‘Sit in front of a mirror,’ Post-40 Bloggers said.
‘Write about what you see,’ they said.
‘Be honest,’ they added.
So here I sit, looking into a mirror as I type, not entirely liking what I see if I’m perfectly honest. It’s not that I consider myself unattractive: I’m quite pleased with the physical make up of my face – I like my brown eyes; my nose is neat; my mouth is alright. It’s all present and correct and all in the right place. Apart from my skin – my skin is suddenly doing something odd, and I don’t like it.
I shuffle the mirror back a bit to see if it helps, but no, it’s still there staring right back at me – the tiredness. I don’t mean lack of sleep kind of tiredness, I get plenty of that every night. I mean old tired, like my skin has worked hard and is starting to get worn out.
And now I’m getting a bit tearful as I write, which is stupid. I’m looking at this tired face and wondering where the other one went – the one that didn’t have any wrinkles or lines on it. The one that was glowing and youthful. The one that looks like my daughters’ faces now.
I have a dawning realisation that it’s gone for good and won’t be coming back again. And now I’m proper crying.
‘Stupid cow,’ I tell myself. ‘Stop feeling sorry for yourself.’
I wipe away the tears and have another peep. I look ugly when I’m crying – my nose goes red and my face scrunches into a thousand creases, so I take a deep breath, collect myself and take a proper good look.
I have more lines than I remember, but they all tell a tale.
There are the furrowed brow marks from concentrating hard on things that mattered – from major events like working on my teaching degree, to more mundane tasks like icing a birthday cake or cutting a piece of fabric straight.
These are probably confused with worry lines too, caused mostly, I suspect, by worrying about my children and managing life as a single parent. But also from stupid small worries like wondering why the cat didn’t come home, or why the chicken isn’t cooked through.
But then there are the happy lines. The little wrinkles at the side of my eyes and the ones that have spread from my youthful dimples and become deep grooves either side of my mouth.
When I look at the happy lines, the tiredness seems to dissipate a little. I look closer and smile. The tired lines fade further into the background and my eyes start to twinkle again – not with tears of self-pity but with happy thoughts. I start to look like me again. Not the young me that I wish I still looked like, but me. Just me.
And I reach a conclusion.
Maybe it isn’t so bad after all, this old face of mine.
Post-40 Bloggers writing prompt No. 48 – Sit in front of a mirror and write about your face.