We all know that aging is bad the same way we know fat is bad.
It is just unattractive.
Looking older is a bad thing.
But is it?
Or is it that our culture does not value old people? That we never heard older women or wrinkles or spots talked about as beautiful?
People age and they become irrelevant, we shut them away.
Especially our old women.
Even in the words we use, old women. Old people.
The hag is not beautiful, crones are not beautiful, so we must pump our faces full of filler in order to look young.
This is the same as starving ourselves or trying to change our bodies to look thin.
We just don’t want to look that way.
I will turn 30 this year and I have many more wrinkles than a lot of people my age.
There are many factors to this – awful breakouts as a teenager, genetics, and also the fact that I have never cared about making my face look younger.
I will continue to spend lots of time in the sun without sunscreen or a hat
I will continue to crinkle my eyes and furrow my brow when I read
I will continue to squish the side of my face on my pillow
I will continue to laugh, a lot
I will continue to barely wash my face and not buy any anti-aging cream
My body is covered in marks and lines and scars
Acne scars everywhere. The scar on my chest from a cyst that they had to stitch and I did not listen when they said stay out of the sun, I just let it heal in its angry red shape. Stretch marks everywhere, now. The chicken pox scar from when I just had to scratch one. The knee scar from falling rollerblading as a child. Deep lines on my forehead and increasing crinkles around my eyes.
What is beauty?
It will always be to me the equivalent of rolling around on the earth.
The dirt and the running rivers and the lines and bumps of trees.
The weathered skin of someone who has spent so much of their life outside.
Who has spent their life living, unafraid.
Bright eyes shining through storied skin.
Natural hair climbing, changing colors as it pleases.
Wanting to fix our bodies, change our bodies is like taking a storm and trying to calm it down, make it more orderly.
It is like when they groom trees into lollipop shapes
If I could snap my fingers and give myself smooth skin, I wouldn’t
If I could make my lips bigger or fill in the lines on my forehead or straighten my nose, I wouldn’t
I think I look more fascinating every year
I look older every year
Because I am in fact getting older
The biggest question I sit with around these things is not what is wrong with doing something.
But it is instead – what do we lose?
When we choose this, what are we missing out on? What are we not having?
And there is real magic in that
Real connection in that
How can our kids learn expression if our faces don’t move?
What do you not get to feel if you choose to look different?
What depth of love for your body do you not get to experience if you bypass it to change it instead?
What does this mean about our relationship to our bodies, to the earth, about the way we value women and beauty and our elders?
In every way our world is changing
Our digital world, fake faces world, manufactured foods world, isolated world
It is not what is wrong
The biggest question is what do I lose when I choose this
I have a new podcast episode coming out today around this topic – The Demetra Gray Show anywhere you listen. (That is the Spotify link – Apple link is here)
If you’re on my email list (subscribe below) you’ll get notified when it goes up. Along with other things I don’t share elsewhere!