I’ve found that it is best not to spend too much time gazing at my reflection in a the mirror these days! Sure, I need to when applying makeup or blowdrying my hair or tweezers in hand, I am on ‘man facial hair removal’ duty! But other than that, mirror gazing is not bringing me a lot of pleasure. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t dislike my face. It’s just that it’s disappointing me a bit at the moment.
I never considered myself a ‘pretty’ girl – dead straight, short, red hair and freckles were not what I associated with ‘pretty’! Cute-ish maybe but not ‘pretty’! Then there was the issue of my teeth!
It’s strange, but the three things that I thought made me plain as a child, are the exact same things I have been complemented for as an adult! My skin, my hair and my teeth/smile! I was lucky enough to use sunscreen most of my childhood days, due to a mother who cared enough to insist before it was the known everyday necessity of today.
My hair was actually thick and when I grew it long, the colour changed, naturally, to a beautiful strawberry blond! And then there was the issue of my teeth – which my Mum & Dad scraped together the thousands of dollars to pay for braces for me as a 10 year old and that went a long way to fixing that problem! It wasn’t exactly the ugly duckling becoming a swan and I still didn’t consider myself ‘pretty’ in the classical sense of the word but I didn’t dislike what I saw in the mirror!
So what do I see when I gaze in the mirror today that disappoints me, you ask?
My skin, at 57, is succumbing to those dreaded age spots or are they called liver spots. What the hell kind of a name is that – liver spots? Yes, they can be and mostly are, covered by makeup but when I look at my face naked – there they are. Add to those, skin tags and those little red dots that my Dad seemed to have everywhere and facial hair and you have my skin! Give me freckles any day!
My hair – I shouldn’t complain because I still have some …. correct Brother dear? But my hair is thin! Gone are the thick locks of my teen years and with each pregnancy the natural colour got darker and darker! My hair is thin! I may have already mentioned this but I have thin hair …. It is even thinner on one side than the other. Uneven thin!! Did I know that this was a possibility? The colour remains my own, no dying here – yet! The greys are coming but did they have to start in my EYEBROWS first? Grey eyebrows, even white eyebrows – really!!!! Oh yeah, my hair is thin – it is thin on my head but on my face? We are not going there!
Then there is the issue of my teeth! I didn’t really tell you the complete story of my teeth but it needs to be told here! When I was ten, I was told I needed braces, which for a blue collar family was quite a financial commitment. It was a commitment that my parents took up and I came home with a bar across the roof of my mouth, that had a nut in the middle and a spanner for my Mum to screw each day, to widen my top jaw! It was quite the procedure and by the time it was finished, I could put my two fingers in the gap between my two front teeth! I can’t seem to find any photos of this – I have no idea why???? Then came the ‘railway track’ full braces, to pull everything back into place! Eighteen months later, braces off, beautiful teeth, wonderful rest of life!
If only it was that simple. Unfortunately, the story doesn’t end there. The day after having my braces removed, thirteen year old me was playing with some toddler kids next door when one child, in a fit of jealousy, because I was paying too much attention to the other kid, picked up a metal rubbish tin lid and threw it like a frisbee at me!
It hit me right in my newly exposed, straight and beautiful front teeth … snapping one of them clean off!! To say that all hell broke loose was an understatement. Kids ran everywhere. I ran home. Mum sat on the step and cried. Sister went and told the mother of the children in no uncertain terms what she thought of said kids!
The upshot of all of this is I have a false front tooth, which is fine but as I am getting older my teeth are changing colour. Well, my real teeth are changing colour but my fake tooth is remaining sparkling white. So now when I look at my teeth in the mirror, I can only see my real front tooth looking out at me – dark and pirate-like!!! I know there are whiteners etc but you know … money and priorities and bills! So mirror gazing has now become a ‘by needs only’ past time.
But really – the old girl is not doing too badly for a fifty seven year old!
How is aging treating you and how are you dealing with it?