Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Beauty Is As Beauty Does

Yesterday, as I was stopped at a stoplight on my way to work, I glanced in the rearview mirror. I'm always particulalry self-conscious going to the high school and I'm also incredibly vain, so it was a totally normal thing for me to do.

And I had one of those slow motion moments where everything slows down and you look, and then look again, surprised by what you see. Because for the first time I noticed a feature on my face that I had never noticed before. Here's where you need to be kind: I'm sure you all noticed it ages ago but for me, wow. Never seen that before.

Lines. Not-so-teeny tiny lines sprouting out from my eyes like little whiskers. I looked again. I smiled, watching them increase in size. I turned my head to the right. To the left. Yep, silly little lines changing the landscape of my face ever so slightly.

I'm not going to lie. I thought about those lines for a good part of the day. When did they show up? How long have they been there? I thought about my daily cleansing routine and what I should change, add, remove, etc to help escort those little lines on their way, away from my face. I had a brief moment of thinking that I could get them to take up residence someplace else because aren't I too young to have the dreaded Crow's Feet?

Um, not so much.

And then last night, I watched Brothers & Sisters with my mom. I love that show and as often happens, I found my thoughts playing out on the screen. The show's matriarch, played by the amazing Sally Field, spent the episode feeling old, feeling unattractive, feeling unlovable, and even consulted with a plastic surgeon to change the landscape of her face. She rationalized that she deserved it, that it would help her feel better, that she didn't need to explain her motives to everyone and while I agreed with every word she said, I especially agreed with her words at the end of the show. She realized that her face showed the wear and tear of a life well lived. That the lines accounted for every moment she spent loving or worrying or crying over the people she loved. She realized that the changes in her appearance weren't anything to push away but needed to be welcomed as a sign that she was here, that she had lived, and that she had loved every moment.

So to the little lines dancing about my eyes, I say welcome. Make yourself comfortable and stay awhile. I worked hard for each and every one of you and am proud of the stories you could tell. I have lived a life worth documeting. I am happy about the things I have done and the experiences that have brought me where I am today. I am thrilled to have lived a life laughing and crying and feeling everything there is to feel. I am honored to have you.

But maybe, just maybe, you could tell your friends to take their time in joining in?


Mimi said...

I love that! "I have lived a life worth documenting"!!! All of the laughs, all of the tears, it is all worth it. Beautifully written!

tharker said...

So very true.

The lines are beginning to appear on my face as well, and the more I think about the term "laugh lines" I begin to realize that it's a compliment to have them. It means that I laugh. I find joy in this life. Laugh lines? I'll take 'em.

Nancie said...

I like bro and sis's too!
Welcome little crows feet.

hatch said...

I love this post Karen! This is the attitude I feel is missing from so many today! I remember when I was in Young Womens and I had a very cheerful, fun amazing women who spared no expense in the living life department as a Young Womens leader. She was older, and had "laugh" lines on her face and I can remember thinking she was so beautiful because her "laugh lines" even smiled. They were just part of who she was. It would have been tragic to me if she would have "fixed" them.

I had to remind myself about that when I found (or noticed) the first line on my face

Michele said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lisa said...

I have been looking in the mirror lately and feeling a little old too. But like you, I say....bring it on!

Kelly said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you... I often think about the "cracks" on my face and now, after reading your amazing take on them, I won't feel so bad about them. In fact, I'm pretty sure you are responsible for more than 80% of my "laugh lines". :)

Amy said...

I had to laugh/cry at this one. I have been using anti aging products since I was 22. When I got married, in fact. Because I have always felt that I don't mind looking my age, I just have never wanted to look older. And while I admire you for embracing the lines,and acknowledging he memories and life they represent, I still am not there yet. So for now I am ignoring my crow's feet. If I pretend they're not there, maybe they'll go away?

maile said...

First of all..I read your comment on Amy's post and immediately had to come and become a "follower" on your blog because I check it daily. Really, I do. I love your blog. :) Okay, now for my actual comment, I have come to cherish every little line on my face. I don't know why but I have never been obsessed much with getting older. I think as the youngest child you are always wanting to be older and I am actually loving this stage in my life. So...love your lines, they got you where you are today. (BTW...I didn't notice any lines last time I saw you...you look great!)

Anthropology of a Wrinkle said...

Funny... A few years ago, I wrote a poem about my laugh lines as an artifact of the various joys in my life. And I truly feel that way... but I also am startled to see how quickly those "artifacts" are surfacing :)