“You are beautiful”

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I spotted these words scrawled on the wall near my hairdresser’s yesterday.

They’re something we’re all supposed to believe about ourselves: Ra-ra go us!

Add them to those famous lines from The Help: You is kind. You is smart. You is important … You is beautiful … inside or out or (if you’re a very rare individual) both.

But I don’t feel beautiful when I’m standing naked in front of the bathroom mirror after my morning shower.

I feel old and wrecked.

People often remark that my eldest looks like me. I tell them no, she’s beautiful.

(Not in her ear shot, because we’re not supposed to make our daughters think their worth lies in their appearance. So I only make comments about her gorgeous brain when she’s around. The curious result is that she has no idea she’s beautiful. She drifts through life blithely unaware of it, like a dreamy Luna Lovegood.)

When I dismiss the comparisons and note our disparity in beauty, people laugh. They say, well of course, she’s only 11 and you’re in your late 40s.

Actually – now I come to think of it – that’s not really the most uplifting thing to say to me. Anyways …

Back to that bathroom mirror.

I look at the strange woman staring back at me and have a wide variety of thoughts – depending on the stage of my menstrual cycle – ranging from “ah, well, not too bad for a 47-year-old” to “Waaaaaaaaaah, I wish I could afford plastic surgery.”

On those “I wish I could afford plastic surgery” days I put my fingers to my hairline just above my ears and pull my saggy, collagen-deficient cheeks back, then critically examine the results. I’ve decided I’d look quite fabulous with a facelift.

Of course, it’s a vicious cycle, because then I’d need my eye bags lifted as well or it would look weird.

And some Botox or Restylane between my brows wouldn’t go astray – my frown lines are quite something to behold. I would blame my marriage break-up, but they pre-date it.

Then I turn from side to side to check my nipples are still pointing in the right direction .. Yep, passable … For now …

I stare down at my belly and the shadow its softness casts on my caesarean scar. I lift my skin up – yep, definitely a better look.

Let’s add a tummy tuck to the fantasy surgery list. I don’t think all the ab exercises in the world can fix the excess skin created by growing two ginormous babies in my belly.

Although a bit less chocolate might.

I’m wondering if less chocolate would also help with my middle-aged acne. Bloody middle-aged acne. What sort of cruel trick is Mother Nature playing on me?

Before I’ve spack-filled I look like I’ve caught the measles – I’m covered new pimple spots and old marks. They flare up when the ragingly hormonal Red Dog is upon me.

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I sponge on foundation every morning and blend dots of concealer over all the offending marks. Yet, when I looked at myself in the hair salon mirror yesterday, I seemed pasty and washed out.

Perhaps more spack-fill is in order? I’m not big on make-up. I’m a slap-on-a-bit-of-blush-and-go kinda gal … oh and, when I have the dosh, I get my eyelashes tinted. That usually livens me up.

Funnily enough, when I’m not standing in front of the mirror I have an image of myself in my mind who looks completely different.

As aforementioned in How Old Do Feel? I keep thinking I’m only 35. I’m hoping it’s not early-onset dementia.

I can’t be 47. I just can’t be. I certainly don’t act like I’m 47. I told DD yesterday that I’m having a “second teen-dom.”

Although I don’t recall having as much fun the first time around as I’m having now, despite the wrinkles. Ironic, huh?

Ain’t that always the way?

Do you see “beauty” when you look in the mirror?

Song of the day: The Velvet Underground “I’ll be your mirror”


2 thoughts on ““You are beautiful”

  1. I recently saw a hideous photo of myself. Or that’s my initial reaction when I saw it. I was red-faced and gasping having just finished a race. And then I looked again and saw the beauty in what had been captured. I’d just set a 2 minute PB after having some awfully shitty things happen in my life over the last couple of years. I could see astonishment and amazement and the tears that I was barely keeping from falling. I see survival and a woman who’s proved herself to be stronger than she thought she ever could be. Now it’s my favourite portrait.

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