The night had been late and a quantity of craft beer had been consumed by all. There was some crawling into bed in the wee hours. Which is why there was nothing charming about being woken up at seven on a Sunday, by the sound of a cheery four-year-old chanting, “Naughty mama! Slept with her make-up on again!”
Now usually that's an inside joke between us. Daughter, already savvy, perches on the bathroom counter whenever I’m doing the makeup routine. She knows what various things are called and she already has several judicious suggestions.
But this morning, it made me a tad grumpy thinking of the pressure we put on ourselves, and I have to say, as women, but sure, all of us who feel we have to fit in and quest for that fountain of youth, that eternal ethereal glow.
I mean, I only recently discovered that the 12 step routine was a Korean Beauty thing and had nothing to do with AA and addiction. And sure, I want to look amazing ‘all the time’, but hey, for most of us, its ‘sometimes’ and that's that. We got things to do, places to get to and work to get done and a lot of those times, me and my skin, come last.
This time, instead of getting morose, however, I thought why not actually take a little time to figure it out.
I want to be beautiful and have this glow of youth and exercise and enthusiasm for life, but I also want to forge ahead with my career, do a good job at bringing up my kid, have quality time with my friends, go to/have the occasional drunken party and be in general, be up to a meaningful life. Somehow, I’m not seeing this agenda/life plan on the same page as a 12-Step (10 for the ‘lazy ones’) daily skin maintenance routine!
How absurd it is that while I want to live through a wealth of experiences--places, people, food, culture-- I’d like to emerge from that journey with the face of a twenty-five-year-old.
I mean I like my scars too; they’re repositories of memory and experience. Would I really want those erased? The cycling accident where I hit my chin or the little black spot where a sharp graphite pencil broke off in my hand in eighth grade?
So the real question is, for whom am I taking care of my skin?
And on the off chance it's me, what would I be doing differently?
While I’m happy to ignore myself a lot of the time, I like occasional rest days when I can catch up on some skincare, get some lovely smelling stuff onto my skin, spend some time massaging in oils, do some deep cleaning. I feel great after and it does last for a bit.
There is a small spot on the continuum between elaborate crazy skincare routines and doing absolutely nothing, that a whole lot of us occupy. And its time we said that was okay. Here’s the bad news… You’re going to look kind of ordinary on some days….especially on the extra busy no-time-for-make-up days. But your skin will be clear of self-doubt and those emerging fine lines will be from love and laughter rather than stress. And every so often you’ll hit it out of the park and wow the people whose opinion you really care about… and that may just be enough and more to make up for all the other times.