Monday, April 6, 2009

She Walks In Beauty

I started becoming conscious (read: started lying) about my age the year I turned thirty. There was nothing specific that happened which triggered my sensitivity towards aging, it was just one of the undesirable peculiarities that came with being me. At first C was perplexed, although tolerant, about my fixation with aging. He would laugh at me, and sometimes with me, as I go through this hopeless and self-indulgent travesty. He drew the line though when I started lying to my own kids about it. What, you don’t do that? Seriously? I frankly thought every woman over thirty does it. But since this post is not about the value of honesty....

When I was in my mid-twenties, I remember reading in a magazine that dry skin causes more wrinkles than oily skin. I felt so relieved with that piece of information that for the first time in my life I felt that my oily skin had a redeeming factor, after all. What that article didn’t mention was that if the grease shining off your teen-aged face isn’t enough, then the enlarged pores in your thirties are there to finish the job. They conveniently forgot to mention that enlarged pores become larger as facial skin ages because of the loss of collagen and elastin.

Beauty is the first thing that nature gives women and, unfortunately, it is also the first thing it takes away. I have started using anti aging products the year I hit my big 3-0! I am averse to any procedure, cosmetic or otherwise, involving the needle, having had an appendectomy and 3 C-sections. Botox and other beauty injectibles are definitely not in my list of options, as well. And so in my quest to impede looking like anyone’s middle aged mom for as long as I can, I have incorporated these three steps into my beauty routine. First step: Use a deep moisturizer with the added benefit of a SPF 20 or higher; second step: exfoliate at least twice a week; third step: get enough sleep during the night and take power naps during the day.
I remember having a conversation with my daughter’s swimming coach a few months back. Everything was ok till up to the point he called me "tita". WTF! My mouth wanted to spit out profanities, but my mouth was left agape from shock after hearing this twenty-something call me tita. Who does he think he is? Or more importantly, what does he think of me?

A few well-meaning friends consoled me by saying they, too, have experienced cruelty of this sort. We all agree that after the initial reaction of shock wears off, what follows is a compelling penchant to whack the offender in the head so hard, enough to force them to shake off that insensitivity. To quote Miss Piggy: “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and it may be necessary from time to time to give a stupid or misinformed beholder a black eye.”

In one of my recent conversations with friends about this topic, we ended up laughing till our bellies hurt when a friend narrated the following conversation that took place between two co-parents in her child’s prep level class. The older mom was protesting politely about being addressed as “auntie”. Hinting subtly that “achie” would be more appropriate, only to be undiplomatically rebuffed with,”oh, but auntie, I am really very young!” Touché!

After everything's been said and (desperately) done, what really makes us retain our youthful beauty is the smile on our face. Genuine contentment, happiness, and strength of character are the greatest beautifiers and preservers of youthful looks.

That said, I leave you with one of my favorite bible verses: “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.” (1 Peter 3:3-4)