In sixth grade one of my friends commented on my nose — it’s always been a little too large for my face and it’s crooked like my dad’s. I also have his ears; they aren’t pinned back to my head, but rather stick out a bit.
I have normal insecurities about myself just like everyone does, but I learned at a young age that even the people we think are the most attractive have things about them they don’t like — things that others don’t even notice.
So, in short, there are things about myself I kind of wish I could change, but I’m settled, I like myself, and I have no interest in changing my face.
However, there’s no way in bloody hell I am going to let myself age naturally and I’ll tell you why.
About six years ago I literally woke up one morning and I looked so tired. I noticed lots of lines forming around my eyes when I smiled, and had some lines creeping in around my lips.
I drank my water. I used all the face masks. I slept on my back.
Nothing helped and every time I looked at myself in the mirror, or saw a picture of myself, I just kept thinking, “It doesn’t look like me!”
Suddenly, my outsides didn’t match my insides. Most of the time I felt pretty good, had energy, and yet when I looked in the mirror I looked like I was frowning.
It took me almost ten years to decide to get some Botox, but after I did it, I was so pleased with the results. Then I got those frown lines filled in and was so happy to see my familiar face looking back at me in the mirror.
I think of it like adding a heat serum to my hair, then straightening it. It always looks better when I do this than when I let it dry naturally because I have a lot of frizz in my hair.
My boyfriend continues to tell me I don’t need Botox or fillers, but I don’t do it for him, or anyone else for that matter. I do it for me — and I’ll keep doing it because it makes me feel fabulous.
And as soon as my hair started going gray, I noticed it was the same color as my scalp, which made it look like I didn’t have any hair in some places. I saw a picture of myself from the side before I started coloring and thought, so I’m going bald now, too?! I made an appointment with my hairdresser to get a color and she assured me I wasn’t losing clumps of hair, it was just the gray coming through.
After a color, I felt so much better and more like myself.
I’m all for going gray if that’s what you want to do. I wish I could rock a nice silver but it doesn’t look good with my skin tone; it drags me down and makes me look dull and I’ll put color in my locks for as long as I want to because it makes me feel better. Not because I’m trying to keep up with a certain standard.
Doing these things — getting Botox, my frown lines filled, coloring my hair, and staying in shape — are things I want to do because it gives me pleasure to feel good about myself. When I feel better about the way I look, I have more energy and pep. When I have more energy, I take better care of myself. It’s like a cycle that continues in a loop and I’d rather walk around feeling like I look like the best version of me.
Whenever we find something that makes us feel good, look good, and feel more like ourselves, we keep doing it. Some might think things like Botox and coloring your hair are vain, or bowing to the patriarchy, and they don’t have any desire to partake. But that makes me happy, and for me, it’s the ultimate form of autonomy: I’m doing what I want, for myself, without need of anyone else’s approval. I don’t take into account other people’s pearl-clutching. I’m not ashamed to admit I’ll do certain things to make myself look younger and smoother.
If I was aging better, maybe I wouldn’t mess with it — but the truth is, my aging face bothers me, and there are things I can do about it. So I will.
If that means getting lines ironed out and coloring my hair so be it; it’s my body and my face.
I’m proud of my age — I’ll be 46 in a few months, and the point isn’t to try and look like my 25-year-old self. The point is to like how I look. Right now, that requires help from needles, my hairdresser, and lots of serums … and I’m not, nor will I ever be, sorry.