I looked at myself in the mirror yesterday, not just to guide a face wipe over day-old mascara or while absent-mindedly brushing my hair, but I really looked at myself.
I examined my face from grey-roots to neck. I pulled at my cheeks, lifted the skin around my eyes and turned my mouth up and down.
Who was this woman staring back at me, the one with the silver stripe along her crown and a forehead that wrinkled when she strained to take a closer look?
Her skin looks redder than I remember and when I stretch it this way and that, it takes a few seconds to fall back into place. Both her eyebrows are flecked with grey and she appears to be growing a third… on her chin. Her eyes look a bit bleary, probably because she had two glasses of wine the night before; and the dark circles beneath them are there because she never sleeps well after wine.
It is me, but not the me I remember.
The last time I looked, really looked, my skin seemed brighter, plumper and smoother. My hair was tamer, and although there was an occasional shimmer of silver in the wrong light, it was an otherwise enviable mane. It was a face that did not mould into the pillow overnight and had never been tweezed below the eye. It did not require expensive cleansers or tinted moisturisers to look healthy and if #selfies had been invented then, they’d be #nofilter. It was a wonderfully adaptable face that I took for granted.
But, I like my new face much more.
It is the face of someone who has lived for over 40-years. The lines around my eyes are from decades of laughing, and the creases in my cheeks have been kissed a thousand times. This face has a family to love. It lights up in the company of friends and can break into a smile without really trying. It is the only face my son has ever known.
I am proud of every wrinkle, every fold and every groove. If you traced your finger over them, they would tell you the story of my life.
It is a privilege to wear this face.