I remember being in my thirties and moving to a small house in midtown Toronto with my husband and young daughters and seeing an elderly woman walk down her icy path in winter, her thin ankles gloved in short boots, her black fur coat flapping against her knees and her face wearing the journey she’d taken during her life.
I remember being entranced, engaging her in chit chat so I could sneak long glances at her, trying to fathom what it would be like to have lived so long—she mut have been in her late seventies––thinking how beautiful she was with lines crisscrossing her forehead, fanning around her eyes and framing her mouth.
I loved looking at her. Wanted to be just like her when I grew old.
Forty years later, I catch myself in the mirror, lines deep and criss-crossed and my first thought is: omigod how did I get old so fast? And my second is, how lucky I am to be alive on planet earth with life’s experiences mapped across my face.
Oh, beloved sisters, friends, teachers, mothers, female travellers. In the bleakness of Covid-19, when we’re striped of outer pursuits and flung back upon ourselves, let’s be mindful of women who go under the surgical knife, trying to preserve a what-was-then-but-is-no-longer look, thinking if they alter and reconstruct their faces, they’ll look forever young. Or injecting poison into facial muscles and fillers under the skin so they become unrecognizable.
Do they subscribe to a social caste system that disavows authentic in favor of image? Have they bowed to the dictates of a spouse, a boss or a glossy magazine and been persuaded to give up the face that has journeyed with them and is precious and unique?
Are we afraid to show and tell our age? Can we shift this by smiling in the mirror as we sag and droop and blow ourselves a kiss–– grateful we’re still here?
Let’s use this inward turning time to stop the outer nonsense and shine the magnificence of who we are, so some young girl… or new mother… or thirtyish babe… can see traces of the gorgeous goldie she’ll become.
Let’s say no to disfiguring practices and yes to being beautiful––just the way we are!