I remember a time when I thought 30 years old or anyone in that age range sounded ancient. I couldn’t even comprehend life beyond my ego-driven teen-centric self. But a strange thing happened. Just like some kind of movie magic alien event, my body began to age while my mind stayed in it’s youth.
I still feel like me, but the calendar and birthday celebrations say, “not.”. Strangely, this bizarre phenomenon has continued through the years. It’s as if a Star Trek Transporter landed me at this place and time with someone else’s body. I’m not okay with this. I liked my body just fine. And since arriving, I am discovering unapproved body changes.
Mirror Mirror On My Wall
I find myself in a daily analysis of conflicted discovery. For instance, this development that they call “liver spots.” Can I just say, “What the hell!” Where did these off-color oddities come from anyway? I’ve scrubbed, I’ve moisturized and tried various make-up camouflages to no avail.
Of course I have already devoted another separate post to my random facial hair growth in all of it’s appalling glory. Random facial hair for a woman is worthy of an anti-depressant prescription. People always wonder why it takes a woman so long to “get ready” to go somewhere. Well this is why. We are desperately trying to address our physical issues so the whole world doesn’t discover our shameful body secrets.
In Living Color
And then there are the varicose veins. Veins are one of the obvious external genetic markers we gain from our parents. They come in all different colors, shapes, thicknesses and patterns. Even if you’re lucky enough to be born with “good” veins that stay hidden in your body parts.. things change. I can now see what resembles a google map on both of my legs. Of course some of the map markers include the small red clusters, they call spider veins.
I’m not sure why veins start to change shape, maybe it has something to do with the American diet and how we clog them with plaque and the like. But my veins have suddenly decided to bulge and take on a rope-y appearance. I always knew I was a twisted sister..but thought it was in a fun, charming kind of way.
Now for the fix..what is the answer? I’m not one to rush to a plastic surgeon to fix my veins or other parts unless they are more than a cosmetic problem..which at this point, they are not. Yet I am vain enough to be bothered by them too. Doesn’t everybody want a body to match the age they feel like in their head?
To Throw A Wrinkle In The Mix
I can’t talk about the dreaded aging process without including wrinkles. I understand that they are inevitable. I also understand that genetics, again, plays a role in the timing and nature of those wrinkles. For instance, I am part Cherokee Indian. I didn’t care so much about my heritage as a kid, nor did I have any desire to go research my ancestry or the family tree. I remember that my father was very knowledgeable about our Cherokee roots. However, as I got older, I started to find more interest in my Cherokee ancestors. I learned that I was related to Chief John Ross of the Cherokee Indians. My dad had has his tribal card to the Cherokee Indian Nation, and I later decided to obtain my card as well. When I noticed that there was an upcoming PowWow in the area I live in, my husband & I decided to go. One of the things that I found very fascinating was that when I looked around at the people there, I could see myself in their faces. I could see the familiar deeply ingrained mouth and nose lines that resembled my Cherokee father and grandfather. The same ones that I have now.
And even though there is a quasi-cool reason for having deeply embedded wrinkles & grooves in my face (at least some of them), it doesn’t negate the difficulty of hiding or minimizing them. I have on occasion come across totally confident women who wear their wrinkles like a badge that they earned and are damn proud of them. I am just not one of them.
What To Wear
Aside from our daily efforts to do battle with our cosmetic imperfections, we are faced with special occasions. You know the ones I’m talking about right. You’ve been invited to a summer wedding and immediately launch yourself into the dilemma of what to wear. And isn’t it funny (in a non-ha ha kind of way) how we immediately start trying to make a clothing choice based on what others are likely to see. Oh, I love this dress, but it shows my “old lady” arms. Or geez, this dress would work if it didn’t have that slit down each side to reveal my pasty legs and varicose veins. Aww, I love these shoes, but they hurt now because of my bunions.
Men don’t understand why it takes us so long to make a decision. Why can’t we just pick something for gosh sakes. I have now been married 35 years and my husband has never grasped the concept of why women buy “cheap” shoes to match the outfit. “Why would you put yourself through pain like that?” Or how about this suggestion from him, “Why don’t you just wear your tennis shoes, they’re comfortable.” “Well, because the only impression worse than calling attention to my flaws, is presenting the glaring impression that I have absolutely no fashion sense.” Women get this.
My latest cosmetic weapon is my new self-tanning purchase. Admittedly, in my youth I had what can only be described (or perhaps I should say diagnosed) as an unhealthy tanning addiction. God only knows what I have done to my innards from tanning bulbs placed 6″ from my face. For years my mantra was: No matter how big it is, it looks better tan! It gives the illusion that I am in better health than I am, or even better, that I must have just returned from a fabulous vacation. When in reality..well..whateva.
So back to my recent purchase, my spray-on tanning product. Like many of you, I have purchased at least a handful of self-tanners, usually from a drugstore. I get them home and start to apply them, only to be met with a funky, what is that, smell. You know the one I’m talking about..it is a very distinct odor which may lead people in close proximity to think you missed your shower that day. Nothing that a little well-placed perfume won’t fix. But it’s not just the smell that is the problem.
Inevitably when applied to my body, I am left with a streaky, ‘missed a few’ parts semblance of a tan. Or even worse, an overly dirt-like appearance in the rough areas of my elbows, knuckles or ankles. I am not sure which is worse: Having my self-conscious body issues viewable for the whole world to see, or having an epic tan fail which screams, get your money back, it didn’t work! Snicker snicker.
Past experiences have lead me to google the top rated self-tanners out there. I don’t know if all of the reviews on Amazon.com are real or not, but they definitely influence me when making my purchases. So I was pretty impressed when I found a product called Fake Bake which had over 4 thousand reviews. I have to believe that many of those were the real deal and as such, slashed my deliberation time to about a minute. I picked the Fake Bake Spray Tan and a tanning balm blending product. With my Prime membership, it was only a matter of a couple of days before I would be able to attack my cosmetic worries. In the meantime, I binge-watched young women on YouTube doing Fake Bake self-application videos. I learned, like, it really smells tropical, like, not those drugstore self-tanners. Like, it is really easy to put on. Like, it isn’t streaky, like those others. Like, you’ll really like it. Yes, like, I did say that the women were, like, youngish.
And The Outcome Is..
So did it work? Well..my first time application impression is ..not bad. I need to practice my method of application and getting the correct amount of product on the tanning mitt. The smell is pleasant and the effect is immediate. It does not have the orange tint that I have typically been left with. And lo and behold, it has indeed minimized the appearance of my varicose veins. That works for me. In fact I’m changing my title from Call Me Vain/Vein, to Call Me Almost Tan. Stay tuned for future updates from Sandy’s The Annals of Aging Ungracefully.
Until then..keep fighting the good fight ladies, and stay as TANfastic as you are!