Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Take That Look Off Your Face!

Okay, confession time. I Botox.

Pause.

And you all have an opinion about that, don't you?

Yes, once every three months I pay a week's grocery money to a woman who injects me with one of the most deadly toxins known to man. It paralyses the muscles in my forehead so that I can no longer frown.

Why? Why would I do that? Far less pay good money for it?

Let's get one thing straight. I'm fifty-two (as of yesterday). I have no problem with being fifty-two, in fact I quite like it. I have no problem with owning and claiming the laughter lines around my eyes, around my mouth and the worry lines further up my forehead.
The frown lines are a different matter.

The problem lies not so much in the lines themselves but in the story they tell. The frown lines, when my face is in repose, say "this woman is grumpy and bad tempered." They don't tell the truth. The truth is rather "this woman frowns when she concentrates. And she's found that most things in life need concentration if you're going to get them right."

The lines had become very deep. At every professional photo shoot the photographer would say, matter of factly, "So I'll get rid of the frown lines for you, shall I?" My daughter commented, "Mummy – you always look grumpy, even when I know you're not." My beautician asked for some potting compost as then she could grow leeks in them. I'd like to think she's exaggerating but she assures me they had their own microclimate down there and that she heard they auditioned to be the stunt double for the Mariana Trench!

So yes, I have Botox injections. I've had them for two years now and the lines are fainter, but still there. That's Okay. I do frown – it's one of the wonderful facial expressions by which we humans communicate. But the lines no longer present a falsehood about my character.

Now – I haven't noticed this myself, but studies carried out have suggested that, when people have Botox and therefore cannot frown, they notice that they are happier. And we all know that we can make ourselves feel better by standing up straight and smiling, don't we? (And I'm not talking about the fake show we put on to hide our depression from others, Okay?)

One of my favourite quotations about beauty came from a former Vogue Editor (although I cannot discover which) who said: "If you are not beautiful when you're sixteen, you can blame Mother Nature. If you are not beautiful when you are sixty, you have no one to blame but yourself."

It's true: we write who we are on our faces. And it is not our experiences in life which tell our story, but the manner in which we have met those experiences.

So I suggest we smile, even when it's hard. Go on, let's use our facial expressions to write some good character lines. What will yours say?

Mary
A Moodscope member.