Having no clue whatsoever that I’ve gotten older physically, mostly because, I’ve rejuvenated myself on the inside, turned the clocks back and have found a new me…I assumed I still looked how I felt…YOUNG!
Oddly, it was brought to my attention that I have what they term as, “laugh lines”. The complete and total joke of the name ‘laugh lines’ is the interpretation of that catchphrase. Because apparently “laugh lines” are a bad thing! Who knew that a laugh could be negative? Only our society, right?
A few years ago, I was offered a “great” job at a cosmetic surgery and medical spa. Immediately my eyes were left wide open to an array of disturbing things that women (and men) do to try and hide the appearance of aging.
…This is my short-lived experience in this world:
Innocent cosmetic surgery worker after studying my face: “You can have those filled in, you know?”
Me: “Um, what?”
“The lines around your mouth. It’s what makes you look older. They are called laugh lines”
Me: “Um, what? I’m older?” My mind is spinning. What just happened?? I think I look fine, I mean I did my makeup really good today (so I thought).
Innocent cosmetic surgery worker: “You may have some prominent frown lines too.”
Me: “Um what?!”
“Yeah, the lines on your forehead, they completely show your age.”
Me: “And what exactly is my age?”
(Yeah, she didn’t answer that one.)
And for a second or two, I can’t answer that one too because I don’t live a life obsessed with numbers.
Innocent cosmetic surgery worker: “Your eyes look tired and you have the lines on the side of them. They’re called ‘crow’s feet and It ages you, but you are really ‘pretty’.”
Me: Okay this is getting “old”.
~Am I the only person who laughed yet cried a little at that joke?
“An injection can fill it up quick, then BAM you look younger!”
Me: And you have had all this stuff done? (Having no clue how old this person is by her picture-perfect face.)
“Yup, I have!” She proudly declares.
Me: And how exactly old are you?
She blushes, “Twenty-Six. But, I hope I look as good as you at your age.”
Yeah right, you think I look old and tired!
And then and there I ran for the door-busting through it so hard it shattered into a million microcosmic pieces that I’m sure are still floating somewhere in the confines of space.
Let me be clear, crystal clear. Unrefined, flawless diamond clear, because my rebuttal to twenty-six-year-old cosmetic surgery worker is:
*Laugh lines say I’ve found joy in my life. So much accounted for overwhelming sunshine has blanketed me that I would never trade a laugh line in exchange for a youthful appearance that no longer is mine to have.
*Frown lines tell me I’ve met sorrow in my life-journey. I embrace it, not abolish it. Welcome its cry in the dark of the night, because that is how beguiling sadness is. It gets you when you least expect it. But, it has the ability to work even more powerfully than the elation found in life, because if you don’t know what it is like to weep how can you truly find the return to happiness?
*Crows feet indicate to me that I have actually listened to the people I love in this life. Are you familiar with the contortion your face makes when you are intently listening to a beautiful and heartbreaking story a dear friend is telling you? Then you hug her neck so hard it hurts. Isn’t this what life all about, reacting in the moment that we are presented with? None of us are guaranteed a tomorrow and I chose to seize the day. Unfortunately, life does not come with a warranty and if life calls for me to ugly cry with a friend, I’ll take the crows feet with honor and pride.
I vowed long ago that a mirror would never dictate to me my true reflection to the world. So why would an aging me be sold into the world of seeking something I’m not any longer: twenty-five?
And trust me that isn’t a bad thing. That is what is SO wrong with our society. Why do we not embrace aging? Why don’t we hug it tight like a gift we’ve been given after precedence in the dark yearning to taste freedom after living in a prison of self-doubt and body shaming?
Why do we desire so deeply to look like we did when we were 25 at age 43?
How many women who have gone before us didn’t get to blow out those 43 candles on their birthday because they were taken too soon? How many mothers left their babies unexpectedly and didn’t get to see them grow older? How many people tragically weren’t able to embrace the beauty of aging due to an abrupt end of their life? Tell their souls you feel “old” because you don’t look like you did twenty years ago and feel the universe shudder in response.
I want to be remembered for how I made people feel not how I look.
I want to leave the footprint of my perfect imperfections for they ultimately are my beginning and my end.
Our flaws make us who we are and I think that is why they are so sought after to cover them up at any cost. NO one wants to stand naked in front of the world stating, “I’m messed up!” In the super crazy social media, mass information age we have the choice now to portray what we want the world, not necessarily who we truly are. Yet, our missteps and our disparage is what has the stronger ability to make us more relatable. More real, more human. It is in our imperfections that others can find their true selves. Not in a false beauty we chose to show, it has never worked that way, why would it now?
I love the lines that are apparently spread all over my face. After this recent revelation, I cherish them more, try to hide them less and shout from the rooftops that “I am so blessed in this life!” I have lived over four decades of love, loss, beauty, heartache, and a great big mixture of it all!
My face will show you that each roadmap of fine lines has lead me to a different destination I was meant to arrive at. And every smooth patch will be taking me on a new adventure that I have yet to go on.
I am striving to be authentic. A life free of fillers and Botox, the fake precedence some feel is needed to survive as a woman in this life. I’m fine with taking my chances on what is real, for I find more beauty in the fine lines of life than the smooth ones. The jagged times have taught me how to navigate heartache, earn resilience, and flourish.
Smooth is easy. Youth is bliss, yet aging is a brilliant and stunning gift. And I accept that precious treasure as if it were the reflections of pure gold at the bottom of a river chasing the sea.