She dabbed the concealer under my eyes and then sponged foundation across my face. Stepping back and pausing for a moment, she asked a question that was designed as more of a statement than an inquiry, “Do you get Botox or filler?” It was obvious that she already knew the answer: no I don’t.
I’m fifty-five years old and I have nothing injected in my face or elsewhere at this time. It’s true that there was a time in my life when I did get Botox around my eyes but I thought it made me look strange. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not judging, I think people should do what works for them with regard to cosmetic surgery and procedures. I’m not at all against having work done, if that’s someone’s personal choice. I know many women who get Botox and fillers and they look amazing and are thrilled with the results. I just don’t want society dictating how I should look one way or another, and any sort of looks/age/weight shaming, or any shaming at all for that matter, is just wrong.
It’s a fact, I am getting older, and you are too. Whether I like it or not, my face and body are changing and aging. When the make-up artist asked me that question, the first thing I thought was, “way to make someone feel confident before getting in front of a camera”. Later I thought of the underlying issue, looks and age shaming. When did it become so offensive to show the natural signs of a life well lived? I look around the town I live in, Boulder, Colorado, and I see men and women who wear their grey hair like a badge of honor – and it’s sexy as hell.
I watch my husband’s head turn to glance at a healthy looking silver fox strutting across the parking lot of our local grocery store, and I can’t blame him for looking. When she smiles, she has gorgeous lines that accent her joyful face and her confidence is enviable.
“Aging is not lost youth but a new stage of opportunity and strength.” ~Betty Friedan
Believe me, there are many-a-days when I wake up to this well lived-in face of mine and I ask myself, “damn, what happened here”, as I see my puffy lined eyes staring back at me, but the truth is, I love my face and body. It took me forty years or so to get to this place of acceptance, and two weeks or two years from now, I may decide to have work done, and I’m at peace with that too. It’s really about personal choice as far as how I, or anybody else, wishes to look.
When the make-up artist, a woman approximately the same age as me, added, “it’s not too late, you can still get some filler”, I laughed under my breath a bit, but the truth is, it made me mad, and sad. Mad because this was a sister casting shade on me, and that is never cool. Sad that she was so focused on her perception of beauty that she couldn’t see what made me, and likely many other men and women, lovely in our own right. I got that her job was to make me look as best as possible, but when it crossed the line to not accepting my natural face, it a became an issue for me. Could she not see the sparkle in my eyes that showed what a rich and happy life I lead?
Apparently not, and that is fine, however, it does make me wonder how she views her own self worth and ties it to her appearance. More importantly, how many men and woman of varying ages has she questioned about the way they look who walk away feeling less than when they arrived?
At the end of the day, we are all a little older than we were this morning. It’s a reminder to not waste precious time on insignificant happenings and thoughts, to brush off the negative, embracing what is good in our lives and moving forward on our journey in a productive way, hopefully finding joy in the small and meaningful things that pass through our days.