I never did get that “worked on” mentality. 60 trying too hard to be 45? No thanks. I have earned every single line in this face of mine. There are worry lines, a smudge of an eye droop from occasional sadness, with the chin-quiver which tends to come on spontaneously. Without much warning, Good friends know this about me. Easy to tear up, happy tears, sad tears, surprised tears. All salty.
My face shows that I have spent a lifetime laughing. Two parentheses on either side of my mouth. I’m lucky. My face didn’t stop at one. I can’t think of a day when I haven’t had one good belly laugh. Not a demure, half-hearted chuckle, but at least one that brings me to tears and a stomach that thinks it can’t hear one more funny thing. Crows’s feet? Absolutely not. Those are eye crinkles. It’s all about how things are phrased, right? I’d take crinkles over some ugly black bird foraging for food.
And those horizontal forehead lines? They are the result of waiting for the restroom at a gas station. Hearing something unexpectedly awful at a kid’s school conference. Trying to find my keys. Looking at the scale. And then stepping off, then back on, this time leaning a little to see if that shaves off a pound or two. It doesn’t. Usually it adds more weight, so I spend the rest of the day wondering why I thought that was a good idea. A response to a kid who is doing everything possible to get me to take the bait. Opening the ACT score envelope, wondering if all is okay when your kid misses his/her curfew by 30 minutes, knowing upon arrival, first it was going to be a hug, then a grounding. Gazing into the glaring sun at a kid’s softball game, trying to figure out which blond-haired kid is mine. All of the above have given me bragging rights for the forehead line-wrinkles.
Our faces are our external scaffolding. It’s what we build with our lives. It’s how we represent ourselves to the world. The terrain upon which we have expressed every single emotion that we have ever had. Even my ears. Pierced. Done when I was 15 with a great friend, Irene, an ice cube, a needle and an apple and the bravado that only a slumber party brings. Halfway into the first ear, after 7.5 seconds with the ice cube, which Irene deemed was enough anesthetic, she began the uncivilized torture procedure with the needle, followed in short order by Irene screaming, loud enough to peel wallpaper, “Ew, it’s making a crunching sound.” After which she accidentally pulled the half-in needle out. Eventually, I had two pierced ears. When I look in the mirror those are the kinds of things I see, I remember. I don’t think age, I don’t think Botox, I don’t mush my face around and wonder, “What if this part was firmer……” Nah. I don’t think anything but the pallet upon which rests a well-lived life.
Be you. Warts and all. Well, maybe the warts should go……..