Monday, September 8, 2014

When All Else Fails, Apply Lipstick

The other day, right before my children came home from school, I caught my reflection in the mirror. 

Crow’s feet.  Laugh lines.  A hint of jowls.  Wispy hairline.  Downturned mouth.  Divots between the eyebrows.  When did my arms get so… paunchy?

I studied myself for a few moments and looked away, despairing, disappointed.  My kids are too young to have a mother who looks like this.  I have only myself to blame; I don’t take care of myself as well as I could, opting for the couch more often than moving around.  I started sitting more just when it was starting to get harder to stand up.

In addition, I’ve become more lenient with my eating and drinking habits.  Second glass of wine?  Don’t mind if I do every night.  Do we have ice cream?

When did my reflection become difficult to bear?  In my younger years, hours were spent holding my own gaze in the mirror.  Expressions: I had a thousand, and I practiced them all on myself, tearing myself away only when I was satisfied at the resulting effect of a slight eyebrow arch, a wry half-smile.

Now I only gaze into the mirror to investigate stray eyebrows, examine rogue pimples and oh look, another gray hair.  The selfie – what a joke.  It’s unforgiving, unwanted, unnecessary.




Worse: I struggle to keep my weight from fluctuating.  Merely glancing at cookies seems to cause my waist to expand.   I need a full-throttle fitness regimen to keep me in my jeans, two-and-a-half hours a day at the gym.  The just wait until you’re older comments that well-meaning relatives threw my way when I was a kid as I’d inhale a quarter of the Thanksgiving gravy ring in my ear. 

My metabolism didn’t even say goodbye.

I feel old.  

It wasn’t that long ago that a friend and I were chatting about how annoying it is when people age and they announce how too old they are for the activities of life anymore, as if age naturally precedes intolerance for all things previously enjoyed.  I’m too old for roller coasters.  I’m too old for screaming babies.  I’m too old for loud concerts, crowds at the mall, staying up too late, eating nachos at midnight, watching cartoons and wearing short shorts.

That was over five years ago.

I was still in my thirties then.  Mid-thirties.

I can still rock out at a concert, stay up late, listen to screaming babies, ride roller coasters, brave the mall crowds, wear short shorts, and the other day my husband changed the channel because he thought I wasn’t watching Steven Universe.  That show is so weird.

I will not eat nachos at night, nor do I particularly want to.  Roller coasters are fun, though they give me a headache.  I’m only half old.

But the reflection doesn’t lie.  And there’s nothing to do about it.  Two-and-a-half daily hours at the gym might help my metabolism, but it can’t keep jowls from forming.

I want to look younger and feel better, to hold my gaze just a little longer.  Don't we all?  But time doesn’t travel backwards, and I don’t have a lot of money, so my options are limited.

I ran to my purse, grabbed my makeup bag, and put on some lipstick.  Instantly I felt better.  Turns out all I needed was a little color.

What has my life come to, that I apply lipstick in the middle of the day, right before my middle schoolers come home, to make myself feel better?  Likely they wouldn’t notice if I had teeth on my chin or ears for eyes. 

Which, in a few years, might be an improvement.


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19 comments:

  1. I hear you. I think about all that I ate when I was younger and I can hardly believe it. Turning forty sent my metabolism packing. I wouldn't say that I feel old, but half-old? Yes.
    And crowded malls give me a headache.

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    1. I remember sitting at the table at holidays and eating one of each dessert that Grandma made. If I did that now I'd gain ten pounds immediately.

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  2. Honestly, I think you look pretty good. Seriously, dude.
    But some lipstick never hurt anybody. :)

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, friend. And lipstick is seriously the best invention ever in the history of the world.

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  3. OMG yes to all of this.
    But you look good girl!
    I am going to tell you something.....when I met you at Erma, I thought you were in your 20s and had no kids.
    I AM NOT SHITTING YOU.
    We are our own worst critics.
    Now pass the ice cream.....

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    Replies
    1. YOU ARE MY NEW BEST FRIEND FOREVER.

      Thank you. xoxo

      Delete
  4. Oh my, yes to all of this and it's so depressing. Yes, lipstick helps, but now I think I need lip LINER, too!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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    Replies
    1. Noooooooooooo!!!!!!! I put my foot down at lip liner. What's next, a bag over my head?

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  5. I had to laugh because this is all so true. And also because I remember reading that thing about putting lipstick on and I have to say it does kinda work. BUt not with bright red...because that on a middle-aged sad looking face just makes it nine kinds of worse! :D

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    1. I agree with the bright red! Although sometimes I manage to convince myself that I can rock that, too. ::whispers:: i can't

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  6. You're pretty. Very pretty...like "I'm jealous of her" Pretty. :)

    And this reminds me of my mom who since I was about 12 has said to me "You could use a little lipstick". Lipstick, (applied correctly) is an instant mood enhancer

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    Replies
    1. You are so right! I love that phrase your mom said - and it's nice to know that we can all "use" it from time to time - no matter the age. I love it.

      And thank you. xoxo

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  7. First of all, you are beautiful. Second of all, I don't mind the wrinkles so very much. I just mind the extra fat. I wish I could "look good for my age."

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    Replies
    1. Looking good for my age is that thing that I fear I will chase for the rest of my life. And thank you. xoxo

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  8. For me it's filling in my eyebrows and adding a little mascara. Makes all the difference.

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  9. I swear I don't even own lipstick.
    Crap.

    Maybe THAT's the problem all these years...

    p.s. I do wear the HELL out of mascara, though. Great Lash Forevah.

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