The Real Beauty

I was watching something the other day where a photographer was photoshopping a picture of a model. He was erasing the lines by her eyes. I didn’t even think about the implications at the time. I get heated up with everyone about the ridiculous beauty standards placed on women (and it’s getting as bad for men too) but I’m not always sure if the beauty industry is driving our expectations or if our expectations are driving the beauty industry.

I suspect it is a combonation of both since they both need each other to survive.

But I don’t want to dive into that complex, slightly depressing subject. I’ve been thinking about how I view myself internally vs. what I actually look like. This is more about aging.

It’s often a shock when I see myself in the mirror. I’m always 20 years behind my actual chronological age. When I was 20, I struggled with feeling like a little kid. Now I’m in my 40s and I feel like I’m 20. The boldness and confidence I feel now would have made me unstoppable in my 20s.

An old friend shared a picture of me from when I was about 20. I was stunned by the young woman in the picture. First of all, because she had flawless skin and I don’t remember having that. Also, I know I’m pale but I look a little undead in that picture. Which is pretty cool right now.

Look at those eyebrows! I never waxed them then. I wish I still had those eyebrows. I wish I had eyebrows!

Knowing how impatient I got (get) with makeup, I only have some mascara a little lip gloss in that picture. Dang. What I would give to look like that now. Instead, I look in the mirror and I see a friendly looking, cute at best, middle age woman. I’m not complaining. I’m just always surprised I’m not the smoldering redhead I was 20 years ago. When did that happen? How did I miss that? Wait…what?

I have a few old friends that live a few hours away who have tried to get together for dinner a time or two and I always find an excuse not to see them. I’m afraid, the actual excuse is that I don’t want them to see I’ve aged. Seriously. Have you ever heard anything so stupid? Of course I’ve aged! And I’ve aged well. But still, I like the idea of something thinking of that babe above when they think of me rather than my nice, portly, middle aged self.

It’s so much more fun to be va va voom.

I wouldn’t go back to that age for anything. My 40s have been SO fun and a thousand times better than my 20s. I just sometimes wish I didn’t have quite so many miles showing on my engine.

Instead of bemoaning the impossible any longer (today), I’m going to go do planks (working on my core muscles helps my middle-age back), have another cup of tea (because soda has those nasty chemicals), and keep working on accepting myself. Do we ever get this right and become comfortable in the skin we have at the time we have it?

I tried to take a picture with one of the dogs. Instead, he french kissed me and ran off. It was a Kodak moment.

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2 Responses to The Real Beauty

  1. Rita says:

    This is something I’m working on. I have the same sense of disbelief–it’s like someone swapped my face out while I wasn’t looking. I suppose because I wasn’t really looking–too busy working and tending children and having a life crisis. Now the dust has settled, and I can look up, and there’s a woman in the mirror who doesn’t look at all like the one in my head!

  2. Sue says:

    Your are striking. Height, hair, internal beauty andd more. We sometimes refer to you, favorably like Randy Newman would, as the “big, nasty redhead.”

    My grandmother would say that she felt 17, and when she looked in the mirror she wondered where that old lady came from.

    I’ve been unhappy with my aging though I’ve been embracing the idea of a 50th birthday party blowout next year. As for aging, the worst thing is grey hair which started early for me for my what was naturally very dark hair. It is a b!tch to keep ungrey!

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