My husband has installed a magnifying mirror in our bathroom so that he can better see himself shaving (he’s become half-blind in his 40s, an affliction which I’ve so far dodged.) And, while that mirror is extremely useful for removing stray eyebrow hairs (and that one nasty chin hair), it also makes my skin’s multiplying imperfections very clear to me.
Lines around my eyes? Oh, I didn’t know I had those. Dark circles, well, they’ve always been there. But, those bags… Wow, I think they’d charge me excess baggage for those babies. I seriously didn’t even know I had giant craters, I mean pores. No wonder my acupuncturist was eager to stick his needles into my face.
Don’t even get me started on the lines radiating out from around my mouth. I don’t even smoke, and yet I have those attractive puckered starbursts surrounding my mouth. They aren’t smile lines, and I can’t pretend they’re from kissing too much. No, these are structured specifically for collecting little chunks of lip gloss.
People tell me I’m holding up great (“Wow. You’re 44? You look really good for your age”.) What can I say? I have good genes. My Dad passed away at the age of 71 with nary a wrinkle. Most of the time, I’m told I look a good 10 years younger than I actually am (but I truly think it’s because I’m immature and not because I look 35.)
But, I know what’s coming. Everything is going to fall down one day, like the Tower of Pisa has been threatening to do for centuries. I’m going to pay the price for sunning with baby oil and tinfoil and my lack of a regular skin care regimen.
I’m trying to prepare myself both emotionally and intellectually for that one morning where I wake up and look in our 20x mirror and see an old woman peering back at me.
Sure, sure, I know that the lines are well earned, that the wrinkles demonstrate a life well lived, and the sun spots, well, they’re a reminder of what a stupid teenager I was. Those are rational thoughts.
My irrational self wishes she had Charlize Theron’s Snow White and the Huntsman mirror. You know, the one that made her look like a beautiful queen and not a wrinkled old crone. Of course, that mirror is not a real way to deal with my aging visage.
What is real is the availability of cosmetic intervention like Botox, Restylane, fillers, tighteners, stretchers, and plumpers. I ask myself whether I would really visit a doctor and do something to my face? Would I get my neck gullets sucked and injected into my eyelids? Is it worth it? Do I really care that much?
Most of me says “no.” I’ve never been that vain (well, THAT vain.) I don’t like pain, and I’ve been far more focused on finding the flaws in my body to worry about my reliably smooth face. Up until now. The Witching Hour.
And my little inner witch is starting to whisper sweet nothings in my pre-menopausal ear like “What are a few units of Botox between friends? Just for your smoker’s pout. And maybe a little fix under your eyes? What could it hurt?”
First of all, it would hurt. Like needles in my face hurt.
There are other factors too. Having some ‘work’ done would damage my ideals. I’ve always maintained that nips and tucks were not for me, that I would age gracefully, and with acceptance. The me that said that, of course, was the blemish-free one (did I mention that I’m finally going through the pimple portion of puberty?)
So, what is this Chicky to do about her slowly sinking face then, since the magical mirror is a bad idea (look how that turned out), and fancy fixes are not on my radar?
Well, first of all, I could try to stop examining myself under that evil microscope. (Other than the necessary vigilance about my chin hair.)
I could also adopt a proper skin care routine, and apply a variety of creams and lotions and potions that may or may not work (which I’m currently sporadically doing.)
And lastly, I could recognize that as I get older, I get more beautiful and knowing. That my lines really do tell my story. And, that my under-eye bags might one day come in handy to carry a last minute purchase, or maybe, if pressed, a small child.
Sure, the sky might be falling. But, I’m just going to prop it up with a little serum and a heavy duty concealer.