What does it say about a society where a major tv network once approved a show in which women who were judged to be ‘ugly’, were given “extreme makeovers” that included several forms of plastic surgery? Where billions of dollars are spent on cosmetic surgical procedures to tuck one’s tummy, lift one’s face, and augment one’s breasts? I’ll say this, it makes me sad.
Like most young women for years I held tight to deep-seated insecurities about my body, beginning with the college 15 (okay 20). All that time while struggling with my body image, dieting and obsessing about exercise, it never occurred to me to have plastic surgery. As unrealistic as I may have been about what I looked like (if I knew then what I know now I’d have walked around in a bikini for the better part of my teens and early 20s) and what I wanted to look like…it always seemed a longer walk, another yoga class, or few more laps in the pool was the answer.
You know those terrific French beauties like Catherine Deneuve or the great Americans Jessica Lange (a favorite) and Sissy Spacek? Well…I never aspired to look like either when I am older, it has always been someone more along the lines of the sort of goofy (maybe it is her stage/film presence) Maggie Smith. Nonetheless, those women have (I hope this is true!) aged naturally and each line each “imperfection” (okay there are none of those on Catherine Deneuve, the woman is about as perfect as they come, but you get the idea) is full of vibrancy and splendor. Of life lived. You can see that spirited girl running along the cobblestones, softly lit by the street lamps as she exits the car to the photographer’s bulbs, gathering up flowers at the market on one of those healthy sunny days. These women, all women who age naturally, have this depth that expresses a rich life.
The bottom line is focus on your inner self, on your uniqueness, embrace life, go beyond the surface society pushes at us or more to the point those glossy fashion magazines we love but are sort of like a bag of Twizzlers – one or two are yummy more and you feel sick. Take care of yourself. Be active and have fun with it – a few friends go horseback riding, others hike and climb, one friend in amazing shape plays soccer and can get into most of those crazy yoga positions. Some surf and snowboard, others ride a bike, and I do some of several of those things and walk as much as possible and preferably outdoors. Get facials a couple times a year, get massages when you can (otherwise known as healing therapy, massages help with blood circulation, relieve muscle tension, and reduce stress), use sun protection, moisturize (I use Dr. Hauschka), wear the right bra and undies (I’m smitten with the stock at Journelle), remove your make-up at night (I don’t wear any, just can’t stand it), and accept that aging is a natural process you can choose to do gracefully or not. I’m not sorry if this sounds harsh. I’ve seen too many attractive women with the most amazing personalities go under the knife willingly and just feel a part of them is lost. Let’s also be honest…I’ve smoked and still do on the rare occasion, I spend time in the sun (though always with sunscreen) just about any chance I get, I get waxed, and I’ve technically chosen to scar my body by getting a couple tattoos. I learned binging and purging in university alongside Constitutional Law and French…but while those things/practices could have injured my physical well-being over time….they could be halted and have not altered who I am…my expressions…my facial history.
Rhonda Nordstrom, a friend and the woman responsible for about the best facials in Maine (New England?), is going to read this and smile at least till she gets to the part where she reads I smoke on occasion. When we met several years ago she knew enough about skincare to help me to start preserving mine with the right products and techniques. If you ever travel to Rockland, Maine call in on her and ask her for advice…the woman knows skin and as importantly she knows inner and natural beauty.
Look in the mirror hard enough and you’ll see it too….you’ll see it in your friends smiles and feel it the next time you go dancing or surfing. Save the money you would spend on plastic surgery and take a trip…have a great adventure and anytime you doubt yourself think how much braver you were to love yourself enough to do something healthy for you and then maybe smile when thinking how crazy fun that trip was. xox