I confess that for the past few years I’ve fallen into the abyss of vanity and self-doubt the likes of which I hadn’t experienced since the days I believed in the transformative power of blue eye shadow.
Now, as then, I’ve taken to scrutinizing my face in the magnifying mirror. Back then, I worried over every blackhead and incipient pimple; now, I can’t see my wrinkles and age spots without magnification, but the sense of hopelessness is the same: I’d never achieve the airbrushed ideal of beauty as advertised — or even the relative beauty of my past youth. The discomforts of adolescence flooded back. I’d just forgotten.
Whether I forgot due to the memory loss that accompanies aging or because to recall the exquisite confusion of puberty is too painful is up for debate. But watching my confidence fade along with my hair color is reminiscent of the insecurity and vanity that crested with the surging hormones and bulging body parts of adolescence. And I do remember — with more clarity than I care for — that coping with sexual arousal and groping with inexperience wasn’t always fun. [Read More…]