Well, some of me, anyway.
People keep telling me that I haven’t changed, but oh I have.
The lines are deeper, the hair is definitely silver underneath the dye – because I’m not ready yet to let it grow out gracefully – but the ‘tache is becoming lighter as more of it goes white.
Those lines though. The crescent around the corners of my mouth, the lines running from nose to the edges of my lips, the deeper shadows surrounding the eye socket, none of those were there before and yet here they are, staring back at me in the mirror every day.
To me, they are not things to hide. Even though I might have a moment of “Oh ffs, concealer maybe?” once in a while, it’s not really that much of a bother because that’s my face. It’s not just a collection of lines and pores and sparse brows and random hairs, it’s the picture I present to the world.
That picture has a life lived imprinted on it. Those crescents are smile lines, and to see them get deeper means, to me, that I have smiled and laughed a lot in my life. They are just going to have to get deeper, then, as I want to continue to smile, continue to laugh, and hang the skin related consequences. There have been times when it’s been extremely difficult to smile, but then I remember that I can smile at a person, and though it’s a brief or fleeting moment for me, a kind look can mean the world to another.
I am aware that my genes are to blame for almost everything that happens to my body, inside and out. I have other marks and scars, all reminders of things that happened.
I am grateful that my genes have given me mostly good skin, and a fairly good bone structure that’s under there somewhere. I’ve never been so desperate to see my cheekbones that I’d stop eating cheese, good butter and olive oil because of it, I admit.
My lived experience canvas hangs on the outside of a framework that has withstood a fair amount of battering. For someone who’s had a life threatening illness as a child, been in 3 motorbike accidents, had various tumbles on ice, a slipped disc and jarred hips that won’t quit reminding me they are there, and plus hauled the MonSter (Relapsing Remitting MS) around since 1996, I think I’m doing very well indeed.
That isn’t because I am, or have done, anything special, or because I’ve lived a good life – though I really have – or a Christian life – ha ha ha – it’s just the luck of the draw. That’s all it is for anyone. We are what we are.
I do joke when people say I don’t look my age (47) that it’s all the olive oil I eat. Maybe it is.
I will never deny myself the feeling of warm sun on my skin, or the blast of the wind in my hair for fear of lines. I can’t imagine hiding away from the sun’s rays, but I am lucky that I have an olive skinned heritage. I don’t overdo it, because who wants sunburn, but I do sit in it when I can to soak it up and boost that vitamin D.
An avocado. Now. That is for eating, not schmearing on your face. I don’t eat them often, but when I do, olive oil and sea salt is the way that I go. I’m always far too grateful to have found a ripe one to even think about splotting some onto my wrinkles. My wrinkles might even love it, but they aren’t going to get the chance to find out. My lines are there for myriad reasons. An avocado is for lunch, my face is for smiling and laughing.
So here I am. This is me. I’m not going to hide the marks that life has left on me just because ‘beauty’ magazines and ‘society’ thinks I should.
Here’s to growing old, to collecting more lines, more experiences, more smiles.
Here’s to living.
Here’s to LIFE.