I don’t look a day over thirty-five
Today, is my birthday.
Yesterday we were hanging around the mall, waiting to meet up with a friend who was arriving at the adjoining train station. We ducked into a shop that sells grooming products as Spectrummy Daddy needed something for his shave. While in there, I saw some expensive-looking face masks. Normally I wouldn’t consider spending so much, but my skin was very dry after a cold, and could have probably used a little extra moisture. Before I had a chance to pick it up, a sales assistant pounced on me.
“You’re skin is beautiful!”
Is it, really? I’m no stranger to this type of a pitch- they do it all over the world. In a hair salon, the stylist will tell me they love the thickness of my hair, then proceed to tell me the colour is drab and I need highlights. Or my natural colour is gorgeous- and no grey!- but it is in terrible condition and I need to buy their special treatment.
Only, I don’t. I choose to cut my own hair at home instead- it isn’t like I have the time to spend in a salon anyway.
And yes, within minutes, the lady is applying a gel that costs R800 to “even out my skin tone”. That isn’t enough, and she moves on to the dark circles under my eyes. She is talking anti-oxidants and free radicals. The benefits of rooibos (but not drinking it!) and how I shouldn’t put chemicals on my skin as it ages.
My skin is stinging and shining as this special formula only available in London or Paris (wait, where am I?) seeps into my pores. Which are too large, there is another product for that. So I’m not really listening, I’m just waiting for her to stop so I can get out of there and wipe the stuff off.
I should be vulnerable to this. My feelings should be smarting just as much as my epidermis.
I should be reflecting that I’m about to turn another year older- no spring chicken any more. I should be thinking that the last time I saw my friend was in Luxembourg, when Pudding was five days old and we were just out of hospital. I remember my friend saying I looked great- you couldn’t tell I’d just had a baby, and I mumbled something in return about being sleep-deprived. Hah! Pudding slept better as a newborn than she has in the six subsequent years! If I thought I was tired then, what am I now? If I didn’t feel my skin looked fresh then, in my twenties, how does that compare to now?.
But I’m not.
I just really don’t care, and it is truly liberating! Maybe my skin is a little dry. Maybe my hair could use a trim. But really I’m okay with how I am. With who I am. It has taken 35 years on this planet to get really comfortable in my own skin.
No sale for this lady- I don’t even bother with the face mask I would have bought had she not told me how ugly I am! Instead we head to the bathrooms and wipe the gunk off my face.
We head outside and I embrace my friend, and we marvel at how long it has been…at how much has happened since we last met. Does it show in my face? Maybe…but I wouldn’t change a thing!
Once upon a time I needed a cosmetic fix. These days I realize I was never broken. That might be the best birthday present I’ve ever given myself.