When I used to think that Botox was a cure-all for aging.
A few weeks ago I had the unpleasant experience of becoming the target of an angry team of women, all of whom felt terribly upset because of what I had written about wrinkles. Their anger specifically stemmed from a few comments that I wrote in response to their comments on a skin care blog. From time to time I’ve been known to skim through the different categories on this blog, and respond to the plethora of issues they write about—those issues range anywhere from opinions about skin care products to treatments and anti-aging formulas. However, this time I came across a disturbing comment written by a woman who loathed the way she looked. She wrote that she was only 39 years old, but had developed wrinkles pretty much everywhere. She moaned about not having enough money for a face-lift so in the meantime she chose to hide from the public—she would go off to work in the mornings and upon returning home she would remain there most of the time. She was saving for her surgery, but until then this was her life.
That wasn’t the end of it though, because then I read the comments written by some of the other women who responded to this woman’s plight. All of them, without exception, empathized with the way she felt about herself, and not one of the comments gave her a different perspective, or a little bit of hope. Therefore, I wrote about my own discovery regarding wrinkles. There was a short back and forth exchange where I got the chance to expand and write how I used to think that Botox was the cure-all, that one little prick got rid of the lines, and I was able to feel happy with my appearance one more time. I wrote how I too could not see beyond those lines, that I was not willing to accept the changes either. However, the tone of my remarks changed when I wrote that these days I have learned to age with a little bit of grace, that I no longer chase after the youthful appearance or frequent the dermatologist’s office. I said that I think that, as a society, we have become much too preoccupied with chasing after our youth, to such an extent that we have rewritten or reinvented the meaning of beauty in the 21st century.
The barrage of comments that I received after-the-fact was overwhelming. The women claimed that I was out of my mind, “going against the grain” as one of them wrote, because nobody on this site expressed such unconventional thinking. They said that there was no room on this type of blog for those who could not understand their issues etc., that my view was an ideal that could never be accepted by most women, because no one really wants to look old! I read my comments over again to see whether I had written anything of that nature, but I didn’t—not once did I infer that I actually looked old, or that I could not wait to look old etc. Further, I encouraged one of them to read my book: The Diary of a Wrinkle—the story of a woman who refused to accept her withering looks. That suggestion pretty much put the last nail in my coffin. They accused me of spamming the site and got me kicked off immediately. I never had any intention to spam, in fact, I wrote comments on this blog months after I had my own blog, and never once mentioned the fact that I was the author of a blog or a book on this very subject matter. I mentioned the book in passing to this specific group of women, who then decided to misinterpret my ideas, taking everything that I had to say out of context—but they got the last word and made sure to keep me quiet.
When I realized that I was blocked from the site, all I could do was laugh; isn’t it always the case that people who feel threatened by ideas do everything possible to shut you out, and it was no different this time around. But why would they feel threatened by a positive remark I wondered? Why were my remarks looked at with such contempt? I’m really not sure of the answer, and all I can do is guess; perhaps the very idea of wrinkles and beauty, together, is so outrageous—so out there—that they could not conceive it or anything else that I had to say on this very subject. Could it be that they felt totally vulnerable with the idea that my point of view could prevail one of these days, and even become the norm, that wrinkles were nothing to worry about. Did this inadvertently scare them? After all, if we were all to accept wrinkles, and still see beauty even after we have aged, then they would be forced to think along the same lines and accept their wrinkles, and obviously this idea was much too extreme at this time.
I have no clue who this woman is but she is absolutely beautiful!
I don’t really care about losing access to that site, there are plenty of others out there, and I don’t miss reading all those terrible comments either. If this is how they want to live their lives then fine, but I am so relieved that I was never as bad, or as obsessed, as they appear to be, and that I continue to live my life seeing beauty in all that others might seem to overlook.