Slow Learner

I rolled my eyes in bitter disgust at my reflection in the rearview mirror. I was, as many women do, taking in one final overview before heading out.

And let me tell you that yesterday’s “overview” was not so bright. In fact, if ever there were a day to Photoshop one’s own face… this was it.

With one blemish on it’s way out but still lingering over the threshold of my cheek and a brand-spanking-new shiny one announcing it’s rude and unwelcome arrival, I was not in the greatest of moods.

Add to those two little dermatological gems the half-inch evidence mark of what is now being referred to as the “curling iron incident” from two days prior and yes… I was disgusted.

Really? I am 37 years old. I am starting to get laugh lines and on occasion, a few grey hairs at my temples. I SHOULD NOT still be getting pimples and I most certainly SHOULD know how to handle a searing-hot hair implement by now. In fact, shouldn’t there be a law that zits and wrinkles NOT be permitted to occupy the same space? I know I’ve brought up that issue before! UGH.

Strolling down the center aisle of the local drug store I spotted a former classmate I’ve not seen in at least 18 years. I immediately became entranced by a bin of $4 DVDs — sifting through them with great care and reviewing the plot summaries with unbelievable laser-like focus.

Once he passed by I moved down the aisle in search of what I’d come for. “THAT was close!” I said to myself and pressed on. “Hopefully I can slip out of here unnoticed and spend the remainder of the day locked up safely in the house, praying for the pimple cream and neosporin to work their medicinal magic.”

On my way to check out, a woman about my age caught my attention. The first thing I noticed about her was her height. (Standing at a whopping 5’2″ I am intrigued by any female over 5’7″) The second thing I noticed was the manner in which she was holding her head up high as though searching the store for her spouse or child.

It wasn’t until I got much closer that I noticed the skin grafts. They covered her entire face. I was quick to look away as I did not want to stare, but as I turned away I felt heat spreading up through my neck and cheeks as I flushed at my own ridiculous vanity.

“Reality check girl.” My inner voice then said to me. How dare you be so self-absorbed and obsessed with a few stupid temporary blemishes that no one would even care enough to notice when it could—in reality—be so much more than that!

I’ve shared posts similar to this one in the past… but obviously I am a slow learner. I’ll likely never know her story or her name, but hopefully the image of her standing tall, head held high and fearlessly facing the world around her is one not soon to be forgotten.

“Youthful beauty fades with time, but, with cultivation, inner beauty grows richer.”


18 thoughts on “Slow Learner

  1. We all do it. The marketing world is “HOT” on it! We baby-boomers will be the targeted audience. LOOK YOUNGER with this face cream. GET RID OF WRINKLES with this miracle potion! You KNOW you don’t want people to know you are actually turning 64 so BUY BUY BUY! …NO NO NO!!!
    I DO want to look my best…but my 64 year old best. That includes sagging upper arms, sagging neck and limited hearing, seeing. Yes, I am falling apart but I will try and do it graciously.

    • Donald Miller says:

      I was thinking I might look forward to the day when they can do a brain transplant. You know, take my brain and put it in younger, better-looking body. Then I realized, I’d still have the same brain. 😦

  2. Remember to let your inner beauty shine out because you are BEAUTIFUL girl:) I do not care for acne or a stray chin whisker either, but there are more important things to be doing like LIVING LIFE!!! Happy Monday!

  3. Donald Miller says:

    Good post.

    It never gets better, kiddo. You’re in your prime right now. Enjoy it while it lasts.

    Guys can, on rare occasions, get better looking as they get older (Anthony Quinn, for instance) but I’ve never seen a woman do that. Even most of the guys look like the Crypt Keeper around 70 (Steve Tyler)–and many many more. What’s most distressing, since I’ve never been a JT is that I wonder just how Crypt Keeperish I’m appearing to the outside world.

    No, I don’t want to know. I’m off to hide in the closet.

  4. kalisisrising says:

    We are all always learning. Two steps forward, one step back. I figure that’s about as much as I can ask of myself each day – to end it better than I started. Mostly it happens and it feels good when there’s a long string of them all together, but then I falter and get a good reality check like you are describing and I am reminded of the better path to choose. Being kind to oneself when that happens is one of the greatest gifts we can give or receive.

  5. Donald Miller says:

    Well-written and delightful, as usual. I’m eagerly awaiting the next installment from the only weblog I actually follow. Others I might keep track of; this one I follow.

  6. Donald Miller says:

    Hi Joanna, I’m kicking around an idea and I’d like to get your opinion on it, to see if you are interested in the idea. I was thinking what if I start up a weekly magazine where nice people could place their stories and give each other support and a larger readership through a strategic alliance.

    Here’s the link.

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