I used to practice smiling in the mirror so you couldn’t see the lines around my eyes. In my early-20’s, the “crow’s feet” would show up the moment my lips went upward. It was a useless effort, but at the time, I worked with women older than me whose faces barely moved when they spoke, and I thought they always looked composed and calm. They spoke about their extensive – and expensive – skin care routines, and at the time, all I could think about what how I was so obviously missing the mark with my wrinkly eyes.
At the time, I was a college student working full time, and I had no extra money to go to skin care beyond my drug store make up and whatever face wash was on sale at target. I did, however, always, somehow, have the extra money to get the newest Glamour, Cosmo, or Vogue magazine. Glossy pages full of women with stoic and smooth faces. I poured over those pages trying to figure out how to emulate their look.
But all that time was for naught. You see, I am incredibly expressive. What I am thinking shows all over my face, I talk with my hands, I move and dance and walk around. When I am excited, I am really excited. And when I am down, I am really down. My face shows every emotion. “Calm” and “stoic” are not words anyone would use to describe me. And while I now see that as a wonderful attribute, it took a while for me to get there.
It wasn’t until I was 29 that I started to actually love the deep lines around my eyes. A change in perspective and language was all I needed to go from obsessively trying the next best option short of Botox to smooth out the crow’s feet to loving the deep creases around my eyes.
The day I was getting my bridal portraits done, I met my makeup artist. A stunning woman with a shaved head and what I can only describe as elegant tattoos. She was kind and funny and made me feel at ease the moment I sat down.
She talked the whole time – asking questions, telling stories – the kind of conversation that makes you feel so at ease with the person you forget you just met.
“I love your laugh lines around your eyes,” she told me, while adding some sparkle to my lids. “To have that much joy marked on your face is such a beautiful thing.”
To have that much joy marked on your face is a beautiful thing.
I go back to this statement a lot. How wonderful is it to live a life that has had so much emotion and joy that it is marked on your face?!
Now, I am not saying no to Botox or fillers (although if you do choose to go this route, please do your research and go somewhere with quality products and well-trained staff.) But I am saying there is no reason to get this done because someone else is telling you to – be it a magazine, a friend, a peer. You – and only you– get to decide how your face best reflects your inside goodness and light.
I use a retinol cream every night and have a deep moisturizing face mask that I love, and I will be the first to praise the combo for making my skin look healthy and vibrant. But this change of perspective has caused me to continually find gratitude for a life so fully lived that it shows on my face.
Our lines and marks and scars on our bodies are beautiful reminders that we are alive – we are fully present in this world. Take a minute today and change the way you view them. Appreciate the “stretch marks” that show growth and change and power our bodies hold. Honor the scars show events lived through. And revel in the laugh lines that show all the joy and passion we all need to survive this crazy world.