For the most part, the 30’s have been amazing. It’s like your brain finally puts things in order – who/what to care about, who/what NOT to. There’s a pruning of what’s important, shedding the negative and really enjoying what life has to offer.
That all said, not everything in the 30’s has been smooth. And, yes, literally not smooth … because I’m talking about my face. No longer in my early 30’s, I’m falling “victim” to what naturally happens as we age and that means wrinkles and their age-defining buddies. For me, that is currently manifesting as wrinkles on my forehead, lines around my eyes, and, recently, age spots have joined the party. What will my 40’s bring? Yet to be determined.
But, here’s the deal. I refuse to hate my face. I’m not going to buy into the narrative that I am less than just because I am visibly aging. I’ve spent far too many years hating my body and allowing cultural rhetoric that says I should look a certain way dictate how I treat the vehicle that carries me through this life.
And, now, in my 30’s, I’ve made peace with my body – that that has birthed the people and gives all the hugs and is so strong in its own right – and I choose to not turn that loathing to my face. Because where then does it stop? When I have sufficiently given enough energy to face-hate, do I turn to hate my hair? My hands? Myself?
So fix it, you say, I know this amazing facial regime … no, thank you. It’s not for me. This is me being counter cultural and I will take my wrinkled forehead straight to the mirror and remind myself I am enough. I don’t need to spend hundreds on creams and potions that delay the inevitable if I love myself just the way I am. Right now.
I have a daughter who has my eyes. They are brown and beautiful and I wanted just one baby with my brown eyes. She also has my saggy eye skin. That’s not an age thing, although it has gotten worse with age for sure. It’s a genetic thing. My mom has it. Her dad had it. His mom had it. It’s who we are. Our eyes tell our stories; a reminder a generations past. Our eyes are not broken. They do not need fixed.
I have a daughter with hundreds of freckles (we’ve counted.) She gets them from her daddy, who has hundreds as well. I wanted just one baby with freckles like his; his that I fell so hard for so many years ago. Her freckles are beautiful and make her who she is. They do not make her broken. She doesn’t need to grow up agonizing over each one because our culture tells her she’s “damaged.”
I have a daughter with vitiligo (a loss of pigment on her skin.) I did not ask for a baby with vitiligo, but I will not allow her to think she’s less than because of her skin. Her “magic spots” make her who she is. Her skin is not broken. She should not have to cover up this up.
If I meet you at the playground and we strike up a conversation and you are kind and funny, I don’t leave the interaction thinking, wow, her face had wrinkles. If we work together and I’m in awe of the amazing things you are doing to change this world, I’m not counting your age spots. If you are my friend, I love you for you, despite your laugh lines – instead I love how we’ve created those lines together. So, as a gift to myself, I am doing the same. I am enough.
So why put this out into the interwebs? Because I remember a time when body shaming was huge. It’s certainly not gone, but I do think we’re much more aware of our different bodies as a culture and are moving away from one size fits all. I don’t see this when we ask people to look just above the shoulders.
I can’t peruse the ole’ FB without getting inundated with images of before/afters of people with “new and improved” skin. What I always want to say, and never do because hashtag socially awkward, is that there were people who loved them before they became “new and improved” just as much as they do now. I respect the side hustle and the mama-bosses out there working it with the intent to boost confidence in women. I only wish we didn’t need our confidence boosted with something so literally skin deep.
My counter-cultural job of loving my face “as is” is not going to get any easier – gravity and aging are not exactly on my side with this – and I don’t promise I won’t fall off the wagon and look for the temporary ego boost only magic creams can bring, but I implore you out there to love yourself today. You are enough right now.
That accidental selfie you see when the camera faces the wrong way? That’s enough. The side glance in the mirror as you walk by? That’s enough. The way others see you as YOU. That’s enough. Aging is a gift not afforded to all.
And it’s time we realize it. We are enough and we have the power to change the narrative. By being enough, being unashamed, and loving our WHOLE selves (including our aging faces RIGHT now), we are paving the way for women of the future who may find it easier to fully love themselves. That will be the best gift our culture can give to our daughters.