For me, one of the first markers of aging was the drastic change in my eyebrows. No one told me they would fall off my face the day after I turned forty. Though I found this shocking, you probably couldn’t tell my facial expression. No eyebrows, remember?
My morning routine now includes brushing my teeth and painting on my brows. I don’t generally wear much make-up but there is something ghostly about a dark brunette with nothing framing her eyes. It’s just creepy.
Today, as I gently dabbed undereye cream and moisturized my neck (in upward strokes, of course), I was struck by a hint of crow’s feet around my eyes and the emerging creases between my beautifully drawn brows. Don’t get me wrong, those wrinkles are supposed to be there, for I’m in my mid-forties. It’s just that for the last three or four years, they have been ironed out by a magical invention called Botox.
Staring at my reflection, I wondered what I would look like if I stopped injecting my face with poison. (As much as I covet Botox and love the vibrancy it gives my face, the truth is that I am suffering through countless needles leaking a foreign substance into my body. Counterintuitive to my vegetarian diet and consistent workouts, isn’t it?)
I have not seen my natural face since I turned forty. And, come to think of it, I have no idea what colour my hair actually is because I coat those “sparkly strands” with dye as soon as they dare show themselves upon my head.
This morning, it occurred to me that I have no idea how old I truly look—without the Botox, the eyebrow paint, and the hair dye.
That is fascinating. And fucked up.
During Covid, many women embraced their grey, proudly posting photos of their natural beauty across social media. I began to take screen shots of gorgeous salt and pepper hairstyles and stunning women who fiercely owned the aging process. More recently, I have made a conscious effort to fill my Instagram scroll with women who are gracefully getting older and who describe their wrinkles as proof of wisdom. I’m all for it. They are incredible, bad-asses and I want to be just like them.
Today, my morning coffee comes with a deep pondering about my own process. When will I be ready to meet what lies beneath it all? Will it be a slow tiptoe towards aging, or am I willing to cease the battle cold turkey? Am I confident enough to embrace the new (but old) face that looks back at me in the mirror? Will she still be beautiful, fabulous even?
I am excited and terrified to find out.
But not today.