Mirror, Mirror….

17 Jul

I came across this advice column called Ask Polly through The Hairpin today entitled “I’m almost 30 and I’m terrified of losing my looks.” I had to read it, because I’ve been thinking along similar lines lately. Specifically, I came to the realization that my (very limited) free time usually involves some kind of primping.

Hey, I can’t help it if find doing at-home pedis and coloring my hair relaxing and fun! But fine, OK…I do take my looks a leeeetle too seriously.

I don’t think I’m quite as vain as this chick, however:

I love being gazed at. […] the way that people (of all genders) get these dreamy, enraptured looks on their faces when they see me. I think beauty has some magical quality to it, and it makes me feel alive. When I look at myself, too, I sometimes get the same sensation as when I behold an emotionally stirring work of art—shimmering, crackling, breathless.

(Haha whoa.)

But I do have a twinge of bummed-out-ness when I think about how I will eventually lose my looks. And although I do not have a sense of “disgust and pity” when I see older women, I do sometimes feel just a tiny, TINY, teensy moment of panic–as if I were trying to stop sand from flowing through an hourglass.

The girl’s mother’s advice (“you must have things pretty good if you can spend that much time fixated on your future face”) seems pretty sound. But Polly’s response is a great smack-in-the-face wake up call, the kind you have trouble giving yourself but that you’d easily give to someone else with the same problem. I know you’re not going to click on the link, so I straight-up plag’ed it for you here.

You may hate the old, ugly person you think you’ll become because you’re not sure what else you have to offer, besides your face. You should dedicate yourself to becoming someone whom you’ll feel proud of, without or without the shimmering and the crackling. Instead of gazing at your own heart-stopping face, you should throw out your mirror and dedicate yourself to something that feeds your soul and makes you feel even more alive than, I don’t know, admiring your own image? It’s a bad habit.

Here’s the truth, and you’re just going to have to trust me on this: You’re not nearly as old or as beautiful as you think you are.

You pity the old ladies. What you don’t know is that they pity you even more. They know what a burden you’re carrying around, and they know how bad it makes you feel, to think of losing this thing that’s actually a crutch that keeps you from maturing and connecting with the real world.

In other words: get a life! Which is more or less what I told myself when I started designing invitations for a pity party at the beach last week, because of how much cuter all the college girls looked than me. I conveniently forgot that when I was in college myself, I would take covert pictures of little families–couples with kids like mine–because that’s what I wanted someday.

In addition to Polly’s advice, I would add that worrying about your future wrinkles isn’t going to help with the current ones.

There’s no need to obsess. As Polly says, “even when you start to have to make adjustments to the tired-looking woman in the mirror, you find ways to love that person, too.”

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