As a 46-year old woman, I frequently blog about beauty and body image. I am not a role model. On the one hand, I've done a series of fine art nude photgraphs and posts about loving my body now, when it's 20 pounds heavier than when I got married. On the other hand, I've had Lasik eye surgery, a brow-lift/blepharectomy, laser hair removal and now a non-surgical skin tightening ultra-sound. What does this say about me?
That I'm vain? A hypocrite? A middle-aged woman with too much time on her hands? A privileged narcissist?
I don't think it's ever that simple. I'm also a community-builder, a school volunteer, a full-time mother/wife/daughter/granddaughter/sister, a journalist, a screenwriter, an AYSO soccer referee (God help me and my knee socks), a writing coach, an empath and a good friend.
I want to be beautiful. It gives me a spring in my step. It makes me feel saucy and smart and invincible. I put makeup on every day. I wear clothes that flatter. I paint my toenails and do my hair every four days (that's when I start to smell like a 6-year old boy) and I work out three times a week. I also care about public education, the Arab Spring, why we failed in Iraq, why, in killing off Jimmy Darmody, Boardwalk Empire killed off the heart of the show.
I think every person should do whatever they like to make themselves feel beautiful. Lose weight. Don't lose weight. Have a face lift. Wear high heels. Wear a knowing smile. Let your armpit hair grow out. Wear braids. Kiss your husband every day. Inflate your lips. Have breast reconstruction. Wear a bra. Or don't. We are an amalgam of personality, a dichotomy of priorities, and how we care for ourselves reflects that.
I plan to try not to begrudge anyone for doing whatever makes them feel beautiful. I've judged, oh how I've judged. But as I age, I'm humbled by the way that my body keeps me in the temporal world and this human experience. I'm liberated, too. I was an insecure twenty-something and am now I'm a take-no-prisoners forty-something who wants to squeeze all the juice out of life.
There's a gorgeous video out and about now called Look Good, Feel Better, which is a PSA for cancer patients. t's a meditation on appearance suggesting that sometimes we must work from the outside in to feel good. I feel lucky at my age to finally catch beauty by the tail and have fun with it, because there's no knowing what tomorrow may bring.
SUBSCRIBE AND FOLLOW
Get top stories and blog posts emailed to me each day. Newsletters may offer personalized content or advertisements.Learn more