I have a few wrinkles and brown spots—we greet each other cordially in the mirror every morning. But does that mean I shouldn’t be allowed to feel contemporary, confident and sexy? —Lois Joy Johnson*
No, I’m not talking about my blouses. You know, the drill when you dab a Shout© pen on the balsamic vinegar spill from your lunch with gal pals or take a scorching iron to the white cotton Chico’s blouse.
I’m talking my glorious face of 62 years. Suitably wrinkled and showing those pesky brown spots that arose because of my aversion to sunscreen in my 20’s.
Like many women of a certain age, my face shows the roadmap of my life. Laugh lines crinkle the corners of my eyes, there are permanent vertical indents in my forehead. Then my inheritance from my mother Joyce, fluffy jowls when my weight yoyo’s.
I happened upon the article, The Invisible Woman by Lois when sitting at my breakfast table on an ordinary Thursday morning. It resonated with me because I too am a woman in my 60s. The difference between us is that I don’t pay as much attention to the world of cosmetics as armor against ageism. I have my basic regimen of Clinique’s 3 step cleansing, pots of moisturizers and light makeup with SPF 20. So maybe I do have a few thousand dollars invested in the brand I’ve used for 35+ years. But (here comes the rationalization…wait for it) I do think the constant cleansing and good choices have helped me keep a lovely complexion. In spite of “clinically proven’ claims to lift sagging skin, reduce the appearance of wrinkles and make my skin brighter,” I believe all that promise comes to fruition from self love.
You know, not looking-at-your face-focusing-on-your-flaws kind of love. It’s a difficult skill to master when you see old photos that you thought, at that time, you were looking “old.” Silly me. 40 and 50 were pretty good years for this gal.
Now, at 62, it’s increasingly evident to me and my extended family’s Facebook comments that I look like my mom. She made it to 69.8. I surely hope to make it to 99.8. It will be the opportunity to see what this truly beautiful woman would have looked like in her Crone stage of life.
As for the self love, yes, I’m a work in progress. My recent visits with a health coach and nutritionist have helped me understand how it’s time to let the old patterns go. I am finally looking in the mirror, acknowledging the gifts of time stamped into my skin, and complimenting my beautiful smile, fiery red curls and twinkling brown eyes.
Am I as thin as I’d dreamed I’d be at this age? No. Will I ever get there? Maybe. Will I let my hair go gray? Perhaps one day. Do I have a few scars from accidents and one tiny bout of melanoma? Yup. The skin cancer scare is forcing me to atone for years of baby oil, iodine and space blankets in my youth.
Here’s the thing. What I’ve learned so far. Talking smack to my reflection isn’t OK. I wouldn’t do so to my BFF or any other woman I adore. So, when I catch myself about to utter a scathing rebuke, most times anyway, I pause and smile at the me in the moment. Shrug a little and tell the woman looking back at me, “you look pretty today Miss Vicky.”I like the way your hair curls around your face. Your teeth are so white—good job caring for them.”
Then, with an insouciant toss of my head, bounce out to find the joy of the moment as I blow her a kiss good bye.
*Lois Joy Johnson, Oprah, March 2020,The Invisible Woman