I’ve had these bags under my eyes for a very long time. Same with my crow’s feet. (Why is it singular?) I remember reading an article in a woman’s beauty magazine in the 60s when I was a young girl. It advised women to keep their faces still, that showing extreme emotions would cause wrinkles. I’m sure they were right. These days many women who have used (perhaps a little too much) science to get rid of their wrinkles can no longer show extreme emotion on their faces. Some of them can barely show any emotion. I don’t like how it looks. It’s not a choice I would make, but I’m only in charge of my own face.
I use my face a lot. I am very expressive. Not only am I Italian but I’m also deeply engaged in life. I talk to my food, to flowers, to birds, to strangers. I express big emotions often because I often have big emotions. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea but it suits me. I also smile a lot. It just happens. A big beaming smile is basically my resting face. I also laugh easily and often. I usually don’t wear sunglasses, so I squint. I rarely get angry but when I do it’s big. Huge. The emotions roll across my face. Think rouge waves at sea.
My jowls, or at least the sides of my mouth, dropped in my early 60s. I went to bed one night, got a good night’s sleep, looked in the mirror in the morning and laughed. I called my mother and said, “My face fell last night.” My family’s body changes are like this. I went to bed one night when I was about 11 or 12 with a flat chest. I wore my undershirt with a holy medal pinned to it. In the morning I needed a size 32A bra. Not a AA, an A. My dad dropped his fork. He forgot about his pancakes. He was stunned. I had stretch marks.
My skin marks easily. It heals easily too. I’m also like that on the inside. You can hurt my heart but it heals quickly these days. I understand that many things are not under my control. Not my skin. Not my healthcare plan. Not how things will turn out in any given area of my life. But I love life. I’m amazed to be here. I’m grateful for so many things. I rarely get freaked out and anxious these days. When it does happen it’s usually about something totally ridiculous. Cue more laughing at myself and more lines forming on my face. Lately whenever I do something really stupid, I call my son and my friends to brag about it. It’s an accomplishment. Of a sort. Of course my biggest accomplishment is laughing about being stupid or unaware, and understanding that though my Darwin Award moment had an impact on my life it doesn’t define me. Just like my wrinkles.