Why, oh, why is it so important for us to alter the appearance of our faces? The creams, the tucks, the lifts, the injections, the Instagram photo editing. The obsession with selfies. The distaste with posing for a photo unless we “look just right”. The “I’ve gotta go put my face on.”
Even if we don’t choose to wear makeup or obsess with just the right product, it’s just too easy to be caught up in what’s appropriate and acceptable, as though our faces were part of our uniform for work, for the gym, for everywhere. At some level I wonder if the vast majority of us considers our face to be our ticket to success or failure, to acceptability or rejection, to worthiness or worthlessness, to being loved or being condemned and pushed aside.
I think that our faces get bullied by the media and by each other — and especially, ultimately, by ourselves. So much pressure to look like what we don’t look like.
What’s saddest to me is the push to look younger, as though a face affected by gravity, loss and excess over decades is measured as less. As less than desirable. As undesirable. So, one way or another, we either try to look young and perky or let ourselves be our natural self and be plagued with nagging feelings of being unkempt or “less than”.
It’s like we’ve been programmed almost from conception to absorb and accept at some level a preconceived notion of physical acceptability, physical admirability and physical adoration. And we want it. Even if we scream that we don’t. We want it because we want to be loved and connected with others. We want to be accepted for ourselves. More than anything, we want to be accepted.
I do believe that, more often than not, all this extra attention we put on our superficial, outward appearance is done with the purpose of hiding ourselves. On the whole, we believe we are not enough. We are too ugly — too undesirable — if we present ourselves just as we are.
That all said, I’m going to go now and have a conversation with myself in the mirror and see if we can’t learn to get along a little better.