…I’ve realised I’ve finally made peace with my appearance. After years of banging my head against the metaphoric wall for not being a 12 foot glamazon with collarbones that could cut butter, I’ve realised that being a pocket version of one, albeit with more curves than I can contain isn’t a bad bargain. I’ve given up expecting to morph overnight into a light eyed blonde haired epitome of Caucasian beauty and ergo, you will no longer see me torturing my tresses with platinum highlights that are meant to look sun kissed but in troth look more sun fried, and I will no longer dunk the eyeball with a coloured contact lens. Beauty, I’ve realised, to conform to the norm, requires effort. I’m too lazy to put in that effort. Thankfully, I’m no longer, in my head, that overweight, bespectacled, pimply faced, oiled into two tight plaits hairstyle sporting adolescent. She’s hiding somewhere, that girl, she occasionally surfaces, and I have to feed her some chocolate to get her to lie low again.
My visits to the beauty parlour, few and far between are merely for regular maintenance issues to keep me from looking like the woman who ran with the wolves, and get all the excess topiary and foliage off my person. God, when will armpit hair come into fashion? Twenty years and I still whimper when the girl applies that hot wax to delicate parts of the skin. And I’m not even beginning to talk of places where the wax strips have no business being unless you want to associate a level of intolerable pain with a particular South American country. The lady who runs the place has stopped trying to talk me into a facial or even a clean up and sighs resignedly every time she makes a mental note of the pores being open enough to have oil derricks put in place to extract subcutaneous oil deposits from deep within the pores.
And yes, I get them to do the hands and feet. I am a little particular about that, well maintained hands and feet. I judge. Okay, go snicker behind my back, but if you’re dressed in the poshest togs and your digits are not clean and cut and filed, I’m going to raise one eyebrow ever so subtly so help me god. As I’ve aged I’ve stopped skittering around with multiple products for my skin and hair and gone back to basics. For the hair a fortnightly application of a henna pack, basic Clear and Dove shampoos and conditioners (no they’re not paying me to say that) and for the skin, regular Cetaphil facewash and Moisturiser, and Johnson’s Baby Lotion for the night and Lacto Calamine for the day is working well enough. I had just about gone crazy under the pile of day creams, night creams, eye creams, serums, lotions, miracle oils, active plant extracts, cosmoceuticals and a whole lot of fancy sounding words which made me wonder if my skin would self combust on application and worry whether I would live to tell the tale. Fortunately, I’ve realised that nothing works as well on the skin as maintaining a sense of humour and a sense of calm, alternatively, realising that one is morphing into that ugly creature, the louder, more belligerent invisible older woman, and trying hard to tone down one’s voice even when one has been elbowed aside for the umpteenth time when in a queue, and laughing aloud as much as one can to throw people off balance.
I’ve realised that there is no greater beauty than a woman comfortable in her own skin, and you are as beautiful as you believe yourself to be. And I’ve also realised, as I’ve aged, that the best cosmetic is a smile, and the greatest fragrance is compassion. I hope to get by with those two, though I’m not skimping on the face paint yet. I’ve yet to reach that level of zen about my appearance.