When I get old I wanna have wrinkles

When I get old I wanna have wrinkles
I wanna have so many wrinkles that it always kinda looks like I’m asleep
Especially on my four head, and lining the corner points of my lips,
To prove to this world that I have a strong smile and a crippled frown.
Because on the days that were sad, my smile took that as a challenge and lifted and pulled and pushed until it literally turned my frown upside down.
I wanna have cracked fingernails, and permanent little bits of dirt inside my skin, to prove that I know how to work.
I want hands that shake a little because they made a record of all the times I faced my fears and was scared to death but couldn't show it, so now that I have wrinkles they decide to make up for lost time.
I want my hair to be white, like whiter than the whitest snow…. White. Like if you saw me you would think I have been through every kind of stressful situation that a human could go though, kind of white
I want sore knees from the thousands of miles and decades that I had spent walking up and down the same old stairs
I want a bowed back from all that times I was crushed to the edge of my bed because I didn't have the answers and I needed to talk to Man who did.
I want tear ducts that are too tired to hold back the current anymore,
Anytime I hear my grandkid sing or see a movie that reminds me too well of friends long past or when I hear truths spoken sunshine reverberate my old wrinkly body
Although I'll probably still be embarrassed by those tears.
Now I know what your thinking… why would a young person talk about being old?
Well maybe its because old people spend far to much time talking about being young
But lastly I want clear eyes, ones like the sky after a rainstorm
I want eyes that prove that I lived, but that also are more pure when I leave, then when I got here.
All I know is… this is my time to be twenty five, but when my time to be eighty five comes along I will welcome it with arms wide, spirit strong and body trembling.

By David Swenson
  

My husband wrote this poem and I haven't been able to get the message out of my mind.

We live in a materialistic world where we are all searching for the fountain of youth. Whether we like to believe it or not, we do. Constant ads, magazines, shows, commercials, the internet---all showing and telling what is considered 'attractive', 'pretty', 'hot', or 'sexy' and the next greatest product to be youthful. I even work in the beauty industry. I went to Cosmetology school and now I am a makeup artist. I've spent years learning and teaching tips, tricks, secrets to getting that 'flawless skin' or how to hide or cover up parts of your face or to shade, shadow, highlight the best ways to make your face the most 'flattering.'

Being in the Beauty Industry for almost 6 years now, I've learned something. Most people are very uncomfortable in their own skin.

One day when I was working at the makeup counter a woman probably in her mid 50's came and sat in my chair and wanted me to try this new foundation on her. When I handed the mirror to her it was like I handed her a moldy rotten tomato... I could see the look of disgust in her face and look of dread in her eyes as she very unconfidently looked in the mirror. "Oh who is that wrinkly old woman in that mirror!?" She pretended to joke but I could clearly tell she wasn't.

I was also stunned when a mom and young daughter came up to the counter. The mom told me her daughter is starting to wear make up and would like some tips. "Fun!" I thought. I love the basics of make up that do little things to boost self confidence. I began our consultation matching her in a tinted moisturizer right for her and chit chatting here and there when the young girls mom pointed her finger, "Oh add more coverage to her cheeks, she gets a lot of redness" and "this color of lipstick to make her lips bigger."
I saw the girls eyes dart to the ground sheepishly... this session was in no way a self confidence boost. Her mom without knowing it, was training her that she needed makeup to be 'pretty.'

I heard all sorts of things at the makeup counter and as much as I would tell my clients how pretty they were, most would just sort of scoff and laugh to themselves because clearly they didn't believe me. My heart would break every time I heard these women tear themselves down or shy away when we would take a before and after picture or cringe at themselves in the mirror.

"I need a miracle product to go back in time." 
"Do you have a product to erase these wrinkles?"
"I need a product that will make my nose smaller."
"Make these pores on my nose go away."
"Oh no lipstick on my small lips, I hate drawing attention to them!" 
"I have such a round face, make my face more narrow."

It seems we have this expectation or image in our heads on what is acceptable. We always want what we don't have. I am here to tell you that I am the very exact same way and have been since I was a young teenager. How could I help these women if I am struggling with the same thing?

For years tears would stream down my face as I looked at the girl staring back at me in the mirror.
Have you ever gotten to a place so dark that you don't even recognize yourself anymore? That you are so disgusted with yourself that you've grown to hate yourself?

That happened to me.

I am a pretty small to average size framed girl standing at 5'3 and somewhere along the path of growing into a woman I thought meant becoming curvy. Well I am 23 years old now and by all means not curvy -- so of course I came to the conclusion that I needed a breast augmentation. Yes a boob job. How could I be considered sexy if I didn't look like these perfect models you see in Victorias Secret Magazines? So many people have plastic surgery, it's totally normal! ..Right?

It's been a battle in my head for years. Comparing myself to others. Working in the beauty industry I too was nitpicking at myself covering this and that, trying to change the shape of my face. Plastering this "face" on my face. I couldn't even leave the house with out makeup on! Not feeling good enough, pretty enough, or sexy enough.
But good, pretty and sexy enough for who??
The world I guess.

David came into my life at probably one of the darkest points of my struggle of self worth. I will be forever thankful for him for lifting me up and making me feel beautiful. When we got engaged then married I thought, "I can finally be free of this poison in my head!"

Well guess what? Just because you get married and have the most wonderful guy, it doesn't just go away. Nobody can make you love yourself. You have to learn to love and accept yourself.

The battle in my head deepened even more. How could I feel this way when I had this amazing guy that loved me for me and thought I was the most beautiful girl to him. Why couldn't I see it? Why couldn't I look in the mirror and see what he saw? A whole new battle raged in my head because I knew I was blessed. I had a healthy body and a great marriage. So I hated myself for feeling the way I felt because I knew better but I still felt that way. My fear deepened with if I can't like the way I am now, what will happen when I start having kids? Doesn't your body change??

Enough is enough. I am tired of crying. I am tired of feeling bad about myself. I am tired of consuming my thoughts with wishing I was like somebody else. I am tired of not allowing myself to be me. I do not want to feel this way when I have kids. How can I help my future daughters to not struggle with what I've struggled with? David and I woke up one morning and had a really awesome conversation that changed my whole perspective. Being members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints we are taught that we are children of God and satan will do everything he can to bring us down and make us forget of our worth. Satan is very very sneaky and he is very very good at what he does. He knows our weaknesses and is never going to stop trying to make us miserable. I recently read the book Screwtape Letters by C. S. Lewis. If you haven't read the book- go read it. It gives you a new perspective on how satan tries to tempt us and bring us down. Most of the time he isn't going to throw something right in front of your face. We know better and will turn away immediately. Most of the time he works by just trying to make you forget, or start with the small very innocent things that overtime eat at you. For example of comparing yourself to others-- We have the world practically at our fingertips now with our smartphones. We get so caught up with our social media and looking at other peoples lives seeing somebody else have something we don't and get attention for it. So then we feel bad about ourselves. And what's so funny is most of the time these 'people' are complete strangers. There is this facade that these people have the 'perfect' life. Well that's not real. We all struggle and we all have our challenges! Why do we waste so much of our time comparing our lives to a facade and highlights of somebody else's life when we could be spending that time enjoying the life we are given?

People say 'thoughts' are things. But I think 'patterns of thought' are things. Having one bad thought about yourself is being human. But having negative patterns of thought about yourself every time you look in a mirror will strangle your self esteem and leave you feeling angry and empty. Isn't that exactly where Satan wants you? It seems that he works with those patterns by starting with triggers (looking in the mirror) and just like a knit sweater he pulls on one string until he unravels your self image and leaves you in a heap on the ground.

So what do we do when we find ourselves unraveled?

I like an analogy that Earl Nightingale gives in his talk, "The Strangest Secret in the World." He says our mind is like a garden. It doesn't care what we plant in it. It will return what we plant, but it doesn't care what we plant. You can plant in your garden whatever you want. For example you can plant Nightshade which is a deadly poison or corn--Americas classic staple which can even be turned into fuel. You plant both seeds in your mind, water and take care of the garden and what will inevitably happen? The garden will return what you plant. It will grow poison in the same wonderful abundance as it will corn.

I know what you must be thinking. "But I already feel that way about myself--I already have poison growing in my garden."

The first thing that we have to do is recognize. Recognize what triggers those negative thoughts. (ex: comparing, looking in mirror, or focusing on every little fault) and then we have to break the pattern. This is the part where it gets fun because you take control of how you feel. For example when ever you are tempted or have a bad thought-- immediately stop and do something else. Like for me I will make a funny sound like lips rolls and it makes me laugh. Or I will sing a song to myself or recite a scripture. It makes me aware and changes my thought pattern. I try and focus on the positive about myself and what I do like. When I look in the mirror instead of cringing, looking at my self and saying, "look at that face, that's a good face." I have seen the world of difference as I have done this in my life. The key is creating your 'negative thought breakers' before you find yourself in that dark place.

Now when you start on this path of taking control of how you feel, you will slip and fall. And that is OK!!! So when you do, don't beat yourself up. That's exactly what satan would want, and you don't need to listen to him anymore. Just start from where you are whether that's a half unraveled sweater or a heap on the ground. Remember that you have someone that knows exactly how you feel. Not only all or most of the women on the planet, but your Savior too. And He's rooting for you no matter where you are starting.

David and I were comparing this struggle that a lot of girls have with self worth to the very real struggle that a lot of guys have to pornography. Both are a mental battle and both destroy. Girls and guys are just wired differently so we are tempted differently but with the same outcome of destroying. Where a guy may be tempted with looking at a pornographic image and lusting after it, I on the other hand would be like "oh man look at her body, I don't look like that... do I need to look like that?" And then feeling like I have to change myself to be accepted. This war that girls and guys are battling is very real and needs to be acknowledged.

What is beauty? What is beautiful?

Being YOU is beautiful. be-you-tiful.

Nobody in this world is you. You think your own thoughts and make your own decisions. You are you and that is truly beautiful. The most 'flattering' version of you is you.

Everybody is different. There is no 'right' way to be or look. You do not need to cut, tuck, or lift your body to be accepted. I'm not preaching out against plastic surgery obviously because I understand it has its place but the point is it's your choice and you shouldn't feel pressured to change yourself just to 'fit in'. Bodies are incredible and yours is perfect the way it came! I mean you have your very own body how cool is that?! Embrace yourself and find confidence in you. Find confidence in your talents, hobbies and interests. Spend your time appreciating what you do have. Count your blessings and I promise you will find happiness there because that's what has helped me. When you learn to love yourself you can love others more fully. Yes I work in the beauty industry but I have chosen not to work in it as much because I didn't have the right perspective and need some time to reevaluate. I believe there should be balance in all things. I will always love makeup and makeup can be a lot of fun! But that's what makeup should be--fun, not something you have to depend on to leave the house or depend on to 'change' yourself. Remember you are you, and that is beautiful.

Aging is apart of life. And with age comes experience and hopefully wisdom. Wrinkles are a sign of a life, a sign that you lived! I want my wrinkles to prove that on hard days I was able to turn my frowns into smiles. I want clear eyes that show I have self confidence and love myself the way I am. I want hands that prove I know how to work. I want my white hair to show I made it through all the stressful times. I want shaky knees from playing with my kids and going on adventures with my family. I want a bowed back from all the many times I didn't have the answers and knelt at the edge of my bed talking God who does. I want my body to be proof that I lived a full life.

So when I get old, I wanna have wrinkles.


2 comments

  1. Wow. There are so many things I want to say but I feel like it won't do it justice. This is amazing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well thank you so much for reading!! xoxo

      Delete

© The Swenson Series
Maira Gall