No, this post is not about moonshine.
A couple of years ago, I noticed my first white hair. Not grey hair. Not silver hair. White hair. The, “Look at me! I’m here! I’m fabulous!” hair. Across the months, a few friends came to party with it. They hid behind a curtain of brown and red, cheekily peeking out on occasion.
Then I had major surgery and a week-long hospital stay.
A shock to the system really does have lasting impact.
That handful of hairs? They multipled. They took over an entire section of my bangs-space. I’m now developing a nice Stacy London-esque streak. (Or Rogue-esque, if you’re into X-Men). It’s bright and coarse and curly. Certain stubborn portions stick straight out of my head and mock all attempts at taming. They throw up their anthropomorphized hands and yell, “Come at me!” in a thick Brooklyn accent. More than one can of hairspray valiantly sacrificed itself in the attempt to subdue before I gave up.
I know that this spreading streak is supposed to bother me. Society dictates that women mourn the aging process. We are to fight it with everything we’ve got, which is an alarming array of products that make some pretty audacious claims. “Use this cream just once and your skin will return to the elasticity of pre-pubescent days!” “This hair dye will make Brad Pitt fall in love with you!” “Bags under your eyes? Not after you spread shark fat on them!” “Get your face Botoxed so you can be the creepy person with no expression whatsoever – but at least you won’t have wrinkles!”
This is insane.
Perhaps it’s because I have a fairly simple (read: lazy) beauty routine, but I don’t see the point in us engaging in what is ultimately a losing battle. I really don’t care about my changing hair color. If you want to dye yours, that’s fine. No judgment. Since I deal with eczema and sensitive skin, I’m all about moisturizing. I love a good facial and could easily get a pedicure twice a week if I had the money. But what we do, the products we use, the things we try, should be about celebrating the beauty we have, not about pursuing the beauty we think we should have or mourning the beauty we used to have.
Wrinkles and age spots and hair touched with white lightning tell a story. You have been there, done that. The lines around your mouth reveal a stunning sense of humor. The ones around your eyes reveal your sensitivity. The marks on your hands reveal the meals you’ve cooked for family, the reports you’ve labored over, the fevered brows you’ve soothed. You are strong. You have wisdom. You love and you laugh and you cry and you work and ain’t nobody got time to waste waiting for Japanese seaweed that will lift your butt to mythical proportions to come in the mail.
You don’t have to look like you’re still a teenager. You shouldn’t look like you’re still a teenager.
Because you’re a woman, in all its richness.
For all entries in the 31 Days for the Ladies series, go here.