Friday, June 29, 2007

On Wrinkling

when you are constantly being photographed, and used to seeing
photographs of yourself in candid and not-candid moments on a day-to-
day basis, you get to know your face outside the mirror and through
the photographs.
if you don't mug to the mirror the way you mug to the photographs,
unless you have a lot of time on your hands or you're one of those
mirror-muggers who regularly spends hours locked in the bathroom
making faces at yourself from different angles for hours on end (we
all go through that at some point or another, some more than others.
don't lie), then you get more information form the photographs than
you would from the mirror.

so starting about 3 years ago i noticed that wrinkles were showing up
on my face that weren't there before. and i noticed they were only
showing up in photos in which i was smiling broadly.

lately i've noticed that there are a lot more wrinkles. lots and lots
more. then i noticed the other day that when we were being
photographed i was thinking that maybe i shouldn't smile so broadly
because i might look more haggard and old. then i realized that was a
very fucked up thing to be thinking.

i can't deny that i've gotten happier as i've gotten older. it's a
fact. every year, i am happier. i care less what people think about
me, i enjoy my days more, i worry less about what i'm doing and worry
more about how i'm doing it, which is more fun. i struggle but don't
struggle so much with the fact that i'm struggling. i am still
totally confused by whether my life, my music and my art is a path
i'm supposed to FIND or MAKE and i change the answer every day, but i
stress it less and less.

i was confronted with some of this aging shit when i was in bordeaux.
i was sitting outside a cafe one night, eating my dinner and writing
in peace and a group of very loud and drunk french teenage boys and
girls decided to convene across the cobblestoned pedestrian alleyway.
they were screaming and laughing and being drunk teenagers and it
occured to me that i was not only irritated because i wanted to write
and think and enjoy my pasta without noise but i was ENVIOUS. i
somehow wanted to be on that side of the alley, not on mine. they
looked over at me, laughing, and i saw myself through their eyes. a
woman, in her thirties, sitting at a table, alone, drinking a glass
of wine and eating pasta and writing in a book. i was shocking
myself. i somehow fixated on this: me = old, them = young. line in
sand. why did i care?

maybe it was because i was simultaneously coming to terms with the
fact that i could actually be too old to take someone to bed without
feeling weird. i think your twenties are that perfect sweet spot.
nobody is too old for you or too young for you. you can be 25 and
bang a 19-year-old or a 49-year-old and not really feel the sting.
but once you pass thirty, it doesn't matter how cool or hot or rock-
star-affiliated you are. you're old and if you end up in bed with
someone who is twenty, you're going to fucking feel it. and so are
they. not in a bad way. just is.

maybe i should be optimistic about this and embrace the fact that
awesome and sexy people in their thirties and forties will take me
more seriously because i'm officially not young and dumb anymore.

there is a line between my eyebrows (or where my eyebrows would be,
if i didn't keep making them disappear) that used to be two lines.
the two lines were sort of always there, a little 11 in the middle of
my face. one was longer than the other. then the longer one absorbed
the shorter one and they created a unified front in my mid-twenties.
then one day, about a year ago, it didn't appear only when i was in a
furrowing mood. it was just THERE when i woke up in the morning. then
one day it went away again. and then came back. and now it's here to

the other wrinkles are appearing around my eyes and mouth and show up
when i smile. crazy, that. this is that creepy ass botox-phenomenon.
if i simply stayed emotion-free, i might look thirty-one forever.
but life would blow.

these are from hawaii. you can see the wrinkles quite clearly in the
smiling picture.

maybe it's also why people in hollywood never smile? i can never
decide if plastic surgery really counts as lying or not. i think
it does. but whatever makes you happy.
my friend had a E cup and got a reduction. i had a friend in high
school who was very into getting a nose job. and i think she did, and
it made her happier. i know some women who are getting into their
fifties and getting their faces stretched back. it freaks me the fuck
out. on the other hand, their faces are just their faces. it's like
an extreme version of doing your hair up. i'm relatively thrilled
about the way i look, most of the time, even as the wrinkles appear i
find a way to get excited about them (look!!!! i'm WISE!!!!). i
wonder how i would feel if i truly considered myself ugly. i wonder
if i would want to take a knife to me face and carve it up
differently. i wonder if i would hate people like me for saying Just
Love Who You Are and want to punch me in the fucking face because i
was born with a pretty standard and relatively attractive WASP mug.

when i look at footage of myself playing, it's no wonder. i furrow
frequently. christ, sometimes i look like i'm constipated. and i
smile a lot. i make lots of faces. i am a face-maker.

so i started thinking i should probably take pride in these appearing
wrinkles as they actually denote amount of life lived as opposed to
years lived. this thought comforted me.

lately, when people ask me to guess their age, i ask them to smile.
then i look at their eyes to see if there are wrinkles. then i guess.
i'm HORRIBLE at this game. i usually guess about 7 years off, often
erring on the side of too old, which insults people. what i usually
end up doing is taking my best guess and subtracting about 20-25% of
the total so i don't sound like an asshole. i think everybody does
this. but anyway, the smiling gives people away.

i've been meeting people who i think look my age only to find out
theat they're 20. this freaks me out. am i just a terrible gauge? i
can also never tell when people are tripping, rolling or on coke.
sometimes i can't even tell when people are drunk, unless they're
hammered and puking. then i'm like: wait, somethings wrong here.

i've noticed that this age-freakiness has been seeping and poisoning
some of my decision-making, or at least creating an added level of
the downward spiral goes something like this:
ok, if i finish the record this fall i can put it out my march. but
maybe i should take more time with it so i can relax. but if i take
more time with it, it'll need to come out next fall. then i'll tour
it in the spring. i'll be 33. holy shit, i'll be 33 when i'm touring
on my solo record. that's when jesus died. fuck. let's not even get
started on the beatles. they had BROKEN UP by the time they were in
their late 20s. fuck. i'm doing nothing with my life.

i've been reading live reviews of cyndi lauper and debbie harry from
this tour. and it seems like once you get past a certain point you
are either "showing your oldness" or "looking great despite your
oldness". what the fuck?? why does it have to be like that?

i suppose it's the same thing if you're young and bright eyes at 17.
you're either "showing your youngness" or "sounding amazing despite
your youngness". i thought about his recently and decided that you're
only really in the clear if you're over 21 and under 45. before and
after that, you're fucked. especially if you're a she.
speaking of which, i coined a term for the paris hilton and linsday
lohan phenomenon:


i'm sure someone else somewhere has already thought of this.

(there was a time when i had brian convinced that "marcia marcia
marcia" would be a great name for our band and lo and behold someone
in ohio had already thought of it. what did people do before google?
i suppose there were just a bunch of bands with the same name and
nobody cared until lawyers got involved. but thank fucking god. the
dresden dolls is way better.)

i am reading an extremely excellent book by jonathan saffran foer
called Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. i had it sitting on the
shelf i have in the kitchen of books i would like to read, it's a big
shelf. it's a bookcase. almost anytime someone recommends i read a
book i buy it, because books are so cheap now on the internet.
anyway, when my friend was staying at my house he saw the book and he
picked it up and said: this, this is a good book. or he said
something to that extent. anyway with the double endorsement i
started reading it and i am in love with it a little. it is many
stories in one and i recommend it highly.

his friend died of cancer the other day. he knew for a couple weeks.
she was older, but not extremely old. we've been talking a lot. we
were talking a few days ago about how zen sort of sucks because
sometime you decide to choose to feel more than detachment because
you decide to do that because you decide that that's life. this is
from page 180 in the hardback version, which page i read about an
hour ago.

When I was a girl, my life was music that was always getting louder.
Everything moved me. A dog following a stranger. That made me
feel so much. A calendar that showed the wrong month. I could
have cried over it. I did. Where the smoke from a chimney
ended. How an overturned bottle rested at the edge of a table.
I spent my life learning to feel less.
Every day I felt less.
Is that growing old? Or is it something worse?
You cannot protect yourself from sadness without protecting yourself
from happiness.


AnonyMouse said...

I don't know if feeling less is getting old, but I felt I had to share with you the fact that when I was younger, I felt less, felt nothing. I'm not old now, I'm 24, right in the sweet spot you mentioned. it's funny that it doesn't feel sweet. didn't feel much of anything really. I've had my heart broken a couple times, but I'm always sort of divorced from it. never in it. never feeling things. I have a point to this I swear. I have cried at some of your music in ways I didn't to things that actually happened to me. the music and the art that you make has made me feel more than my own life. I've never found this with any other artist. perhaps I will someday. through you and your art, your covers, just mentions even, I've found other music i can connect with. None affect me in quite the same way though. I just wanted to thank you for that. And I wanted to let you know that even if you think you're feeling less now, it might be because you're using up some of that helping other people feel more. and all I feel right now is gratitude for the gift that your music has given me. It must be weird for you to hear someone say something like that, but I hope you take it how it's meant. as encouragement that you're not "doing nothing with your life". you're affecting and moving people. many many more people than will ever tell you about it. I love you for that and for how my life, and my outlook has changed because of who you are and what you've given of yourself. I had the good fortune to be at the show in Boston where you broke out the ukulele and I was too awestruck and tongue tied to say much of anything as I got you to sign something for me after. they were kicking us out of downstairs by that time because it'd taken me that long to muster up the courage to take a breath and speak. I wish I could have expressed to you how I feel then, but it is only behind the safety and anonymity of text on a digital page that I can manage it.
this is so long and rambly. it wasn't meant to be. but i have to say again thank you thank you thank you, for feeling so much that there was enough left over to share with me. ♥

Adam said...

extremely loud and incredibly close is amazing, i just finshed it a couple of weeks ago, its fantastic, and if the wrinkles on your face appear because your happy, then fuck, it wouldnt bother me a bit, if im happy, im happy, and thats all that matters...

Michael said...

What's that phrase? "First time caller, long timer listener"?

Thank you for a wonderful start into my day. When you mentioned Jesus, I was laughing out loud. Probably caused some more wrinkles that way. Bad girl. But I'm 38 so all hope is lost anyhow, I guess.

I can relate to feeling happier as you get older ... and feeling less affected by the many things around you. I wouldn't describe it as feeling less - just sorting out the stuff differently that you empathize about. As long as I still have the capacity to fall in love (with certain people or books or new music - man, do I love "The Hold Steady") ... there's hope for me yet, I guess.

Thanks again. Keep wrting.

Obligatory book recommendation: "Set this house in order" by Matt Ruff. Which brings me back to the "falling in love" bit.

atonalruss said...

I turn 40 in February. It's a scary thought, as I still feel like I haven't even gotten started on life. And even scarier, my kids start heading to college (or not) in just 8 years. I try not to think about it too much. And your face is beautiful - not something you should be concerned about.

Be well.

utterly utter said...

You'll probably get a whole shitload of these now, since you mentioned it, but I have a book recommendation, which I wanted to give to you anyway.

That book is 'Moab Is My Washpot' by Stephen Fry. It is honestly one of the most amazingly sympathetic and wonderful books I have ever read. No matter what, I just keep going back to it. I don't know if you know much about Stephen Fry, but this is his autobiography. Ignore the inscrutable title and soak up the utterly human honesty of it all. It is so intense and gorgeous and sad and heartening all together at once, and it has that quality of all Great Art - it reminds you that there is someone else out there who Gets It.

Michael O said...

Hey, wrinkles are only supposed to be skin deep. Don't let them get inside your head; that's where they do the most damage.

But if we're all conditioned to discard anything that has the least sign of wear and tear, why do we keep picking those favorite comfy t-shirts and jeans over the factory fresh? I say we make being smooth and perfect and factory fresh dreadfully out of fashion. Here's a grin and a wrinkle back atcha.

David Grenier said...

Being 33 now, I find that age matters less and less. The whole "40 is the new 20" thing isn't really bullshit. Our parents (or at least my parents) generation generally got married and started popping out kids by the time they were 20. By 40 your kids were in college and/or getting married. Now folks are getting married and starting families older, living longer, changing careers more, starting careers later, etc. As a culture we've embraced the extended adolesence (but sadly I think we've also embraced the extended selfishness and irresponsilibity that goes hand-in-hand with adolesence).

I think being older just allows you to put more shit in perspective. Like you said, you struggle, but you don't worry so much that you're struggling.

As far as wrinkles, I'll say that my wife has all sorts of laugh-lines or care-lines or whatever you call them. She's pushing 40, wrinkly as hell and I still think she's the most beautiful woman in the world.

bram said...

Hello wrinklemania,
As relative age is I first started reading seriously and thinking seriously about your serious thoughts about some serious skin formations. Then I looked at the pretty pictures from hawaii and kinda was not serious anymore, I think you should write this when you're at least 40. You think and live as if you're still 18, at least that was my age when I started connecting to your mind, and youre ten years older then me.

Aging is for me certainly about feeling different, getting a real excentric state of mind, cutting the weird fearful bullshit from your mind, gained troughout your youth and teenage years. No wonder you can enjoy your days more, because there is less to worry about. But you can still be the face lady whenever you like and do the shit you've always done. I guess it all just has more conscious foundations gained troughout the years which can make it less exciting but should be experienced as something excentric and personal.

I dont know if it makes sense, I always just let everything ramble trying to let you pick something good out of all the noise I produce. I wish I could feel older in some things so all the thoughts about things would ease.

When I turn thirty, if I make it, I want to be able to get every object I encounter to be delt with one sentence and be fully understood by myself and the persons Im trying to explain it too. I guess that's pure wisdom, and even though like most things the path too it is the most interesting, the goal can be pretty cool as well :)


cheers said...

At 15, I've got a while to wait for wrinkles. But if smiling makes me wrinkle, I can't wait till I look like a prune.

I love reading the comments after your blogs. The combination of your music, your writing and your life brings out the best in everyone. I just hope you don't mind that you're wrinkling so many faces.

On books, I'm still working my way through your recommendations. Paul Auster's been teaching me more than some of my classes.

Amanda said...

I'm eighteen years old. Since I was fourteen, i've never been carded. Not at the beer tent for fourth of july, not for cigarettes, not in bars.
I asked someone how old they thought i was at the concert. One response was "twenty-two," another "thirty-two." I have looked in the mirror a lot lately and have noticed wrinkles as well.
WHAT THE FUCK? was all that i could think....Gravity's already catching up to me at the age of 18! My mom started getting gray hair when she was fifteen years old. I've never known if I have gray hair or not, since I dye my hair every three months or so and have never found a gray. It freaks me out to grow older as well. You're aging beautifully, Amanda.
The faces you make on stage are priceless.
Oh, yeah, and on the last blog that you wrote, i went back to it yesterday to make a comment, and i just looked at the line underneath the photo "suck it jack." mind was in another place and i was thinking you were talking about your father....and then i remembered that most of that WHOLE section and the picture were all about jack white. jeez....

Damien said...

Your eye wrinkles look like wings.

Just so you know.

HughieD said...

This aging stuff....I know what you mean Amanda.

I play in an Indie band and I've now hit 40. All of a sudden I started looking at the pictures and thinking...mmm I look like a 40-year old playing young people's music - I'd better hang my mic up.

Then I thought "fuck it" - it's too much fun.

i said...

It's all about perspectives. You are on the other side of the sidewalk, and I'm here wanting to be there. What if nobody ever told anyone their age? Then nobody can say "you look good for your age," or "really? You seem more... mature."

Damn kids... ;^)

Paul said...

i struggle but don't
struggle so much with the fact that i'm struggling.

That is why you will always be beautiful.

Ms Burden said...

I do compare others' achievements to mine and obviously their ages when they had reached that ideal top... I guess it's a natural thing - the comparing stuff. And unfortunately it's inevitable the aging stuff too. I am no musician so releasing albums or starting solo careers aren't much of an issue to my lifel. However, I am just as old as you are and I haven't ever published not even one book so far. I'm struggling though and not caring much if that struggling will get me somewhere.

Yoli said...

I didn't read the previous 14 comments that got here before me cuz I'm like that. I feel age is more of an cliche intended. People say 30 is the new 20. I'm 26. When Eva Peron was my age she'd conquered Argentina before dying of cancer. Me? I'm trying to get into grad school while paying my bills and trying to keep my fragile spirit from being crushed by my day job. You? Are beautiful and wear your life well. You convey more emotion through a simple chord progression on your board than most people ever will through action. You find balance where you can, share it with others, and use your powers for good instead of evil all around. I like the laugh lines. Dig em in deeper.

michelle said...

i love jonathan safran foer so much that i feel like i must have recommended extremely loud and incredibly close or everything is illuminated at some point. they're both fantastic, but i like the latter more; instead of being "about" september 11th (which it really isn't, but you know what i mean), it's about the holocaust.

interestingly, jonathan's also married to the woman who wrote my favorite book, the history of love. they had a baby recently. those are some wild genes.

in response to the rest of this entry, i think wrinkles are beautiful. i know a lot of people say that to make others feel better, but i'm absolutely serious. gray hair is awesome, too. shows you've been around, and are still around.
for the record, i'm twenty-one and still get the "too young" responses quite often.

andrea said...

I'm young(er). Almost 21.
I don't really think about wrinkles in a negative sense. Yet.
Maybe I will one day. But even when I try to project my mind into the future I don't see them being something that will get me down. Of course, I can say that now because I'm not living in my 30 something body yet so I really shouldn't speak for that person I will become.
But 30, or 31, or 30 anything seems incredibly young to me.
And then there are people who are 70 and look 50, and people 50 that look 70. If you told me you were 25 I'd believe you.

I've been noticing lately that I think people my age are older than me. I believe it's because we are young adults/teens/whatevers for such a long part of the beginning of our lives and when we are in those young stages we can't wait til we are 18, 21, 23, 25... we see the people that are those ages and they look so much older than us. Then once we get there we are so used to being young, and looking younger that we forget that we look older now too. So even though we are all the same age everyone else still looks older. Make sense? I think it can go the other way too.

But then thinking about you, specifically, I don't even look at your face anymore. Well, technically, yes I do. I see you, but I'm familiar with you. It's not a new face or a face that I don't know anything about. It's like when you first meet a person. You become familiar with the way they look so that you recognize them and then once you do you don't have to look so hard. I know the part of you that you share in your blogs and your music. I don't have to look at your face to recognize that it's you. Same with pics and video, I've seen so many that your facial expressions have become familiar as well( I'm glad your a face maker, it intensifies your music). So, I don't see any wrinkles when I look at you cause I don't think about it. I just see who you are as a person. I'm sure it's like this for a lot of people that look at you. Not many probably notice the wrinkles you see so clearly, but it's your face so you notice more than anyone else. I think that's true for everyone.

And I agree with:

"so i started thinking i should probably take pride in these appearing
wrinkles as they actually denote amount of life lived as opposed to
years lived".

It's true. That's how I think of it. You've earned those damned wrinkles and you've had fun making them. There's memories in them things.

I have dimples. Or constant wrinkles as I like to call them. Always been there and never going away.

I have to go now. I'm eating with some friends. I'm going to look at their faces for wrinkles.

all my love,


Seeräuberoma said...

Hey, i got one question (and i'm sorry that it has nothing do to with your blog entry). i guessed it might be the best to put it here, 'cause you said you read all comments and i thought it's more probable to get an answer here instead of waiting for my personal email. don't know in how far my thoughts are justified.

well, what i actually wanted to know is: do you like children's books? for example from the wonderful astrid lindgren or great erich kästner? if yes, i got a nice recommendation for you. really.
i'll be wondering tensely, if you would like to get my mysterious recommendation.

greetings from germany

seeräuberoma said...

old... i don't like that word. it's weird. age and beauty are two completely independent variables. and when i say beauty, i don't mean the stupid hollywood nose jobs. i mean, who you are. maybe it changes with age. but if you're true... it's beauty.

Flippy said...

Teeny wrinkles? Aw, they're cute. I've never so much worried about my wrinkles, and I was always so happy that I could only ever find one grey hair on my head. But, the 41st & 42nd years of my life seem to have jumpstarted the grey. GASP! No! Not on my head! Oh well, screw it, I'm going to get blue highlights and it won't matter. I now dress to please only myself. Sometimes I wear my neon orange Crocs out (because they're damned comfortable!), my highlights are now fuchsia, and I haven't worn a dress in years and years, because I don't want to. I'm well on my way to being eccentric, without the financial comfort (or artistic genius) that eccentrics usually enjoy.

Cyndi is all kinds of ageless awesome, in every way. I wish I had 1/100 of her energy. I admit to thinking about Debbie Harry being older, but I think it's because of how she moves. When she was younger, I just thought of her as wasted, and when people get older, you don't think of them as wasted so it looked more, okay, I confess, I wrote on my blog that she moved like she was afraid she was going to break a hip. However, from what I recall, that's how she's always looked on stage to me. ;)

Anyway, you've worn your face well. You look interested, intense, and happy.

I know that Vegas seems weird to you, but when you live here, you get used to it. You live your normal life, then take advantage of what Vegas has to offer when you want to play tourist. Please try to come back to perform someday. I'd like to see you when I'm not thinking, "Hey, I thought I wouldn't like this band. Hmm, interesting lyrics. Oooh, I like this song." Next time, I can just enjoy the show versus having my pre-concert/neverheardofyou/listened toasongortwo misconception that I wouldn't like your music backfire on me...and then your set was over.

My apologies for excessive use of pixels in a blog that is not my own.

amy said...

Look how many people love you and care for you. You've changed the lives of us by just being yourself. Isn't that sweet. And i've officially read everything on The Dresden Doll's website so that this boredom of mine will not ultimately lead to my obesity. Best wishes.

David said...

Ahhh, aging. You can't stop it, so embrace it. You ARE a face maker! And you have a wonderfully rugged and beautiful face, that of a New Englander. And I know it's your face darlin' but I'm looking forward to the day that your eyebrows come back.

A 51 year old man, not a fan of shaving at all (nobody should do it), but for some reason I shave the hairs that grow in my ears. Fuckin A! What is UP with THAT? But I've never "grown up". That'll make you OLD. To be serious and decisive ... to be PROPER. YUK!!

It's great to hear that you're happy most of the time. I believe it's partly because you know how to work your creativity muscles. It's an outlet we all need but so few of us find ways to do it. And you obviously have some major creative gifts- music, writing, photography, drawing. Thanks a million for sharing them with us. Also it sounds from your writing like you are a practitioner of Fault Tolerance. A software term I use to refer to the ability to efficently accept, absorb, and move beyond the errors and randomness of daily living. Why should we expect reality to be perfect? If God accepts faults in us, then dammit, we should be able to accept faults in the universe. Like we have a fucking choice anyway.

Don't sweat your solo work. Take your time. If you don't think a song is ready, then it's not ready. We'll love it. We love you. The material of your lyrics is more rough and rugged than the mainstream can handle. So what.

Don't stare at your face in the mirror too much girl. It's bad for it. That 11 that morphed to a 1 might just become a 12. And even if it becomes a 13 when you turn 33, we won't crucify you. You're still beautiful with your smile wrinkles. Be glad you can smile at all. Fuckin' Marshall Mathers could take some smiling lessons from you. Will you help him please?

ElliotManning said...

This week was a surprisingly good one for me, made all the better by reading your entry this morning. I can empathize with feeling that life is happening too fast/too much is changing too quickly, but I must tell you that I've always believed that you have staying power. You have already changed peoples' lives, and I can say from personal experience that you inspire. G-d, do you inspire. And I must tell you that I think you are beautiful, and, though this may sound cliche, as you age, you will only become moreso.

By the way, I can't wait till you come to Smith College. :)

Ana said...

I think you are so beautiful.

FireAngel said...

Amanda, I believe the name for how you were when you were younger would be "emo". Check out this video:

It's hilarious and you might relate to it.

FireAngel said...

If my link doesn't work look up "Hope is Emo" and the video named "The Words Are Dying."

Danaoshee said...

It's weird, reading your blog. I always feel this bizzare sense of connection - but then I go to your show and stand in line for my signed whatever and have no idea what to say. "Hi, I'm trying not to be a creepy fangirl but your writing makes me love you" just seems, well, slightly insane.
I was at the Berkeley True Colors show last night and I was the weird woman sitting near your table watching people get signings for almost the whole line. At first it was just because I was suffering from the let-down that always happens with the whole signing-line thing (I get my minute of attention, can't think of anything to say, and then am left with a vast sense of "Now what?"), but then watching other people interact with you and Brian just became fascinating.
Just about everyone looked happy. Concerts are great for people-watching anyway, but watching the strange and wonderful things people bring you, and how pleased they look, and the people saying "I'd never heard you before but now I'm a convert, sign the cd I just bought", and all that, was just so very...I don't know. Alive, I guess, if I have to find one word. So many of us go through our days just getting through, not really present, but just about everyone was *there* in themselves.

Which I guess is the reason I have the constant struggle against being an insanely obsessed fan - your music, your writing, your shows, make me feel emotionally engaged in the way that came so easily when I was 16 but is so hard to find now.

Thank you, and I hope you manage to make it through the bay area on the solo tour.

Gina said...

On aging: I'm 37 and have been dealing with similar issues recently. Acid reflux, high blood pressure & cholesterol, spider veins, trying to lose that last 20 pounds left over from a marriage that didn't fit. And I like someone for the first time since the marriage ended, and he's going to see my 37-year-old ass naked?? Aw shiiiit...

It's hard not to feel shitty about our appearance in this society when every picture has all human distinctions and character PhotoShopped out of it. People see the flawless in the media, and then look at themselves and their mates, and go, "Really? Is this really us now?" And we compare ourselves to 20-year-olds and are unhappy. Which is really an unfair comparison (to ourselves), but the reality is, we do it.

But in spite of all that, I'm a BETTER person than I was in my 20's. I'm WAY more sure of myself and my art and am not afraid to sing and dance and be outgoing in front of people, not afraid to meet and talk to new people, anymore. I used to be ridiculously shy. It feels so delicious to shed my insecurities one by one. And I could never have done it without having lived through my 20's and the ill-fitting marriage, so I give it the thanks it deserves. Going through shit in addition to the good things makes us better friends and lovers, better human beings overall. We ARE wiser--you're right about that! And I say we ARE beautiful, dammit! We are colorful and fascinating and have character, and that's so much more interesting than airbrushed perfection.

On being Zen: I've wondered about that balance of emotions to enlightment, too. Especially now, it's a question, since I'm thinking about having kids and there's conflict between who I am (emotions and all) and what the idea of 'mother' is supposed to be (Zen enlightened being). I still don't know how to reconcile that. I know it's vital to feel emotions or they get repressed, but not feel them so much that you get stuck in the drama of them and can't move on with life. It's important to teach kids that, too, I know. Maybe it's between the two, in order to move past emotions as they come, like little temporary windstorms, in order to try to be Zen.

But you definitely can't achieve Zen-like beingness until you're older and have learned a little something. Wrinkled, spotted...and SERENE!! Yeah!!

Thanks for writing about this~

Damien said...

Amanda, I do have a question for you, having nothing to do with this post:

You're an extremely intelligent woman, so I don't want to insult your intelligence, but I also don't want to presume what I can't remember you saying: Do you know Carl Jung's theory of Synchronicity?

It's the idea that there are various emanations from the collective unconscious that bring about certain "coincidences" of place and time. Hearing a song that reminds you of someone, right before they call is the traditional example.

Your music, for me, and I'd wager for many others, as well, is the incarnation of synchronicity. You have lines that encapsulate moments of lives, and inter-weavings of meaning that over-lap in strange ways.

It brings up another question of personal belief. But that would be personal, to start, and you can feel free to address it, if you want.

But I won't prompt you, on it.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad you're reading my recommendation. I've been pimping it to everyone.

I like this book because of the way it makes my brain hum. I like the way it brings out my thoughts and makes them move to the rhythm of the book.

Ask questions.

Why didn't I ask one hundred different questions every day before I read this book!
Do I have an imagination at all. Only I know.

I hope the book makes you feel like one hundred dollars.

*tips her hat*

not a fighter just a bleeder said...

you will always be beautiful

Len Tower Jr. said...

FireAngel said...

Amanda, I believe the name for how you were when you were younger would be "emo". Check out this video:

It's hilarious and you might relate to it.


the source of these seem to be:

ask a ninja is tres froid too!

Anonymous said...

in Hollywood never smile *because* of the botox bee ess.

Marciel said...

Book suggestion: Written On The Body by Jeanette Winterson.

It's a pretty fast read. The main character falls in love with & has an affair with a married woman, but it is written in a way that you can not tell if the main character is a male or female.

Oh and anything by Mary Gaitskill. Her book leave me feeling cold & empty most of the time but for some reason I like that.

ashkilby said...

You talk about age and everyone starts telling you how old they are. I think it is amazing how so many people with such a wide variety of ages live by your music.
One doesn’t have to look any farther that this thing to see how much of an impact you have on people's lives. Is it not incredible to be able to put your own ideas and ponderings out...whatever they may be...and instantly get back even more ideas and ponderings from people you don't really know? Does reading what people have to say about what you are thinking lead to another round of thinking on the same subject?

Alberto! said...

i like to heard you talking about age, maybe see a funny thing, that i compare my age now, with your age when you started with the dresden dolls, or when you release your first record. Yes, i'm making music and now i'm 22.
i think you've had your referents too, and maybe you still have.
Anyway,if i don't obtain something before 24, i will always have the referent of LPD, i think you know...

How i'd like to know of the LPD when i was 16.

Kisses from Spain

malkatrazz said...

Hi Amanda,
I was interested in what yoga teacher training you did. What did you think about it and who were you're teachers.
Please get back to me @

Scott said...


RE: wrinkles and the torment of young vs. old,

Stop reading my mind :)

Actually I think you're accepting it better than me... I've given myself another year or two to keep acting young and then it's time to move on...

June Miller said...

A lot of people, over the years, commented on how pissed off I always seem to look. I never really quite knew how to take it. It's not like I'm trying, or even that I knew I was frowning. I just often got too involved with my own thoughts; it still kinda happens today, too. Anyway, it all came together when I saw a picture of my father when he was in his 20s. He very well could've been the devil incarnate. Guess we've all got our things, hm?

I can only stand a handful of folks my age. I'm not trying to be elitist, I just never got on with most of 'em. I didn't want to come off as too young and/or dumb. Probably has something to do with being the youngest child, maybe. I don't know.

As a sidenote, I apologize if I came off as an asshole for talkin' smack on Swedish Fish. It was a matter of nerves, y'know?

The strongest people have always been the ones with the most emotion and aren't afraid to express it.

Anna said...

jonathan safran foer may well be the best writer in the world.

extremely loud and incredible close is, well, incredible.

everything is illuminated made me feel like my whole body was filled with light.

about the typefaces not used in this edition made me cry,,854663,00.html)

amanda, keep writing, i will keep reading. also, please come back to perth soon. that would be the best thing ever.

Innuendo said...

I'm 30 and feel identicalalallly.

I am always aware I think and act and dress much younger than I really am and understand that others might think that is sad.

I always wear brightly colored crazy socks. Now my friends and family give them to me as gifts all the time. They are enablers. Sometimes I put them on and take them off and select boring ones because I think if I get into an accident and they bring me to the hospital, unconscious, the staff will think, "How sad, she's 30 but is wearing kid's socks."

Ellie said...

As one of the scores of drunken teenagers in the world, it's odd to read this. When I read your blog, I am always amazed by how fully you live your life, and when I listen to your music, I am blown away by how much you have done. Perhaps this isn't helpful, but there are many teenagers who are envious of you, and what you can do.

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close is wonderful.

stef said...

Amanda, Amanda, Amanda.
Holy crap- you're too amazing.
I really suck at reading these when they are first posted because... well I don't really know why. This is not the time to analyze that. Anyway, I let the entries pile up and I normally sit down at my computer with a cup of ice cream or something and just read and laugh and smile and cry (or whatever else you/anybody else whose stuff I am reading makes me do). Today, obviously, was one of those days. I just wanted to say that reading this/that (last entry) made me feel a lot better about when I met you for about 2.5 five seconds once and will hopefully remain to make me feel fine the next time I meet you (keep your fingers crossed) when you go on tour again. With or without Brian. But it also made me feel better about myself. On so many different levels- I can't even put it into words.
And I just wanted to say thank you.

Anonymous said...

Hey. Since you mentioned that you pretty much buy a book whenever it is recommended, I thought I would recommend one. It is called "The Nimrod Flipout" by Etgar Keret. Like the book you mentioned it is a bunch of stories at once. Some of it is just insane, but other parts make you question everything around you until you can't make sense of anything. I remember reading it and then staring into the mirror until my face no longer became my face....but just a group of shapes and spheres and for some reason i judge books on that now. If I read them, can I still see my face in the mirror...if I can't, it's a good sign. :)

I just want to say that I love your songs. So many of them have moved me to tears I can't even count them all. I wish you were playing near me for my birthday... I think the closest is Brian playing at Joe's pub on the 24th in ny. thats a week before my 21st birthday, so i'm going to try and see if i can make it there.

And, btw, wrinkles and all, you are still gorgeous!!!


Kari said...

This is exactly how i feel about my stomach. i was a ballet dancer for a long time and had a rockin bod until I moved to Germany and discovered beer.
then i wresteled with it and was all angsty and emo about it, until i learned to love my little beer gut because it meant i know good beer and drink it regularly.
I'll never have the body i did then unless i give up drinking and goddamnit, beer (the good 600 calorie a glass syrupy amber beer) is just too good to live without.
i'd take the gut over a life without beer the same way i'd take a wrinkle over a life without laughter.
also- you are completely amazing. and Yes, Virginia is the best CD to have sex to I've ever found.

Kristopolis said...

amanda, i want to be like you when i grow up.

David said...

Wrinkling will never obscure the beauty that comes from deep inside you. It comes out through your eyes and your smile, and your skin cannot hide it no matter how wrinkled and gnarly it gets.

You also express it through your art. Please be kind to your larynx dear Amanda. IMHO- your music has great textural variety and lyricism, and your melodic sense is wonderful. You don't need to scream.

Astronaut is amazing.

SameOldCatCalls said...

I got the Dresden Dolls book a few months ago and it explains what "Half Jack" is about. I've met my father once when I was 4 or 5. My mom got pregnant with me at 16. He's had many oppurtunities to see me, or to even call. I turned 16 last week. This was a big birthday in my moms eyes, seeing that when she turned 16 she was pregnant with me. Still no phone call. I'd talk to him, I wouldn't even have to think about it. He knows this. But still no phone call. "Half Jack" is exactly how I feel. I want to hate him...but that line "Half of my biology." Theres alot more to it. But thank you for sharing that feeling with me. Amanda, one day I will meet you. I just want to have a conversation with you about life, relationships and even about wrinkles in peoples faces. I learn so much from your words.

You could be 99 years old, still rockin, and still be the best, and most intellectual musician this worlds ever seen.

If you ever have time, and want to talk to little old me, here it is.

Anonymous said...

I've recently decided that your ego is completely out of control. You have successfully lost the point of it Amanda. The world doesn't revolve around you or your appearance and there are much better things for you to fill your head with and the heads of your readers. Why are all your posts now just nasty nude pictures of you and conversations about Lindsay? It's almost as though you are taking your topics for discussion from Fox News or the hotmail homepage. I thought you cared about something real. I guess we were all tricked.
there is time to begin to care about something besides yourself. I still believe in you.

David said...

orangegirlred ... why so harsh? Amanda's blog posts themselves reveal a good deal of humility, I believe. How can anyone possibly succeed in the music/show biz without a minimal level of vanity anything less than a gigawatt? What can an artist know and portray better than their own precious self? And in knowing one's self, one can then know others ...

P.S. Recommend any particular Anthony and the Johnsons discs? A friend loaned me I am a Bird Now and I really loved it.

ronja said...

I'd love to get to know.
How can I do that?
By writing this?
You're such a facinating person, please help me out!

juey said...

I can answer now.

I've been reading your blog.... for years now. Always had something to say, always was to shy. Even if it had just been "thank you".

I'd rather be on your side of the street.

Sometimes the music (an with me words) within me gets so loud, I feel like screaming. Because it's not always nice.
I drown it with real music.
But the older I get, the happier I am.

Confusion Say said...

I looked and "Chickwreck" has yet to be defined at, I'd go for it and stake your claim...

Socrates Volkova said...

Good Morning.

I'm the 55th commenter. 55th best. ah well. I strive to be first though.

I really love you guys. You music is amazingly bazhing extraviganza of movement and sound!!!!!! But stay in the industry, at least for a few more years! I live in the town of Maine and I'm not old enought to really live life, but just old enough to throw it away(15).
age means nothing! we have all lived as long as light. Its what you aquire in that time that matters. you have touched so many lives in your years. A few elegant wrinkles is worth that, i think.

I'm not a drunken teenager. I was sheltered, but more from my own self doubt than parents. I tend to look at everything from the outside. Your blog is so real and human i can completely relate to you. Lately i've been feeling the stinge of age more than usual.
We may be on different sides of the line amanda, but we are all human and I would love someday just to sit down with a cup of tea and just talk about life. I'll become famous someday and I'll get to do that, I know.

'Til then!


Samuel Barker said...

Age is meaningly in the grand equation. Of course, I'm only 28, so what the hell do I know. Of course, I've been a parent since I was 19, so I can understand that age is what you make of it.

I'm 28 and have a "career", a band, a music webzine, a indie record label and most importantly a functional family unit. Other friends my age are still getting high and playing Xbox.

Of course, I'm the one getting gray hairs growing in and the dark circles from not sleeping enough, but at least I'm living my life.

You, Amanda, are definitely living your life. I'd rather get old and look like Jack Palance with a thousand stories from living a full life than look 10 years younger than I am with nothing to really show for it.

At least the wrinkles are from laughing and smiling. They're exactly what you'd want them to be from. To sound like a cheesy dude, as long as you have your eyes, no one will pay attention to the wrinkles.

I'm looking forward to getting older, I really is a fun adventure, no matter how fucked up it gets.

Also, I was the dude who told his wife to squeal like a girl and give you the card for our website. If you want the pictures from the Houston date of the True Colors Tour, send me an e-mail at samuelAThoustonmusicreviewDOTcom. I'll get them all out to you. Hell, if anyone wants them and it's cool with you folks, I'll be happy to share.

dfranklin said...

Georgia O'Keeffe. I sure hope I look like her when I get that old, if I'm lucky enough to get that old. -Manta.

JosephK said...

I enjoy reading this little window into your head. I guess that's what all writing is, isn't it. Between your songs, your diary, and your photos, I feel like I know you at least as well, as say, a 2nd cousin who I rarely see. We're practicaly distant distant distant family! : )

Anyway, the people on here, including myself, can use 1000 different positive adjectives to describe you. If 1% of them are true, then you must be really someone special. And special people come in special packaging.

I guess I'm just trying to say, don't forget to appreciate the box that you come in.

lola said...

i have just created this fictional blog to comment.
so maybe i should get a life or something!

i was reading your age 'thing', and i just kept remembering this really old Portuguese song, about your first wrinkles. (well, not yours obviously!....ok, this was a very bad joke about the 'paranoia'!keep moving) i wish i could translate properly it to you, but it's not very simple and it would probably sound weird.

i just started to have my first wrinkles
my first wrinkles started to born
Wrinkles of crying
Wrinkles of smiling
Wrinkles of singing, i started to blink
Wrinles of smiling
Wrinkles of singing
Wrinkles of feeling

...ok, i like it better with music and all.
It's from this adorable portuguese musician, almost a legend, Antonio Variações. He died with a lot of non-recording stuff, and so some musicians of several bands came together and make them 'real and loud'. A very interesting project actually, called 'Humanos' ('Humans').

I try so hard to not think about growing old. Since i was a kid. I just kept wishing that time would somehow stop or slow down.
But i'm turning 20 next fall.
Gosh, only writing it freaks me out. Maybe i'm just scared i'll never actually do something that i can look back and smile from.
And i don't mean it in the 'emo wave' of 'jesus i suck' (..i have to stop making expressions!). But i think i need to do something thing, something that's beyond me.
Like you have your music or the ways you find to actually do something. To touch. To make things happen beyond you.
And then smile of every little wrinkle.
People worry too much about keeping youth and beauty, without seeing that it cames from inside.
Your spirit. Your soul. That's what you should try to fix.
Why would anyone want to take away their living marks of life and think it would make you look better?!...

maybe we should follow Paris Hilton brilliant quote "I don't really think, i walk".

now, i'm also here to say that the beach from your non-smiling/smiling photos seems so 'non-human'. i mean, untouched.
like Björk once said, we are the earth intruders, truly.
one morning i was floating in the see, with nothing but the sea and the sun above me. and it just catch me. the way we are so small against the nature, the universe.
but still we somehow think we own it.
people are always talking about 'the end of the world', like if the all human race died there would be no world.
it's so much bigger than us...

so this blog entry looks totally non-sense.but i like it somehow.
it means you inspire me in many levels. and then i do ekszofrenic posts. hm.

and now, i'm going to talk a little about inspiring portuguese artists (you might want to guess where i am from!!..) that i feel like sharing with you.
music touches me in different levels and colours.
some makes me feel in never land.
others make me want to explode in the air.
or to become rain.
or all in one, like you do.
so today i'm sharing this guy i totally have a musical (and extended versions) crush on.
he has that something.
maybe it's from his intellectual glasses. or the way he closes his ways and you know it's gonna be deep and full of emotion.
or the way his voice can be so warm and gentle and then turn into something new.
i'm talking about David Fonseca.
he had this band that hitted my 7th and now is in a solo-but-with-band thing.
he talks about Jeff Buckley, films, movies and all in his blog.
he takes photos. he send us a christmas song every year.
he covers Tim Buckley, Outcast, Talking Heads and son on.
he did these crazy medley from the 80's.
and i'm leaving some of my favourite videos from youtube! if you like i'm sure you'll find a way of download his albums or sowhever ^^

Song to the siren (tim buckley)

Hold Still (made only with photos)

Our hearts will beat as one

Psycho Killer (Talking Heads)

the 80's

and that's it. I also add that I’ve JUST finished my exams. i’m so tired. (I’m kinda subtly apologising for this out of control/limit post)
my english is so basic that it wears me out.

AH...i'm still waiting to see what you have done with 'the portugal song'!

plins cintilantes

(my father wanted me to be mum didn't.i love to think if my life would have been the same if i really was Lola)

The Lou Who of Cin said...

Amanda, Entertainment Weekly just published an article on Celebrity Web Blogs. I remember one of your past blogs denouncing the unavailability of celebrity blogs and the revelation that perhaps Avril Lavigne's might be a little disappointing. Well Avril's blogs are in the article, and I wish so much that they had featured yours. But that would have proved unlikely; Britney's is in the article, too.

Haha, this is so out of topic with this current posting. In that vein, I wish that the Dresden Dolls would release more vinyl records of your albums. And I can't wait for your solo.

With much Love to you, Cindy

Hunger For The Great Light said...

So, I was on my way out of my building yesterday, prepared to go down the street and finally get my laundry done. On my way out I made the grave mistake of checking the mail. In said mail was a small, dvd box-sized, parcel marked "Tower Records".

And now, thanks to YOU, I sit stewing in my dirty underwear.

I rushed back to my apartment, perfectly atwitter. I ripped the gorgeous box from it's cardboard and cellophane prison and wasted no time thrusting the disk into my player. I took just a moment to admire the beautiful artwork of the menu as I moved the cursor to "play all" and gingerly pressed the "select" button of my remote.

However all my expectations were for naught. How could I have anticipated such a thing? I was blown away, absolutely. If only I could have been there.

Just under a year ago, you and Brian changed my life. I even managed to tell you that once, when we met for a few brief minutes, just a couple weeks before this DVD was shot. And now my relationship with that music as been reaffirmed.

Thank you.

All my love to Brian.

Tricia said...

I had someone tell me that my wrinkles gave my face character.
Phyllis Diller kept coming to mind.

Dear God, please don't give me any more character.

Michael Oberon said...

Girlfriend it's been so long since you posted last your last post is getting wrinkles. Throw your adoring throngs a crumb. Or go all Marie Antoinette and throw us the whole darn cake! Hope you're in a creative blaze, but funks are groovy too.

Can't have music without the silence between the notes.

kelly said...

Amanda I'm 21 and have the same single wrinkle between my eyebrows. And as far as the whole kids across the street and longing to be with them. I feel that all the time. I generally feel so much older than I actually am, because I have two little kids.

mistress jolly said...

Please never stop smiling openly, unabashedly, fully...if you stopped the earth might actually tilt, spin off its axis and go careening wildly into the don't want THAT on you do is full of beautiful wrinkles...I am 39 I know...

space designer said...

hi ha ho!

since i turned 43 last month and still seem to recognise the old 'me-energy', this might be some positive news for all readers who fear aging.
yessss it matters how you design your life but even if it takes shiploads of energy: it keeps on sending beauty and surpises.

time is only something that mathemagicians have invented... so invent your way to dance your way through the world!

Isidora said...

You might like J.M. Coetzee's 'Diary of a Bad Year' because it's a brilliant book and has those mulitple stories in the book a little bit like 'Extremely Loud..'.

Chris Gorski said...

It wasn't until I hit my early 30's that the angst over losing the infinite possibilities of youth started turning into real and poignant emotional moments, mostly over bittersweet things in media or my own life. I seem to have swapped the bright skies of youth for the overcast reality of the mortality of everything. Depression came on hard, but it brought me the gift of tears like you described in your youth. I can cry over the sappiest things, or by being overcome by beauty, wonder, injustice, gratitude (my favorite) or even things that connect me with nature. I even started to broaden my musical horizons to allow John Denver to replace Frank Zappa in my 30's. Plus having two beautiful little girls has made me connect even more deeply with my emotions. I feel a deep emotional connection with my older daughter (4 years old). We even went to a DD show together in Providence last October and she loved it despite the poor whiteface that daddy did on her. When my wife found our latest kitten dead in the road, I awoke my daughter from the car and we buried her together, sobbing like babbies the whole time, and we still break out in a good cry together sometimes, and that to me is a gift that all of the parties of youth cannot replace. I pity those that go through life unable to feel or who find ways to avoid it. I believe in deep feeling/grieving as the heart of healing and growing. My parents think I'm crazy for introducing death to a little girl, but I pledged to always give her the truth in the way she could best understand. I told her of Steve Irwin's death the night it happened, (sobbing while explaining), and she asked me, "Does he miss his mommy?" I responded that I did not know. She then said he was going to see his mommy and would be happy there. Later that night I saw him interviewed in which he said the saddest moment of his life was when his mum died in a car accident several years prior. I had not known that before nor could my daughter have. What an example of the wisdom of the innocents. My daughter actually consoles me when I still get choked up over the things that man did for animal conservation out of pure love.

My whole point is that I just turned 37, have the damn wrinkles and graying hair, but still stay physical and my heart is opening more than it ever has. That is my gift from age - let your heart open more and it gets better even when physically things seem to be getting worse. Plus I have a strong belief in reincarnation and I know we all will be back to learn more next time around - it only gets better if we keep open to learning and really feeling to the depths of our soul and sharing these feelings with others - like you do with your art.

I also enjoyed meeting you and Brian briefly at a pizzeria in New Haven a few years back at the show with Regina. Damn, you and Brian are so down to earth. Thanks for signing my daughter's diaper with Regina. Let your art take you deeper and use your changes to motivate you. I love your inner being and remember that is who you are, not some rented body. Shine on sister!


sexy said...