Erasing the signs of life

I have a wrinkle.

Yes, it’s true. I’ve come to terms with it.
I made the unhappy discovery two weeks shy of my 31st birthday two years ago.

“Black don’t crack,” say the Americans. This may be true by and large but age has come to stalk me in my prime. I wrestled with it for days, in shock, disbelief and then denial. Friends and family aided and abetted the denialism, helpfully and rather hysterically chipping in, “Oh don’t be silly it’s just a laughter line”.

It appeased to me for a while given that I’m known for my bawdy, no-holds-barred Julia Roberts laugh. I can imagine how such uncontained muscular movements of the cheek area could lead to some strain on the face.

This ruse worked, for a while, but soon enough the whole gamut of anti-ageing balms and cure-all’s started surreptitiously making their way onto my cosmetics and beauty products shopping list. You mistakenly assume that if you eat well, exercise and take good care of your skin and body, you may be able to stave off the signs of getting on until at least, say, 40.

I embrace getting older, spiritually and intellectually. There’s a level of self-assuredness and a devil-may-care attitude that you don’t have in your teens and 20s. But the toll it begins to take on you physically is not to be scoffed at and dismissed simply as vanity. Sure, that’s a big part of it, but fundamentally it means there is a dramatic shift in how you’ve always perceived yourself to be and things will never be the same again, the process is irreversible. In many respects it’s all downhill from here. Sigh.

What to do? You learn soon enough that the numerous balms, with their lofty promises of reversing the sands of time, are as cavernous as the Kimberley hole. Your wallet will also take a beating, given how pricey these products are. At the end of the day, while you stare woefully at the mirror, all you have left to say is “out, damned spot” with the same crazed intensity as Lady Macbeth. However, in this case, the spot of choice, wrinkles, or whatever ails you is actually there.

So what to do when the dreadful “A” word does come knocking on your door, unannounced and certainly uninvited?

Many women have experimented with cosmetic surgery and other less invasive procedures, such as Botox and fillers, some with more successful results than others. There is something about a botoxed face which is quite comical because it changes some people’s expressions to such an extent that they look as though they are suppressing a chuckle, while others look as if they have a perpetual questioning gaze. It’s not for me, I’m afraid. And besides, how do you explain to those near and dear why your face has suddenly changed?

In the case of cosmetic surgery advances have been made so that these procedures are generally foolproof, whereas in the not so distant past one heard horrific tales about people bleeding to death on the surgeon’s table, while having a little nip and tuck.

Those who’ve braved it speak heartily of how it’s changed their lives and boosted their self-esteem. They aren’t shy to show off their work, as I saw when a colleague casually rolled up her top to show me her “new” augmented breasts. She explained that for six to eight weeks she couldn’t drive or move her arms beyond shoulder height. Such limited mobility over such a long period of time seems suffocating and unpleasant, but, hey, she was happy.

Safety for the patient is one thing but think of others who may come too close your enhanced assets.

Consider the poor snake that met its early demise after nestling rather too cosily on the bosom of an Israeli model during a photo shoot three weeks ago. The boa constrictor bit her breast. The model was given a tetanus shot in hospital and was sent home, but the snake, poor thing, later died of silicone poisoning. Anything toxic enough to kill a snake ought not to be inside your body, flowing through your veins.

It seems that the dull and unadventurous are left with no choice but to embrace and bravely accept the ravages of time, as a sign of a life well lived. The self-imposed pressure to remain youthful is silly and the goal is unattainable.

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