Friday, February 11, 2011
Well, I have to say that Botox was an extreme disappointment. After lengthy examination I have concluded that there is little difference. If I had taken before and after shots, I think they would have been interchangeable. If anything my smile lines have simply migrated to under the eyes, where they have congregated to make me look a little jovial and baggier than usual. Sort of like Buddha, so that now my face matches my belly. Not quite what I had in mind.
But then again this experience has made me realise one thing - that I very seldom spend much time looking at myself in the mirror nowadays. A quick glance to make sure I don't have blobs of mascara studding my cheeks, or a wily chin hair wafting gently in the breeze, and then an efficent - and usually critical - examination of my hair and that's about it. So there's a goodly chance, I suppose, that I look massively younger and just don't realise it because I'm comparing myself to way back when, and not now. And even mega-doses of Botox ain't going to bridge that gap.
It's not like I don't have a plethora of mirrors in my house either. There's one in the hall, and one over the fireplace, and several full-length ones fixed to wardrobe doors. As well as dressing-tables, and vanities, and cabinets, and we even have one of those make-up mirrors that magnify and illuminate and make pores look like moon craters while giving your skin all the glow of a ruddy apple. Conversation with my daughters, and their friends, are punctuated by teenage eyes sliding away to whatever mirror is behind me, where they give themselves a brisk once-over before sliding back. Only to repeat the process again a few minutes later, like it's a compulsion.
I can't quite remember what it was like to have such an easy relationship with my reflection, but I suspect that they - too - are looking for flaws rather than admiring the overall result. Why do we do that? There's that old joke that women will never be truly equal with men until they too can walk down the street with a bald spot and beer belly and think they look sexy. And if that's the case, we have a long way to go. God, says my slim, smooth-skinned, gorgeous nineteen-year old, staring critically at herself, I look like shit. Her friend turns it into a competition. Look at me! My nose, my chin, my ass! It casts a frigging shadow! And I wonder why it is that they cannot see what I can, or appreciate what they have. So maybe it's not about appearance as much as acceptance. And all the Botox in the world isn't going to help anybody without that.
So I have decided to start rediscovering myself. Spend a little more time enjoying the view. After all every line and wrinkle and crow's foot is part of the language used to tell my story and I quite like myself, and where I've been, and what I've done, so why shouldn't I value the end result? With this in mind I just spent ten minutes, stark naked, staring at myself in my dressing-table mirror and can confidentally say that's not a good idea. Probably best to start a little slower.