Beauty In A Plastic Age

As a teenager I gobbed on the warpaint just like all the other ’80’s girls. Big kohl rings around the eyes, piss holes in the snow is how my Mom referred to this look. moi-1Over the years, as the lines around my eyes appeared, and the deep crease that defines my cheeks grew more pronounced, I struggled with how to hide the evidence of my aging face. I’ve used this cream and that, and all kinds of different looks have defined my makeup regime – smoky eye, Cleopatra eye, etal – yet none of those felt right. Like a padded bra, it seemed dishonest. I mean, who am I trying to fool? More importantly, what am I trying to hide?

You start out happy that you have no hips or boobs. All of a sudden you get them, and it feels sloppy. Then just when you start liking them, they start drooping.
― Cindy Crawford

It stuns me to think that in 7 years, I will be the age my Mom was when she died. Fifty-four years she lived, and beautiful till the day she died. She never had the opportunity to age gracefully, or to be a senior citizen, or get to her golden years.

I’m 47 this year, and I’ve decided to honour myself and break my makeup habit. This decision is about an acceptance of self. I have come to realize that in fact I prefer how I look without all the goop – little moisturizer, a few sweeps of powder foundation, little blush, and that’s it. On occasion I may wear a bit of eyeliner, sometimes mascara, but that’s rare. Lately I haven’t even bothered with any of that, and gone completely naked.

I suppose at 47 it’s easy to go all natural, as the real tumbling down of skin has not transpired yet. Also, I’m blessed with good skin, and don’t look my age. Yet, I wonder, will I be so cavalier in a decade? In two? Can’t say for certain, I can be vain I suppose, but I hope I can still see past the lines to the character that lives within.

I want to grow old without facelifts… I want to have the courage to be loyal to the face I’ve made. Sometimes I think it would be easier to avoid old age, to die young, but then you’d never complete your life, would you? You’d never wholly know you.
― Marilyn Monroe

Perhaps also it’s been easy to go o’natural as I don’t watch tv, so I’m not inundated everyday with the parade of perfect that defines most women on television. So, it was only through online newsfeeds that I saw poor Kim Novak. Plastered all over the internet now, with her plastic mask, my heart went out to her. I doubt she got up one morning and decided “hey, I’m going to completely destroy my god given beauty and let some surgeon define me”. No, I rather think she felt compelled to go under the knife in order to look her best, or so defined by the cruel, heartless media and entertainment industry.

My instincts were to almost yell at the screen YOUR 81 OLD GIRL…WHO are YOU trying to fool? Why couldn’t she just leave herself alone? Why does anyone feel the need to sculpt themselves together with a scalpel?

DO I need big boobies and high artificial cheekbones, a flat stomach and a frozen expression to pass muster in Hollywood? Good thing I don’t live there, and good thing I don’t rely on my looks.

Yet, poor Kim apparently does. Sadly, that image at the Oscars will no doubt be one of the last images we see of her, and for years to come that face will be toddled out of the archives as an example to us all.

Then of course there are scads of famous women who’ve made that same mistake. Forever that frozen expression will be the image we forever hold of them – such as Goldie Hawn with her fish lips and unnatural mask or Joan Rivers and her clown expression – all poor souls who were deluded into a desire to monkey around with what they were given.

At some point I guess it all comes down to perspective. How WE see ourselves in the mirror is often based on how others will see us. I am lucky to be blessed with a more youthful appearance, yet even so, it seems as though the more you are given, the more you desire. I see so many become greedy as they get older, and sometimes feel compelled to hold onto what they think is important.

Yet beauty should never be defined by someone elses vision of ourselves. In order to become beautiful, you must first find that beauty yourself, as no one else can. Certainly, your face may be plastered across every magazine, or you may strut your stuff down a catwalk in Milan for Karl Lagerfeld , but that star-studded world of make-believe won’t last forever. At some point every women must either accept, or live in denial forever, hiding behind someone elses vision of who we are and how we should look.

Real beauty comes from somewhere inside of you. It lays dormant in your youth, creeps slowly in middle age, and if we are not careful, will completely escape us by the time we reach those golden years.

There is a fountain of youth: it is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of people you love. When you learn to tap this source, you will truly have defeated age.
― Sophia Loren

Mom never had that opportunity though, but her best friend has. I look at her today, and she is more beautiful now then she ever was. She’s let her hair go its natural way, and she wears her carefree new-found grace with ease and style. She beats her own drum, is often found out flying a kite, with only the rhythm of the wind as her guide. Wisps of wisdom flash in her eyes, and she is not one to let another define anymore who she sees in the mirror.

The perspective of a thousand is worth nothing without first finding the beauty first for ourselves. The fountain of youth is within us all.

So I go naked, and humbly hope those lines of character may deepen, and if I am blessed with old age, perhaps I may reach those golden years with grace, as my Mother never had the chance.

And the beauty of a woman, with passing years only grows!
― Audrey Hepburn

Written in response to the Weekly Writing Challenge: Golden Years


  1. madnessandeuphoria

    I am 45, and I think that most women our age look better with minimal make-up. I also think that in your forties, your “inside” starts showing on the outside. Interesting people look interesting, kind people look beautiful, and mean people start looking really mean!


    1. PaulaB

      So true :-)All the goop makes me feel like Phylis Diller. That about your insides showing on the outside is so true…those ugly scowls do become permanent…just like they said when we were young…”be careful, or your face will stay like that”…they were right ;-)


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