portrait of a women with wrinkled face

I caught up for a quick drink over the weekend with a friend who is a theatre nurse for a plastic surgeon.

Quite an interesting occupation don’t you think? She had been at work all day and told me about the different procedures she assisted with.

The most interesting one was a toss-up between a 16-year-old getting labioplasty with the full consent of her mother, or the fitness freak who, despite her best efforts, just could not get her calf muscles toned. So naturally, she got a set of implants. In her legs.

It is safe to say that the thought of any surgery terrifies me, and for me to go under the knife in any capacity requires a fairly substantial reason.

Like, it will save my life. Not because I have a lopsided vagina or spindly legs.

Hey! There is no judgment there. Your body, you can do what you like with it. It is just not something I would ever wake up and consider.

cosmetician makes botox line on a woman's face

Mind you, having said that, I have gone under the needle once. A girlfriend and I went to a Botox doctor to get the sort of smooth foreheads you see in magazines or on the news. I was feeling gutsy so I went first. As soon as the Doctor finished a few injections, my mate, who was watching on, decided that it was not for her.

Which kind of pissed me off, considering that she talked me into it in the first place.

I told the Doctor that I wanted to stop, and he told me about what I would look like with one half of my face smooth, and the other half a-la sharpei. So I agreed to let him top up the other side of my head.

I have to be honest with you. It hurt like a bitch.

And although the results were a smooth forehead, I looked constantly surprised for a few months before it wore off. I didn’t like the feel of my face, the numbness was strange.

Like the feeling you get when you sit on your foot wrong on the floor and try to stand up and walk.

Except that it’s in your face.

I know dozens of women who dabble in designer absent wrinkles with much success – some who swear by it. One who equates it with waxing her legs. Hey, if it makes you feel better inside, I am all for it.

It just didn’t make me feel better about myself. Because I didn’t look like me.

If I could just go back to the 16-year-old me and tell her to stick her head into a hat and whack on some SPF, then there would be no discussion to be had about this. But it is what it is, and because I am now staring down the barrel of 40, I look after what I have been left with.

A face well lived.

There are tons of smiley lines around my eyes. A bit of pigmentation issues leftover from a few years of being pregnant. There is the ironic situation of my epidermis being both oily and dry!

You can try and get 8 hours of sleep a night, drink a bathtub full of water each day and guzzle green smoothies until the sun goes down. That has all got to be good for you, right? To be honest, finding a good, simple skincare regime has helped me make the best of what I have got.

And I am very much into serums at the moment; anything with acetyl hexapeptide in it will help your skin produce natural collagen.

I call it science for my face.

My skin is never going to be perfect, hell’s bells, it would not match the rest of me. But there is a certain comfort that you are doing something to assist in sliding into the next age bracket box gracefully.

A year or so ago, I had some shots taken for a job. I insisted on getting a before photo.

I never ended up using the “after” photo much, because I was uncomfortable with how much it didn’t actually look like me. It was a sanitized person, someone who hadn’t lived much.

So now I choose to work with that I have got. There are days when all the forces work together and the whole shebang is not that bad, but then there are those days where I can look in the mirror and despair. The good days outweigh the bad most of the time, but all the wrinkles, lines and spots are there for a reason.

I look after them religiously, because they are part of me and tell my story, of a life well-lived.


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