Saturday, October 6, 2012

What's the deal?


Why, oh why, oh why can we women not be happy with our bodies?  Why do we obsess over details that other people don't even notice?  Yesterday, on the drive back from Toronto, what did I notice?  My arm hair.  Of course looking at it now in the light of the study it looks fine, but in the natural light coming in through the car windows?  I was  freaking Sasquatch.  Somehow, since the last time I looked at my arm hair, it was much darker and MUCH longer than I recollect.    Not braidable long or anything - that's the upper bikini hair if it doesn't get seen to - but long enough that I could brush it.  Like in a specific direction.  Brush, brush, brush... Now it faces due east.  Brush, brush, brush... Now it faces north-west.

All I want to do is get out the body hair bleach.  See, I'm in a wedding next weekend and I'm wearing short sleeves.  What if, instead of looking at my friend Amber, the stunning bride-to-be, people are so fixated on my hairy arms that their whispered, horrified comments circle the room?  "Did you see?"  "How can she NOT notice that?"  "She's like a macaque!"  And I know that, besides me, no one is going to notice it, except for everyone reading this particular post, who happens to be at the wedding next weekend - in which case, I'm definitely bleaching it today.

We preen, we pluck, we shave.  We gripe, we obsess and moan.  And that figure fault, whatever we decide it to be, becomes the centre of our universe.  Before my high school reunion in 2007, it was the lines on my forehead.  I have smile lines on my forehead.  And you might say Wait a sec!  You don't get smile lines on your forehead, you get them beside your eyes!   I have those too, but these are different and they're on my forehead because I did mask work.  HUH?  When I was MUCH younger, I did The Comedy of Errors with my Shakespeare company in Ottawa.  My eyes were always disappearing when  I smiled, so the director said that I had to raise my eyebrows when I smiled so that my eyes were still visible in the mask.  So that became what I did EVERY TIME I SMILED.  For 17 years that's how I smiled.  And as a result, I had the forehead of a 65 year old woman, or at least, that's how I perceived it.

In addition to the lines on my forehead you see my chicken pox marks and mylasma.

THIS was what I focused on.  OH MY GOD - EVERYONE WILL SEE THESE LINES!!!  So I got botox.  And you know what?  Of the 4 freaking lines on my forehead?  Only the top two smoothed out, so the bottom two were STILL there!  And you know something else - nobody noticed them.   And shortly after that, I started wearing bangs and stopped obessessing about the age of my forehead.

Now (besides the macaque arm hair), I obsess about the lines beside my cheeks. Which are totally fine when I'm smiling because they're supposed to be there, but when I'm not smiling I look like I might have been living in East Germany under a dictatorship for a long while.

There are times I think about getting some invisible duct tape, just at the hair line to pull those back, just a titch.  Not like a face lift, where your mouth then looks like the Joker's - because that's just creepy.  You know, like all those poor 40-something actresses who have had lifts done and now don't look like themselves anymore and it makes me want to rail to the heavens.  I saw Marisa Tomei in The Lincoln Lawyer and she was GORGEOUS!!!  She had lines on her face and was still drop-dead fucking gorgeous.  Smile lines and crinkles and CHARACTER on her face.

Marisa Tomei - looking how a woman in her 40s SHOULD look!

Because that's what we're supposed to have when we have lived life - isn't it?  So toss away your inner critique and try to see yourself through the eyes of your friends, your partners.  We have smile lines, BECAUSE WE SMILE!  Now the frown lines - those - those you can Botox the hell out of - 'cause you shouldn't be frowning so much - just stop doing it.

I'll let you in on a secret.  When I was doing my crazy-ass eyebrow lifting for smiles - I never took a good picture.  Because why?  Because I wasn't really smiling, I was making sure my eyes were open.  My friend Shannon, who recently passed away, never took a bad photo.  Whenever she smiled... she SMILED.  She embraced life and every single time she smiled she made other people smile too.  She was open without worrying about how her eyes looked.  And I know it sounds all crunchy-granola and new-agey - but when she died?  Shannon gave me her smile.  Or at least she made me remember how to use it properly.  So now, when complete strangers comment on my beautiful smile, I know that it and all the attending beautiful crow's feet that come with it?  It really comes from her and from the knowledge that worrying about how you smile isn't really smiling - it's posing.  And you don't want to be a poser in life, do you?

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