aging gracelessly

Wrinkles have become very interesting to me. I am fascinated by advertisements about serums and articles about treatments and department store displays of crèmes that will smooth furrows and decrinkle creases, and balms that will spackle the shit out of your canyons. It used to be that I was fascinated by pore-refining, acne-fighting, oil-sopping medicines and moisturizers. Suddenly that seems like the good old days, when I would get a zit and have to cover it up with a little bit of makeup, or not give a shit and just look like an overgrown teenager. But it turns out you can’t hide wrinkles with makeup, and that is very, very upsetting to me. I have suddenly got wrinkles, and when the hell did that happen?

One of the nice things about being fat–it fills out the lines in your face. Your skin is full, plumped up, luscious and soft. There is no crepeing, sagging is reduced and furrows are more or less eliminated. I spent a lot of time being told that I looked way younger than my whatever number of years were–partially that is because I am a very silly person–but it was also because my fat was nicely rounding out the delicate skin under my eyes and blocking up the lines on either side of my mouth. When I lifted my eyebrows, my forehead did not crumple up into a series of gullies, and I never thought to worry about aging or under-eye creams. I rarely wore sunscreen, because I would never age! I have The Face of Eternal Youth!

It was even almost okay that I was pretty greasy and my pores were not
sexy things, and I was almost guaranteed to have a zit either emerging, flourishing or healing somewhere on my head. Those were youthful
things, too! Young! I am young! So young! At least, that’s how it feels
now, that this is a distant past I am remembering, in which I reveled
in my vitality and fresh-faced, idealistic optimism. Except I just
never paid attention, really. It never came up–aging, wrinkles, things
like that. Why would I waste a moment on thinking about it? Now I
realize that I took my youthful visage for granted! I weep bitterly and
rend my garments.

I am not really so bitter, and my garments are in one piece. Mostly, I
still don’t notice–what would you call it? The age of my face? My
imperfections? I don’t want to call them imperfections, because that
suggests that to get old is to become broken, and oh, that is bullshit.
But I’m buying into the bullshit here because it is beautiful when I notice it in other women, but distressing when I notice the lines in my own face–my unflattering reflection in my
laptop screen, a glimpse of myself in the rearview mirror when I’m
sitting in the backseat of the car. There are two deep grooves on
either side of my mouth, my puppet lines. I hate them so much. I spend
too much time pulling my cheeks back and wondering if tape would work.
A furrow between my eyebrows that surprised me, one day, looking in the
mirror. I rubbed at it, thinking that it was a smudge of something.
No–a fold. I lift my eyebrows, and I am greeted with an accordion
forehead. I lean into the mirror, and there is a network of tiny lines
around my eyes.

They’re mostly laugh lines, and those are supposed to be good things,
right? Lines I’m supposed to embrace as signs of wisdom, joy, a
happy life and so on and so forth. And I try, but sometimes–it comes as
a shock, realizing I look my age. And I want to embrace a magic cream
that will fix it.

7 Replies to “aging gracelessly”

  1. Ah yes. Aging. I too never gave it a thought for so many years, I too dealt with oil and zits and thought I always would. Was it the weight loss that suddenly produced all the wrinkles? That may have played a role. But for me it was entering my late thirties. One day I had my twenty year old face and then I woke up the next morning and looked in the mirror and saw my mother. I try to embrace it, but it still is a shock, the different face, the lines, the dryness and crepeyness that took away the oil and shine. It truly seemed so sudden.
    I just want to know why women with lines are old and men with lines are “distinguished” or have “character.”

  2. I have zits and oil and fat and I still am getting a few lines here & there…I have particularly noticed the vertical brow furrow and some crepiness on my eyelids. I just turned 34.
    Neutrogena makes some sort of anti-zit, anti-wrinkle skincare line, which I believe I might have to check out. That is bullshit. Couldn’t I just have a YEAR of normal skin between the acne and the crows’ feet? A MONTH?
    That said, L’Oreal Visibly Firm foundation seems to be my friend. It diminishes the wrinkles a little and also doesn’t make me super shiny. My best friend swears by it also.

  3. This is so my biggest fear about losing weight. I’m always told that I look way younger than I am but I’m afraid when I get rid of the extra 30 lbs. it’ll all come out of my face and I’ll look shrunken and old. Exagerating, obviously, but I am worried it’ll make the wrinkles, et al way more noticable.

  4. Magic Cream: Sort of.
    I (personally) know of a study that validated two ways of reducing wrinkles and pore sizes (and therefore acne).
    1) 10 minutes of steam – specifically a sauna under certain temperature conditions, but I think that using the pot-and-tea-towel method would work just as good!
    2) Facercise! Face exercises. Look up Carole Maggio. Or something similar.
    In the study, the combination of these two things for 30 consecutive days reduced wrinkles by up to 30%. There have been other similar studies done for facercise, too – I think.
    Ha – this post looks like I’m trying to sell something. Hehe.

  5. Personally, there are many ways to attack wrinkles. If you can’t afford all the fixes, grow old gracefully and call the wrinkles, marks of character. Or, if you are rich and famous and got gads of money, fight it all the way like Joan Rivers (ugh!). Or, maybe, another way – an inbetween way – use over the counter stuff, have facials (they are absolutely the bestest in the world if you get the right person) and try every trick of the trade until you find one that works and you like. Or, try this one, or that one, or maybe this will work. Or, give up and enjoy your life and who you are – wrinkles and all (that’s has been my way).

  6. How very timely this is for me. At 42, I’ve been told I look more like early to mid-30s…until recently. I don’t know what happened. I realized that I felt like I looked older after I left my trusty blonde hair behind for my more natural dark-brown. Big mistake. The dark hair really makes me look older. I see frown lines between my eyebrows, and major laugh lines and wrinkles around my eyes. I now understand why people want Botox. I’d never do it (needle phobic, ya know), but I COMPLETELY get it now.
    My mil has told me countless times that she looks in the mirror and doesn’t even know the person looking back. What wonderful things to look forward to.
    I recently started getting my hair weaved again (blonde highlights). I’m fighting this aging thing…no gray for me.

  7. There is some dumb ass contraption that they sell on QVC that exercises your cheeks and makes you look like a suffocating fish!

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