This morning, as I was talking to two building friends in our lobby, the conversation turned towards skin. We'd already covered building politics, the renovation of the community room, which we deduced had to have been orchestrated by someone with no kids, as 14 hanging lamps now make it a hazard to throw a ball anywhere. Reactions to holiday tips, the dearth of comfortable kid friendly restaurants along with the demise of old standbys. We talked about publishing, book deals, agents, editors and pr. New York City versus California, family drama, nasty neighbors. All topics were quick visits, light glossings, nothing substantial or substantive. Until we got to skin.
And there we stayed. It started with a comment that my skin looked good, which I found surprising. I had just come from yoga, was entirely make-up free, remnants of sweat still plastering hair to my forehead. Never the ideal time to be scrutinized. But, here was someone saying in spite of all that, I was getting compliments. I was quick to point out the vertical grooves, or furrows which was the skin word of the day, gouged in between my eyes. Also, the deepening lines framing my mouth that always make me look on the verge of explosive anger. One friend couldn't get past the ever darkening circles around her eyes. The other had had a botched botox experience.
And there we stayed.
Discussing treatments, expensive clinics that whisked you away on a private plane with fancy spa treatments after your more medical appointments. The things we'd change, whether we'd ever go through with those changes, where we'd go, when to start. The kinds of doctors to see. What to ask for. What to do if something went wrong.
I don't often have these conversations. But, with the length and intensity of this one, apparently I'm in the minority. I sometimes entertain the thought of smoothing out those between eye ravines, but never talk about it with anyone. It feels too vain, to egotistical, too shallow. After years of of starving my body, of hiding in black shapeless clothes, of hating myself, I don't want to start finding fault. Trust me, there's plenty I could complain. The wrinkles in my elbows that I notice in down dog during yoga class. The slightly loosening chin skin that I check almost automatically on a regular basis. The veins that line the backs of my hands. The fact that my belly's thicker than it's ever been even though I've never been in better shape.
This is me getting older. I sort of wish I could go back and appreciate my skin when it was dewy soft, satiny to the touch. When everything was tight and firm and didn't have a mind of its own. Sometimes I look down at my knees and marvel that I used to wear knee socks and shorts, leaving just my thighs exposed. When you're 16 or 25 it's all fine.
But, I'm not ready to scrutinize, to find fault, to be unhappy with how I look.
I'm getting older. There are things I could do to hide that fact, but that's not for me. At least not yet.