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We need to stop being so careless about age shaming

The makeup artist dabbed concealer under my eyes and then sponged foundation across my face. Stepping back and pausing for a moment, she asked a question that was designed as more of a statement than an inquiry, “Do you get Botox or filler?” It was obvious that she already knew the answer: No, I don’t.

I’m fifty-five years old and I have nothing injected in my face or anywhere else at this time. It’s true that there was a time in my life when I did get Botox around my eyes but I thought it made me look strange. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not judging. I think people should do what works for them with regard to cosmetic surgery and procedures. Having said that, I am often surprised to what extent some women and men go to in their quest to stave off the physical signs of aging, only to end up looking odd.

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It’s a fact that I am getting older, and you are too. Whether I like it or not, my face and body are changing and aging. When the makeup artist asked me that question, the first thing I thought was, “Way to make someone feel confident before getting in front of a camera”. Later I thought of the underlying issue: age shaming. When did it become so offensive to show the natural signs of a life well lived? I look around the town I live in, Boulder, Colorado, and I see men and women who wear their grey hair like a badge of honor — and it’s sexy as hell.

I watch my husband’s head turn to glance at a healthy looking silver fox strutting across the parking lot of our local grocery store, and I can’t blame him for looking. When she smiles, she has gorgeous lines that accent her joyful face and her confidence is enviable.

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Believe me, there are many-a-days when I wake up to this well lived-in face of mine and I ask myself, “damn, what happened here?” I see my puffy lined eyes staring back at me, but the truth is, I love my face and body. It took me forty years or so to get to this place of acceptance. Two weeks or two years from now, I may decide to have work done and I’m at peace with that too. It’s really about personal choice as far as how I, or anybody else, wishes to look.

When the make-up artist, a woman approximately the same age as me, added, “it’s not too late, you can still get some filler”, I laughed under my breath a bit. But the truth is, it made me mad, and sad. Mad because this was a sister casting shade on me, and that is never cool. Sad that she was so focused on her perception of beauty that she couldn’t see what made me, and likely many other men and women, lovely in our own right. I got that her job was to make me look as good as possible, but when it crossed the line to not accepting my natural face, it a became an issue for me. Could she not see the sparkle in my eyes that showed what a rich and happy life I lead?

Image: Eva Marie

Apparently not, and that is fine. It does make me wonder how she views her own self-worth and ties it to her appearance. More importantly, how many men and woman of varying ages has she questioned about the way they look who walk away feeling less than when they arrived?

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At the end of the day, we are all a little older than we were this morning. It’s a reminder to not waste precious time on insignificant happenings and thoughts, to brush off the negative, embrace what is good in our lives and move forward on our journey in a productive way, hopefully finding joy in the small and meaningful things that pass through our days.

This post was originally published on BlogHer.

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