I stood in the mirror this morning and, like I do every November 17, watched myself turn another year older.
As I stood there, I took some heart notes:
My hair has darkened and thinned. My skin is less vibrant in the right places and more translucent in the wrong. My nose is more freckled (the kind that don’t fade after the long days of summer do). And, in general, I feel creakier than ever. Like that annoying floorboard in our master bedroom that sings its song with every passing.
I’m not complaining, mind you.
When I was younger, I wanted to look like this:
And be named Samantha or Alexandra.
Not a name that encouraged the boys to bow to me irreverently in the hallways:
“Ah…yes, Daniel-san. You VERY special Daniel-san” (the Karate Kid generation will get this).
It was NOT fun.
I didn’t change my name. And I don’t look like Christie Brinkley (not that I’d want to now, though she is lovely…she really is).
I just worked on my cake.
Those who know me will tell you that I’m not much into makeup. I wear it, sure. I. just. don’t. make. myself. up.
I was always told less is more:
“Show off a pretty eye or a pretty lip, but not both.
So, I graduated from the minimalist’s school of outward beauty prep (or “the icing”, as I like to call it). My icing consists of cream blush and ChapStick/lipstick. That’s all I have patience for (with the exception of special occasions, like the one below):
When I was younger, being outwardly pulled together was of the utmost importance since inwardly I was falling apart.
I had always been relatively cute and slim until the waves of adolescence battered my charming shores and a lack of movement (coupled with an excess of junk food and emotional eating) lead to a heavier, then heavier, then still heavier version of myself.
At my heaviest, I weighed nearly 180 pounds.
My icing then was designer clothing. I thought that if I was overweight, at least I was wearing the “right” clothes.
It was all in my head, of course.
Guess jeans didn’t stop me from being called a cow by a previous “best friend” during Senior Pep Rally and Coach purses didn’t stop me from hearing the words, “Hey…fat girl” ride the autumn wind while walking campus as a college freshman.
And nothing saved me from my own self-hatred and demeaning heartlogue.
My weight and my love/hate relationship with food have been relative non-issues since I took back my health in 2006.
And designer clothes aren’t a part of my current reality.
I’m a Kohl’s girl at heart.
And. proud. of. it.
But I’d like to think (no, I have to believe) that I care more about my cake than my icing. That being inwardly beautiful means more to me (and to you) than a beautifully painted face or a beautifully adorned body (that’s me below…NO icing…post-wake up and pre-hair fluff (forgive the bed head and the dragon breath)):
Every November 17, I will stand in the mirror and watch as I turn another year older. And while I’m sure I’ll have more to notice as time rushes on, I hope that I will always be more cake than icing.
That the moments that take place between the heartbeats are more important than the size of my jeans, the shade of my lipstick and the wrinkles on my face.