Was working with a colleague recently, and we were comparing skin woes. Funnily enough, for ladies of a certain age, we bemoaned the fact that while the wrinkles were certainly developing, along with the grey hair and the middle age spread, we hadn’t shaken off the demon of puberty – acne! Now, for most people, pimples are associated with youth, and that awkward stage where you are all gangly limbs and raging hormones. Where do we fit into that spectrum then?
I have tried it all- from medication to topical creams and cleansers to going cold turkey on sugar and fried food. Nothing seems to work permanently. Unfortunately, all that it does, is erode is one’s self esteem. And how much of a woman’s self esteem is tied up with her appearance!
Ageing is a battle we fight daily. All too often I have heard women complain how, once they get to a certain age, they seem to become invisible. All that supposed wisdom one acquires with age is all but ignored, in favour of the nubile delights of a twenty something. Even cultures where age and wisdom were once venerated, are seeing an emergence of the cult of worshipping at the altar of youth.
It is no wonder then that women turn to the more radical forms of re invention. Surgery. Botox. Fillers. Anything to halt the relentless march of time across their bodies. As a twenty something, I had little patience for it. It seemed amusing almost to see them scrabbling for space amongst their younger rivals. I would look at Hollywood actors who had lost all mobility in their faces, and wonder at the desperation it took, to nullify the very thing that gave credence to their craft.
Now, however, I view them almost sympathetically. I understand this need to hold on, at whatever cost, to their departing youth. To prolong their shelf life, so to speak.
Ironically however, and I have always believed this, the fact that you have had “work” done, almost instantly does age you. It puts you in the category of “having needed it” and therefore certainly over the hill. Most tryingly also, it makes you a clone of yourself. And of countless others. Notice how, all surgical wonders and Botoxed beauties have a certain similarity to their look. Whither the individuality then?
So, even as I stare into the mirror, and rue the pimples, the lack of elasticity to my skin, the fading attractiveness of my face, I remind myself to cherish the lines that have sprung up. These are the wrinkles I have accrued over time. They are a map to my life. My own singular journey. And while, I may not dance in joy to see them multiply, I take a quiet pride in them. For I have earned these. And I refuse to wipe them out.