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I credit the 'camera-flipping' icon found in several apps on my iPhone. I believe it was the accidental bumping of that button that first made me sit up and take notice of the current state of my own face.
Here’s the scene… You’re preparing to take a photo with your phone. Erroneously you tap the button that reverses the camera so now you have a CLOSE UP of YOUR FACE!
What the wrinkled, saggy heck?!
If you’ve had this experience (and you’re over 37), then you probably know what I’m talking about. Yikes!
The first time this happened to me, I think I almost screamed out loud. I was utterly shocked to see what my face looked like from that highly unflattering angle. It was not good. Frightening, in fact.
I recall quickly flipping the camera around so that it properly focused on the subject ‘out there’. I then let the wincing subside and got on with my day, trying to put the saggy, haggard image out of my mind.
Not long after the initial phone incident, I caught the reflection of my unaware self in a large store window. There’s that woman again! Is that what I look like to the world?
I guess what I saw is commonly referred to as Resting (Middle-Aged) Bitch Face.
And honestly, it’s terrible.
I started to freak myself out, and then I thought... 'Grow up, Kristen'.
It was simply time to get real and come to terms with my very own face.
I’ve said it before, aging isn’t for sissies.
It is for the privileged.
I’m thankful to be aging. Some people aren’t so lucky.
After considering the situation a bit, I realized that I’d become a bit delusional about my own face.
Here’s a story that explains how I think it happened… stay with me.
Many years ago, I had the pleasure of attending a special event with my father. The keynote speaker was General Norman Schwarzkopf, Jr. The general shared something I will never forget. He was referring to being a leader, but the concept seems relevant in the case of me not recognizing my own face.
Schwarzkopf explained how Grizz, his "wire-haired Dachshund who weighs 15 pounds and looks like a dust mop," is the "undisputed leader in the Schwarzkopf household," and his other dog, a 90 pound well-bred German Shepherd, is not.
"Grizz has never looked at the mirror," he joked. He explained that Grizz acted like he was every bit as big and strong and scary as the German Shepherd. He didn’t know any better. The image Grizz saw daily was that of his 90 pound cohort. Grizz simply assumed that he was also a 90 pound German Shepherd.
"It doesn't matter whether you're tall or short, or whether you're brilliant or not"... if you look at a 90 pound German Shepherd every day, it’s only natural that you’ll think you’re the same.
That's it! Exactly!
I work with younger women, I follow younger women on social media, my business mentors are younger women, I live with a younger woman.
And while I don’t for one second actually think I’m a younger woman, I guess I'd begun to assume (clearly failing at The Four Agreements) that I had the skin of the younger women I see or at least the skin of my younger self:-)
I’ve since shifted my thinking. I’m now keenly aware of the actual state of my face.
I’ve found that honest awareness is always the first step to acceptance. And the ultimate dream is to move gracefully towards true appreciation and authentic admiration of our whole self.
I’m good with my face. Wrinkles, non-Chicklet teeth, splotches, spots, rogue hairs and all.
How are you with your face?
Which of the following sums up your current feelings?
No mirrors, ever!
Doing all I can to keep things in place!
Letting everything hang, sag and wiggle, and loving it!
Here are my suggestions to help you love your aging face...
1. Follow some incredible mature accounts. Robin Wright. @robingwright Maye Musk. @mayemuskMaye Bobbie Brown. @justbobbiebrown
2. Spend time with contemporaries. Ditch your younger friends for the day and hang out with those who truly understand your issues. Or bask in the clarity and profound beauty of the elderly. Someone 20 years your senior instantly offers a perspective shift.
3. Remember that everyone ages. For a quick reality check, I just Google the young faces I grew up admiring. Elle Macpherson. Cindy Crawford. Brooke Shields. Julia Roberts. While they all look amazing, they also look older.
(Side note: Just don't Google Halle Berry. She defies nature. At 51, she still looks 31:-)
4. Know this, you are BEAUTIFUL exactly as you are. Your amazing human form only gets one go-around. So look in the mirror and smile! Start today. Embrace your face! We'll work on the body later...
Who do you love following? Please share!
I'd welcome a few more seasoned women in my IG feed.
Thank you for reading. I’m so grateful that you’re a part of this community of kindred souls.
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Have a magical week!
In an effort to keep it real... here's my face today.
Know what? The forward-facing camera isn't quite as terrible when you actual smile:-)