For many, however, it’s something to freak about, especially if you're a woman. I know this sounds awfully unfair and I don't mean to be sexist, but it's true. Reality can be a bitch sometimes. This is one of the reasons people love the fact that cosmetics companies, fashion/lifestyle magazines and plastic surgeons, exist. They exist to make you feel ugly. Their ideas of eternal youth and preserved (physical) beauty make you feel bad about yourself, as if whatever you do is not good enough. As if being yourself is never (considered) enough.
This is also why some women are more than reluctant to reveal their real age, especially once they reach 35. They don't want to be judged, even worse if they happen to live in a highly-hypocritical and shallow society. It's one thing to expect them to be full-time caregivers of their families; it's another to criticise and scold them for not taking care of themselves that well anymore.
Whatever happened to “aging gracefully”? And what's with the double-standard? Because I don’t hear many complaints about the deep lines on a man's face?
If only we could see beyond those lines, we might learn to appreciate elderly people more. Every line tells a story of their lives, whatever the story is.
A year after my father had fallen seriously ill and started his series of treatments. I took a picture of Ma and me, and showed it to one of my best friends. She freaked out.
"That's not your mother."
"What are you talking about?" I snapped. "This is her!"
"The last time I saw her, she didn't look that...."
...old, I mentally finished the word my best friend hadn't had the heart to spit out. I realized then that after Dad had gotten very sick Ma had somehow aged a decade faster, in just a year.
Still, those lines can be the imprints of a lifetime of joy, of smiles or laughs shared in many happy moments. Like when Ma looks at her grandkids, seeing how funny, cute, and lovely they are. Like when four-year-old Gyan gave her flowers he'd picked from the garden with his nanny, cheerfully saying: "Happy birthday, Nini. I love you so much!"
Or, the smile of this guy – one of the nicest guys I know – when he gazes lovingly at my friend, the love of his life. I mean, think about this: if those are the reasons behind those crow's feet at the corners of your eyes and the lines between your nose and mouth, perhaps having those wrinkles isn't always such a bad idea.
They are visual evidence of how often you smile and laugh – thanks to the people you love and those who love you in return – and how loved you make each other feel.
*Photo by Jenny Downing
Ruby Astari is an English teacher, freelance translator, and freelance writer. Her first novel "Reva's Tale" is already in stores. She enjoys being a sexy chub, hanging out with fellow writers, and wearing froggy shades in public!