Unfair. That’s what it is.
The skin malady of the teen years is acne: those years of blackheads and pock-marked pustules which scream one’s hormonal changes to the the world. And the skin malady of the aged years is wrinkles: the years of crows feet and feathering and (if you’ve lived well), laugh lines.
But here I am, on the business end of my 30s, looking in the mirror and horrified to see BOTH my fair share of wrinkles AS WELL AS a colossus of a pimple on my forehead. And I just wanted to say: it’s not fair. I expected to trade my youthful slender and stay-up-all-night energy (with its acne) for the older, softer body-after-kids (with its wrinkles). To be lumped with both the valleys of wrinkles AND the mountains of peaks of pimples feels a bit like paying double taxes.
Thanks to my grandmothers’ particularly fair genetic skin type, I also have a good sprinkling of moles and nearly forty (40!!) soft, pink scar lines where doctors have decided that some of those moles were wholly unholy and cut a holey in me to excise the risk. So there’s that. The moles and the scars and the laugh lines (yay!) and the wrinkles. But the pimple is just unfair. And it’s the type I haven’t had for a while: the type that’s so inflamed it hurts when I raise my eyebrows in surprise. This morning I will brave the grocery store, taking care when I round the aisle corners not to bash into anyone with my cart or my inflamed unicorn horn. Shoppers, beware.
Of course, this is not the first time I’ve grappled with feelings of betrayal as I’m getting older. My hair is greying too, and so my daily jaunt to the mirror also raises the question “to dye or not to dye?” These were not the 50 shades of grey I had hoped for.
As always, this requires a little self-directed pep-talk before heading out the door. For if nothing else, becoming a Mom has taught me that my body is not just for looking at, it’s for living in. To despise it for not “looking right” is to dishonor a great gift. As such, it is worth ten seconds of my time to check my inner critic and give myself a different script. My face is fearfully and wonderfully made, and my skin is doing its job exactly: providing a flexible, waterproof, self-renewing shield between the germs out-there and my organs in-there. My wrinkly face will wrinkle in laughter today. My moley skin will provide entertainment for my toddler who likes to count the “dots”. My ageing hands will caress little faces.
And, thanks to a sense of humor and a mental picture of a unicorn, my giant pimple will make me laugh this morning as I turn around corners at the grocery aisle.
“Attention all shoppers! Attention all shoppers! There’s a wounded unicorn in aisle 4….”