The first time I noticed the wrinkle was in a selfie. I was home for a long weekend in March to see family and snapped a picture while at dinner with both sisters. It was the first time the three of us were together in almost two years.
“Wait what is that!? What’s wrong with my face??” We snapped several more, but I couldn’t disguise my newfound flaw.
This was a month or so before I called the dermatologist to schedule an appointment for a bump on my leg. It had been bugging me for a long time, and with a tropical vacation coming up in just a few weeks, I was tired of looking at it.
This vacation was the big push Nick and I needed to start working out. We began going to the gym three days a week, and I noticed results for the first time almost two months later while shopping for my birthday. I was trying on styles I normally didn’t feel good in and was surprised at the outcome. I went home excited! It really was working...
Around the same time as my shopping excursion, I was invited to join an Instagram pod where a group of users support one another by commenting on each other’s posts. It was a group of fashion bloggers, image consultants, and boutique owners, and I was immediately intimidated. These Instagram accounts were gorgeous! My IG was full of bathroom selfies and #ootd (outfit of the day) posts. I tried to remind myself what the big picture was, but with every post I saw from the group, my confidence waned. How could I possibly keep up?
My selfie-gone-wrong experience from dinner was brought up with a co-worker when she mentioned her plans to get botox. I was shocked. My co-worker is in her early 30’s and drop-dead gorgeous. She showed me a picture and described how uncomfortable she felt. She said she’d feel a lot better if she could get the wrinkles taken care of.
Fascinated, I realized she was referring to the very same area of her forehead I previously noticed in the selfie from dinner...was there something we had in common? Something we were doing wrong?
Just a few weeks before vacation, I went to my scheduled appointment with the dermatologist to get information about the bump on my leg. The appointment ended with the doctor telling me the bump was extremely common and there was nothing to be done about it. If they removed the bump, the scar would likely be more obvious than the bump itself. If they shaved it off, it would likely grow back.
“Ok sssooo, what are my options?”
“You’ll just have to leave it alone. There’s nothing you can do about it.”
“Ever? There’s nothing you can do to remove it???”
“Nope, there’s nothing to be done.”
What?????? I have to live with this bump forever??? That didn’t seem fair. Seriously, there had to be some type of technology available. I was pissed.
Botox, untreatable bumps, and perfectly curated Instagram accounts. It was beginning to feel like a rat race. Even the reward of shopping for my new body started to feel unfulfilling. I had noticed the good things the first time around but began to grow dissatisfied with the areas of my body that weren’t shaping up as quickly (the cellulite on my upper thighs still showed up no matter what size I was in). Why couldn’t I get it right??
I started obsessing about having the perfect body for my trip. I was tanning, working out consistently, and eating well. That is, until my dermatologist mentioned my tanning on the way out the door...
“Oh, you’re using a tanning bed?? You need to stop that immediately. In many countries it’s actually illegal because of the risk for skin cancer. Here’s a pamphlet.”
I laughed it off but left livid. There goes $90.00 for telling me there’s absolutely NOTHING you can do about the odd bump on my leg and informing me how the ONE thing I can do to disguise it is going to give me CANCER before I turn 30. THANKS.
I was surprised by how angry I was. Why was this such a big deal? Has anyone ever said anything about the bump on my leg? Would my tiny Instagram following of 250 people care if I was tan in the pictures from my trip? Would my cellulite scare my husband away?
My perfectionist nature was taking over. If I was going on a tropical vacay, I was going to do it right. I was going to be perfectly fit, perfectly tan, and perfectly dressed for all occasions on the trip. I was going to have the perfect IG account and finally work up the guts to share a post with the group.
The vacation was beginning to sound like a lot of work...man, wouldn’t life just be easier if I didn’t have to worry about all of this? If I didn’t have to be perfect?
The day my co-worker and I talked about our forehead wrinkles was eye-opening for me. I realized it was something I never would have noticed on her. So why was I so concerned about it ruining my face?
We as women have a choice. We can choose the rat race, or we can choose contentment. We can choose to accept and enjoy our bodies as they are, or we can choose to keep striving, keep correcting, and keep fixing.
What if you never “arrive”? What if you never get to the perfectly sculpted, perfectly tanned, perfectly wrinkle-free version of yourself?
The next time you’re obsessing over a wrinkle on your face or a flaw that no one would ever notice but you...I challenge you to do a gratitude flip (as my virtual mentor Hilary Rushford would say).
Gratitude that you’re healthy and able to move, live, and breathe in the first place.
Gratitude that the stretch marks around your waistline are proof you gave birth to two beautiful babies.
Gratitude that your flaws invite others to feel more comfortable around you...because they have flaws too.
Gratitude that you’re a one-of-a-kind masterpiece and there’s no one else like you in this whole world.
I want to enjoy this body, this size, this tool I’ve been given NOW, instead of wishing I was someone else. I want to radiate joy, instead of constantly comparing. And I want to embrace who God has made me to be, even as I age and become more and more wrinkled.
This doesn’t mean I don’t work hard, eat healthy, and care for my body. Because that’s being a good steward.
It means I don’t obsess, and I don’t let constant striving steal my joy.
(For the record, I don’t frown on botox at all. In fact, I don’t see how it’s much different from wearing makeup.)
I invite you to look carefully within and make sure you aren’t on the rat race too.
Let’s keep each other accountable to enjoy how we’ve been made, uniquely and full of flaws.
I’d love to hear the one or two things you’ve always loved about your face or shape in the comments below. When you get in a rut and hate everything about yourself, remember these one or two things.
It’s not conceited; it’s a way to practice gratitude.
Let’s be a community of women who are confident and joyful with who we are while working to stay healthy for those we love.
P.S. This is a topic I am SUPER curious to hear from you about. How do you feel about women looking for ways to constantly improve, change, or “fix” themselves?