Recently, a business associate that I have known for several years contacted me and asked if I would try a new product that she was promoting. I had seen her posts on FaceBook about this amazing product that was erasing signs of aging and helping women to “…look 20 years younger in less than a year!”
My initial reaction to the posts and to the request was “No!” However, I also felt that little pull inside… Would it make a difference if I didn’t have these wrinkles around my eyes? Although I feel youthful, do I look “old”? Maybe you have felt that pull as well? When you see the liposuction billboard, hear the commercials for Forever Young, or learn about the latest night cream…. I was curious, so I agreed to try the product for 7 days. She, of course, assured me I would be thrilled and amazed!
Night one, I took the requested photo – “hmmm, I really do have a lot of wrinkles”. I put the serum on my face – having never used anything like this before, I was a little surprised how it felt. Kind of thick even though it was a very small amount and it pulled on my skin; “is this what botox feels like?” I went to bed, woke up the next morning, washed it off – still a lot of wrinkles.
For the next 5 nights I faithfully put the serum on, noticing my wrinkles and wondering if it could really help. I did not like it but I did it because I said I would and because I was actually intrigued – would these lines on my face soften?
And, thinking about that, I found that I really could not believe that I would feel different about myself if they did. I am very aware of the constant messages we get as women (and I believe men get them too just in a little different form) about how negative aging is. It happens in very blatant ways as well as subtly. For example, a few months ago I got my hair cut. It was really surprising to me how many people felt the need to tell me how much younger I looked. People said things like, “you look so much lighter”, “you look a lot younger”, “wow, that took 10 years off you”, “hey your face looks different, less haggard” (yes, someone really said that!). While each of these comments was made in the spirit of a compliment and with good intention, I felt like I had been walking around looking like an old, tired, gray hag. Not one of those comments made me feel better about myself. They only pointed to a idea of what is desired by making a change and a strong cultural need to see and be young.
So here I was experimenting with another thing that could potentially make me look younger and all that was happening is that I was more focused on what was wrong with me. On the 6th night, I looked in the mirror and I said to myself, “I love your wrinkles; they give you character” and I went to bed without my face feeling like it was being stretched into a new shape. I woke up the next morning and saw the same person in the mirror that was there a week ago. I saw a happy, lively, smiling person with great laugh lines.