I am 47 years old. I think this surprises some folks, probably not because of my youthful appearance but more of a maturity level thing. I keep thinking one day CPS will realize I'm not really an adult and take my kids away. Then I realize I do a good job of taking care of them and my mom and myself and it hits me: I am indeed an adult.
This is the first year I feel older. This is also the first year I'm realizing the media is playing a part in this. On a nearly daily basis, I am told to hide my fine lines, cover my grays, make my skin tone more even - change how I look. It has made me look at myself and others differently.
I wasn't seeing the lines around my eyes - that tend to show more when I'm happy and laughing - as a good thing. I wasn't seeing the scars I've gotten over the years as anything positive. The occasional gray hairs were making me nuts.
The man I date doesn't care that I'm not perfect. When we were talking about this topic the other day, he reminded me that he wanted us to grow old together. He couldn't have said more perfect words. When I said I wanted botox in front of my girls, A said "NO! You are perfect the way you are!" I tell them to love themselves yet here I was wanting to change myself.
I used to watch the Real Housewives and think I wanted to look like them - svelte, perfect with good noses and always perfect hair. Then it happened. They couldn't cry pretty. Granted, most folks aren't pretty when they cry. But their faces move. I don't want to be plastic.
There are ads, magazine articles, talk show topics - you name it - showing how to have perfect (surgically altered) boobs, noses, faces, even vaginas. If you shouldn't have lines on your face, you definitely shouldn't a 40 something year old vagina. Great messages there. I started to feel inadequate even though my children and the man who sees me at my best and worst tell me I'm beautiful.
Then I watched the Academy Awards last night. Holy botox overdose! There were lots of unnaturally shiny faces - male and female! There were those with very even skin tones, even though they were orange. I don't want shiny. I certainly don't want orange. Fuck that. I like to laugh. I don't want my face so frozen that I'm unable to cry.
I'll still probably continue to dye my hair. I have been doing so since I was about 14 years old (with a few breaks in there). My hair is naturally almost black so the few grays seem to glow. Besides, I like my hair with a tinge of purple. I've just discovered life as a sort-of red head. I like playing with it. There's a difference in doing it because I like and doing it because I feel I'm supposed to do it.
This is probably the most recent picture of me. No make up. No hiding anything. The lines are all there. So is the uneven skin tone. And the roots that needed to be touched up. But at least I can smile and my face doesn't reflect the sun.