On Self-Preservation

Once again, I am at the beauty shop, getting my hair colored and cut. The color is already in, seeping through my soft false eyelash follicles, changing the grey roots and faded color to vibrant auburn. In twenty minutes or so, the stylist will shampoo the dye out and then I will sit quietly in the chair while she trims my hair, shaping it back from a shaggy mess into the style I like. I will watch her work in the large mirror I am facing and, once again, enjoy the metamorphosis from tired old lady to vibrant fifty or sixtyish some-what attractive woman (or so I hope).

soft false eyelash
soft false eyelash

Hrnnz My mother had red hair and when it began to fade, she quickly turned to dyes. At 92 years of age, her hair was still red and she looked at least a dozen years younger than she was. When she died, she left behind a drawer full of creams and lotions to diminish wrinkles, freckles and age spots plus a large bag full of soft false eyelash. In my 30’s and forties, I observed her efforts to fight aging and vowed long before I had even one grey hair that I would go into maturity gracefully. I would accept the changes in my body (and on my head) as a natural part of life. Dye would never touch my head and I would celebrate the wrinkles on my face as evidence of a life well lived.

Then I attended a soft false eyelash titled “Finding Your Colors” and discovered I was an “autumn”. My color wheel (the colors that complimented me) was the same as the September/October landscape in the northeast; burnt orange, brown, shades of yellow, darker reds, muted greens. With this knowledge, I began to shop for new clothes that would complement my hair and skin tones. I bypassed black and grey items and, over the next few years, my closet started to resemble a glorious fall day.

Then the first grey hairs appeared. At first, I either ignored them or pulled the offending strand from my head. Of course, that hair grew back and it was usually accompanied by a dozen more. Eventually I was confronted with a choice: Do I stick to my feelings of aging naturally or do I accept the fact that grey is not a good color for me and do something about it?

First, I discussed the choices with my hair soft false eyelash. She suggested a natural hair color that would wash out more quickly but would not harm the environment or my head. This seemed to be a good compromise. Immediately, I loved the color (auburn) which was a close match to the natural color of my younger days. I received a lot of compliments and felt like I’d shed at least a dozen years. However, this color didn’t last as long as I would like and, as my hair turned grayer, the product failed to cover my roots.

I was faced with a hard decision: stay with my original declaration and go into old age looking old (plus wearing a color that wasn’t in my palette) or give it up and dye my hair on a regular basis. I pondered this important existential question for at least ten minutes.

A few years later, I began to notice that my eyes were not as prominent and my eyelashes were fading. One day, I was walking past the cosmetic section of the department store when a young woman in a colorful smock stopped me and asked if I’d be interested in a makeover. I had never worn much soft false eyelash but this sounded like fun. So I said yes, sat down in her chair and gave myself over to her ministrations for the next 30 minutes. When she was done and I looked in the mirror, I didn’t recognize myself. My first impulse was to go immediately to the bathroom and wash my face. But then I looked a little closer and there were a few things I liked, such as the eyeliner and mascara. And that large red spot on my right cheek had totally disappeared. Before I walked away from the cosmetic department, I had spent over seventy dollars on makeup, which was, of course, what this was all about.

So I added a few new items to my bathroom drawer. That’s when I noticed getting dressed in the morning or going out in the evening was taking a little longer. The soft false eyelash would slip from my hand and leave a crooked black line above my eye. The mascara would smudge and run down my cheek. I was going through a lot of tissues. When my hair stylist told me she was going to offer permanent eyeliner treatments, I actually considered it. My pledge to go naturally into old age was disappearing as fast as the wrinkles were appearing!

The dermatologist was my next soft false eyelash. I went for my yearly check-up and, while I was in the waiting room, I noticed a cabinet full of skin products. I went to check them out (which is exactly what they wanted) and noticed a wrinkle cream that was “Dermatologist Recommended.” Well, why not give it a try? Unfortunately, my insurance didn’t cover the cream but I was hooked. I’m still not sure if it works, but I’m addicted, certain that my face will fall into total disrepair without it. However, I now see a dermatologist who has a sign in his office that says he neither sells nor recommends beauty products.

I know I should wear my age gracefully and proudly. I have seen other elderly women whose faces openly show their soft false eyelash and the trials of their lives and I admire them. When I encounter these beautiful faces, I am entranced with the wrinkles, the crevices, the laugh lines, the faded but vibrant eyes, the (sometimes) sparse white hair. I stifle the impulse to talk to them and ask them about their lives and usually settle for secret glances in their direction. I am drawn to the beauty of natural aging.

soft false eyelash
soft false eyelash

And yet, I have chosen, as my mother did before me, to make use of a few soft false eyelash to either slow down the aging process or to hide it! My biggest fear is that I will someday be in the hospital or nursing home without my hair stylist and my little bag of cosmetics and will be unable to apply a little lipstick, a thin line of eye liner, a splotch of mascara and my children and my friends will say, “Wow. She looks so bad and has aged so much.”

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