and inadequate. I would smoke my Marlboro’s, starve and cry over Madonna longing to be like the Material Girl. She exuded confidence and a “I don’t have to tell you not to f*ck with me, I DARE you to”!

Several years later, the Marlboro’s were gone and I had become a new iteration, a different version of myself, physically anyway. I was now a marathoner, a spin instructor and a more chiseled athletic woman. Still defining myself by my body as a measurement of self-esteem, I felt powerful, sexy, confident (aka false ego) and had the “I know you probably want to get some of this but you can’t F*ck with me” attitude. I rolled like this for a number of years until….that thing happened.

That thing was a series of events in a very dark and terrifying season of my life. The blessing in it was I had to find a new way to define myself and ultimately I learned I am just who I am and not what my body looks like or my chronological age.

Any un-ultimately and unlearning…here I am and Madonna is again defining how I feel about myself. How is it possible Madonna is now looking old to me? How is it possible she is less than handful of years older than me? How is it possible the woman who could slay men and women with her dominatrix-like, power, oozing, vexing sensuality mixed with danger doesn’t look sexy to me anymore? Why is it that I would no longer want to make-out with Madonna?

Why? Because I am, yet again, letting my outsides define who I am and not only am I doing it to myself, I am doing to other woman around my age. Looking at others and myself through the lens of our society that makes it really hard for a woman to not only be ok with aging but to be ok at any age.

My dear friends, I needed to write this, to come clean about something I am doing that is so destructive, self-damaging, derogatory and ugly. I can now clearly see the elephant in the room is me.

Elephants don’t belong in rooms, and damaging thoughts don’t belong in our hearts.

I am going to kick the elephant out of the room, slay this shit and embrace the most important truth I have ever learned and that is I am not what I do or what I look like. I am just who I am. I don’t judge you that way. I am going to give myself, others and Madonna a break for being beautiful female human beings who can’t help but get older. There is no more room for the elephant there is only room for an abundance of:





and above all else,


I am so much more. I have so much more. Sometimes I forget and I’m sorry.

Middle Age

Shelley Brown Oct 15, 2016 · #15

@Lisa Gallagher Thanks so much for your lovely sentiments. It's funny, I remind myself the same thing. I bought myself a dozen roses the other day. Miss connecting regularly but sucked up by the corporate vortex. Hope you are well. I have never met you and I know you are beautiful because of your spirit.

Lisa Gallagher Oct 13, 2016 · #14

@Shelley Brown, you are lovely both on the inside and out. I think women really tend to be hard on themselves. I'm sort of going through something similar right now, so I can relate. I keep trying to remind myself that I do not choose friends etc... based on their looks. I'm attracted to others based on how they treat others. I'm attracted to others who accept me for who I am. I think it's good to remind ourselves to accept who we are and where we are in life. Even give ourselves a big high five once in a while!!

Mario Alarcon Oct 13, 2016 · #13

#11 But we are more than what meet the eyes.
Completly agree. !!!!!
Thank you !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Paul Walters Oct 11, 2016 · #12

@shellyBrown Great piece and whatever you think I think you are fabulous and we haven't even met! Salamat Sukses from Bali !

Laura Mikolaitis Oct 11, 2016 · #11

@Shelley Brown, you are beautiful both on the inside and out. It radiated when we first spoke so many months ago and it shines in your writing. Embracing our naked self is challenging, as we've discussed in posts before and we can often get sidelined and side tracked. I struggle with it myself - letting my outside guide my inside. But we are more than what meets the eye - underneath we are strong, intelligent, vulnerable, and caring human beings. We are flawed, but who isn't? I so, so love this post and I love that you've let your vulnerability shine through. You are an amazing person, Shelley and I am glad that we crossed paths. Here's to embracing all that we are!

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Shelley Brown Oct 10, 2016 · #10

Thank you Mario Alarcon

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Mario Alarcon Oct 10, 2016 · #9

Never feel down your mind by your age, no give up never !!!!
May i know you? beautifull woman, especially your foots.

Praveen Raj Gullepalli Oct 10, 2016 · #8

A beautiful confession! I think the word ACCEPTANCE too belonged in that list at the end ;) Most of us, if not all, would eventually have to look in the mirror and perceive not just one's imagined reflection, but reality - pleasant or not. I think it is the hardest to accepts oneself as we we have been made...and it might take years or even lifetimes! For the real life begins then. When you learn to work within the limitations and strive to overcome them and use the situation to the best advantage. LOL yeah, Madonna sure gave some a boner...but it was a goner for me when i read somewhere (mind you, no way for me to validate!) that when she got started she had noticeable B.O. and B.B. ...underarm hair suspect in the former issue. Still love her heartshaped face...and some of those old numbers...all this reminds me of another contemporary of hers - Cyndi Lauper with her squeaky cuteness fun overload...Time after time...Thanks Shelley Brown, for reminding me of the dark moments in my life that I outgrew only after accepting that though it is inspiring to dream, it is healthy to accept reality.

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