Facebook   Twitter   Instagram
Current Issue   Archive   Donate and Support    

A Burning Desire to Look Younger


Well, I am sitting here in all my glorious vanity with a charred face. I knew I was going to need to stay home for a day, but I guess I did not really have a clear idea exactly how bad I would look.

Living in a household of three men—my 72-year-old father, 38-year-old significant other and 12-year-old son—there is not a whole lot of rational understanding of how I could basically subject myself to burning the top layer of my skin off.

At the moment there are a few thoughts as to why myself. My eyes are swollen and puffy, my face red (not red like a little sunburn, more like having just walked through a nuclear radiation chamber). My face is blotchy and scabbing, and I can only use one type of ointment, Aquafor, which is basically whipped vaseline. It’s a nice, heavy greasy glob of relief.

I would like to say that I subjected myself to four days of hiding in my house looking something like a car-wreck victim out of research. The truth of the matter is the only research I am doing is yet another attempt to fight off the inevitable aging process. My niece, who is 19, and a coworker, 26, both want to preach to me about the beauty of aging naturally and gracefully. I always find it amazing those filled with youth, clear and wrinkle-free skin, heads devoid of gray hair and joints that actually work when they bend, have such a romantic notion of what aging gracefully looks like.

In reality we are all impressed when we meet someone who “looks great for their age”, and we make comments like “I hope I look that good when I am their age.” I’m not sure if any of these people burned the top layer of their skin off to achieve this, but I am willing to wager they have spent a fair amount on lotions, potions and a good aesthetician. Of course, there are always those with “good genes,” but I am not sure how many of those I believe. While admitting you use Botox is something equivalent to admitting you’re a necrophiliac or ax murderer, based on the availability of this treatment, it is my assumption that there are a lot more people practicing this attempt to hang on to their youth than are willing to admit it.

So what do I gain from four days of hiding in my house like a nuclear burn victim? Two years off my age? Ten? Who knows. What I do know is that aging ain’t all its cracked up to be. Sure, I am smarter and more confident and that’s a beautiful thing. But my breasts sag and I look like complete crap when I’m tired. My somewhat committed regiment of exercise hasn’t really helped me lose any weight, but I haven’t gotten fatter, for now, either. I have decided I like feeling good, and part of feeling good is also feeling good about my looks, even if that seems vain. I am not really trying to look 20 again, just not old. So I exercise regularly, get injections a couple times a year, use quality skin care products, wash my face every night, color my hair—and now laser my face away. Since the jury is still out on the results, I will let you know what I think of it a couple days from now.

Who knows, maybe the big joke is that when I am 65, all I will have bought is a year off. Should I spend more time working on my spiritual and emotional health as a human being to feel comfortable with my looks? Sounds great and makes for a righteous lecture from gray-haired hippies and 20 year olds. I do know that when I look in the mirror on those especially good days, I like how that feels. So, at this point, society and all its shame around vanity can kiss my you-know-what. I’m going for peeling a layer of skin off of my face.

I’ll let you know how it turns out.
—Shavonne Blades

Leave a Reply