Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Absolutely Flawless

Here are some things that, to the best of my knowledge, the skin around my eyes has not been responsible for (and no, I'm not going to explain the dog yet):

  • Passing my driving test
  • Securing our mortgage
  • Prompting my move from employee to freelancer
  • Our decision to get married
  • Brilliant moments with lifelong friends
I know this, but spend a disproportionate amount of time thinking about what I can do to reduce the appearance of the 'sunburst' that emanates from around my eyes and is somewhat disturbingly working its way outwards until it reaches my hairline or falls of the edge of my jaw.

Given the amount that I smile and the extent to which these lines appear throughout my family, this is a ridiculous thought; I am genetically predisposed to have them.  It's not going to get any better either so why the hell am I worrying about it now?  Perhaps instead I should be looking forward to 30 years time when I will be able to use origami techniques to fold my face into new and interesting shapes!

It is a vain and fruitless worry and yet so many smart women are equally concerned with their breasts, legs, bottoms, necks, hands.....  We are too wobbly, wrinkly, not brown enough or pouty enough to make it in today's world and don't get me started on hair (check out this post for more on that topic).  Why else would such a massive beauty industry exist without these insecurities and what on earth are they going to focus on next?  Our elbows?

Don't get me wrong - I love wearing make up and being pampered at the spa, but ads that focus on 'turning back the clock' or preventing the march of nature on a woman's body unsettle me.  These help reinforce the view that women must not appear older than 25 and if your body changes after having children you have 'failed'.  So we spend time and more money per ounce for some products than you would for gold chasing a version of perfection that can't be achieved.  Brilliant, clever women worrying about something that is not within their power to change unless you're up for a lifetime of tweaks, nips and tucks until you finally give in to the realisation that no surgery or technology is going to make you look convincingly the same as a dewy skinned teenager.  

The weird thing is that we do this to ourselves but generally not those that we care about.  When was the last time you didn't accept a phone call from a friend on the basis that one of her boobs is a bit bigger than the other or she can no longer balance a tea tray on her booty?  We see the people we love for who they are; their achievements and idiosyncrasies, the things that delight us about them and those that make them bloody annoying.  We engage with them on the basis of their minds and spirit - not how physically 'flawless' they are.

And this is where the dog comes in.  If, like me, you find yourself wavering when it comes to accepting the things about yourself that you cannot change, just take a look at my friend's puppy - Lily.  Living proof that you can have wrinkles and be gorgeous!

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