Friday, August 29, 2008

"Wrinkles Only Go Where the Smiles Have Been" --Jimmy Buffett, "Barefoot Children"

Thursday, August 28, 2008

One of my favorite things to do on vacation is to give myself a complete beating working out then hit a local spa for a great massage to get the kinks out. This was the treat that I gave myself today. While I was there, I came across this magazine that disturbed me on several levels. New Beauty is a magazine completely about how not to age.Every article, every add, every thing in it was about how not to age. There were lotions to fight fine lines and wrinkles, potions to erase age spots, injections to plump the smile lines and lips and smooth the backs of the hands. There were warnings against leaving tap water on your face because the free radicals left behind from the heavy metals in it would absorb into your skin and cause you to look like the crypt keeper. Every time an author mentioned how beautifully a star was aging, how much better she looked at 30 or 40 than the previous decade, immediately following he or she mentioned what products and procedures provided that gracious seasoning, never a mention of good genetics, healthy living or a star who simply "took care" of her self and her skin.There was article after article about what a horror aging is and not a single mention of the benefits of time. What a horrible message to reinforce to America's women!

These are a couple of shots taken by a friend on that trip to California.
Back in January, I went to Orange County, California, an area notorious for the ridiculously wealthy and shallow people who live there (although there are some fantastic, normal people there as well). Everywhere I went I was the exception to the rule--all natural, no collagen, no Botox, my own God-given
breasts, even--heaven-forbid--a bit of pudge. And I didn't even bother to try to fix it all up with lots of makeup and fancy clothes. The irony of all that is that while I was there I got one of the best compliments I've ever gotten. I went into Subway wearing just the least bit of makeup, trudging along in tennis shoes and blue jeans. I didn't pay a lot of attention to the gentleman in front of me except to notice that he turned and smiled pleasantly at me when I came in the door. After he had gone and as I was paying, the "sandwich artist" smiled at me and said, "You really impress that man." (Read a middle eastern accent here.)
"I'm sorry?" was my reply.
"You impress him. He say, 'Now there's a truly beautiful woman.' You impress him." He explained.
My heart skipped a beat. What a compliment! In this area, no less. I'm really not a beautiful person. I suppose I'm not homely, but neither am I beautiful. I think this fellow was just not accustomed to women who haven't been altered.

Over the last couple of years, I have noticed lines framing my eyes, mostly when I smile. The circles under them are more prominent, and my dimples sit in slightly more prominent creases. My skin is less resilient, long nights showing much more on my face than they once did. The skin on my hands is not only calloused but a little crepey from the tens of thousands of hand washings at work piled on to the years of sun and work and fun. I'll not even begin to talk about freckles and spider veins and stretch marks. And sometimes when I think about it all, it makes me a little sad and sometimes even a little self-conscious. But along with those imperfections have come a few redeeming features, too. Ten years ago, when my skin was perfect, I walked with my eyes cast down, hoping to fade into my surroundings. Though I was a good person and in retrospect I like who I was, I didn't like myself much then,and I was always afraid that no one else did either. Every move I made was dictated by how it would look to the rest of the world. I might have a few wrinkles now, but I'm not afraid to be myself and walk proudly, head up and smiling. I've made my choices, lived with them and learned from them, and accumulated a few marks in the process. Though some folks definitely have more frown lines than smile lines, I have gotten mine from good long belly laughs, grinning at my sweety, and just generally living a pretty charmed life. How can that be bad?

Maybe one day I will decide to try a little Botox or laser therapy or a lift or a tuck. But for right now, I will continue to look in the mirror and remember the things that made me smile. I'll smile some more, and hope for a few more belly laughs. I'll relish the compliment I got in California when I was there in January. And I'll probably read a few less magazines.

2 16kg TGU/side for 8 rounds.

16kg snatches 1 minR, 1 min L, rest 1min--8 rounds.

The snatches in this workout felt a bit weak. There are two potential causes for this. One, we were on the road all day yesteday. I always drop my water intake way back on those days to minimize potty stops. We would never get anywhere if we had to stop every hour like I do a home. So I'm pretty certain I was dehydrated, and I think this was probably the cause. The other possibility is that my recent change to an intermittent fasting type diet might have something to do with it. Either way, we'll see how the rest of the week goes.


  1. Very very nice post. I feel like our society is far too focused on the outside and not near enough on the inside. Especially how men and women look at women. A bit part of it is based on the "ideal" woman perpetuated by the media and society.

  2. Outstanding, Jen. My guess is you impress more people than you know. Most people just never say anything. A pity for us all.

  3. GREAT observations. I think as a society (not as individuals) we value men for their power and women for their appearance, which is why it's ok for men to age, but not for women. Strange world we live in. Glad there are some sane people (like you!) in it!

  4. Thank you all for your kind comments. And for taking the time to read my blog. Both truly mean a great deal to me.