Everything is going downhill.
The bags under my eyes, my cheeks, my boobs, the corners of my mouth, and lets not even talk about my baby pouch (sagging tummy anyone?) – that thing is out of control! I know I’m not “old” yet. I’m not old by any definition of the word, but I feel it and I see it. I did have my son when I was very young, but in a couple of short years, my baby boy will be in high school. I will be the mother of a teenager. How did that even happen???!?
For the first time in my life, I look worn. That youthful glow that people go on about? I had that once too, and now it’s gone – faded into the fine lines and creases that pattern my face. I don’t want to care about those horrible lines, but I do. I care very much about them and I want them gone. And then I don’t. And then I do. Make up your mind, girl!
My browser history is full of search terms like:
“can you botox while breastfeeding”, “do frownies really work?”, “does Retin A pass through breast milk?”, “If I lose weight will my wrinkles look worse?”, and my favourite flop so far “non surgical facelift near me”.
If you’re curious, the answers are nope, for a little while, probably not, probably yes, and yes there are tonnes of non surgical face lifts near me. Expensive, painful non-surgical face lifts that they won’t do when you’re pregnant or breast feeding. Go figure.
I’ve become paranoid about my skin. These past few weeks I have taken more selfies than I ever thought I was capable of. I have tried to capture the best and the worst of the hideous canyons that have made their home on my forehead and around my mouth so that I can come to terms with them, or erase them depending on how loving toward myself I happen to feel in the moment. “Expression lines”, they claim. As if calling them something so innocuous could make them less confronting.
The funny thing is, I look at those lines and sometimes I love each and every one of them. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t buy any of this ” be proud, you earned those lines” business that you hear people going on about, but I do know that each and every mark on my skin is testament to the life I have lived. Laughter, curiosity, and despair etched their stories where all the world can see (a bit too deeply if you ask me). But they didn’t ask me! They just showed up uninvited, like unpleasant guests who waltzed in to my home and proceeded to give it a terrible 70s style makeover.
But sometimes as I massage synthetic snake venom cream into the corners of my mouth (why do I do this thing?!), I feel the soft ridges there and smile. I am so grateful for those lines. So blessed that I have been given this life, this body, this spirit, with which to love, live, and yes, to get wrinkly. I think of all the young mothers who will not have the chance to watch the lines form on their cheeks. Who would give all the world to grow old, soft, and worn. I think these things and I feel ashamed that I care so much about how I appear to the world. That the minute my youth began to fade, I demanded it back like the ungrateful and entitled girl I used to be.
But I don’t feel old yet.
I don’t feel like a woman who has crows feet or laughter lines.
In my mind, I still want to be 21 and feeling beautiful, feeling like all the world was there for me to devour. I want my fledgling music career back, and the sad thing is, God forbid if you look older than 22 and you want to make a living doing what you love in the music industry. Look over 30? Then you’re kidding yourself if you think anyone will want you. Young people buy music. Young people want to listen to other young people. They don’t want to watch a video clip of an ageing mother with sleep deprivation written all over her face. They want vitality and excitement. Vital and exciting are not two words I would use to describe myself these days.
But I don’t want to be exciting, (though vital would be nice). I just want to be me, not pumped full of botox, fillers, or barely recognisable through an Instagram filter. What I really want is to feel beautiful and worthy. Beautiful with wrinkles and sagging skin. Beautiful with stretch marks and breasts that point south. Beautiful and worthy of love. Beautiful *because* of those things I perceive as so imperfect, not in spite of them.
I love the lines around my eyes and mouth. I love how they got there, through wide smiles and tears of joy as I observe my incredible children. Through sharing four years of laughter with my husband, who brings such innocent wonder into my world. I love the stretch marks and sagging skin where I carried my babies and find contentment in the droop of my breasts, breasts that have nourished my children for three years combined.
I want to believe this all the time.
How do you feel about ageing? Leave a comment below and let’s talk about it. <3