I Feel Old & Haggard & It's Not OK

Friday, May 19, 2017

Warning: This is a post all about vanity & aging. Please be kind - & please also tell me I'm not the only struggling with this. Please? I hope?

I used to like the way I looked, for the most part. I used to get compliments on the shape of my eyebrows & the natural wave of my hair & the precision of my signature winged eyeliner. Not every day was a great day, of course, & I certainly didn't feel beautiful every day or even most days, but I  felt like I was trying, & I usually felt like I was at least sort of succeeding. Overall, I used to feel good about the way I looked, even when I didn't.

Until I didn't.

It happened slowly, when I wasn't paying attention - & probably because I wasn't paying attention. I like to think I still take care of myself, but do I? Only sort of. Lately, it seems like I've been putting in the bare minimum - the same minimalist routine, the same makeup look, the same sense of style, the same haircut. But I'm getting older, & my face & my body & even my hair are all changing, & what used to suffice just doesn't anymore. Today, I realized that I can't remember the last time I got a compliment on my eyebrows, which are now thinning, or anything related to my hair.

Oh God, my hair. I haven't colored it in months, haven't had it cut since October. It's frazzled & greying. It's become a strange, brassy blonde color that doesn't flatter me. It's too long, too tangled, too damaged. It's a little bit humiliating, truth be told, but I tend to tell myself, "Hey, it's long! Long hair is always pretty!" - but dude, not when it's gross.

And then there's makeup. The only thing I know how to do, makeup-wise, is my signature winged eyeliner - & even that seems to be suffering these days. At 32, am I too old for it? Every time I try to do a more subtle look, I end up looking like I have a black eye. And while I know that YouTube is full of tutorial videos, they all bore me to death; I can't sit still long enough to learn a damn thing.

There's also my sense of style, my forever-black-and-white style, literally. The other day, I tried on an adorable yellow floral number from Old Navy, & it looked smashing. I knew it did. So cute! But I also knew I would never wear it. It felt too form-fitting, showed too much skin, was too bright a color. It went back on the rack, & while I was proud of myself for not wasting my money on a style I knew I wouldn't wear, it also left me a little disappointed in myself. Have I become that boring?

I guess that when it comes to my looks, it just feels obvious to me that I'm aging, & I haven't yet figured out how to properly make the transition from naturally young & nubile (ew, j/k) to whatever it is that mature women do to keep themselves looking good. As a result, I just feel very gross & in-between, hoping that eventually, things fall into place.

But that's not how it works is it? If I want to look better, I'm gonna have to work for it. It's not like I'm suddenly going to become young again, with elastic skin & shiny hair & a body for crop tops (OK, I never had that). As we age, looking good becomes harder, not easier - even if we do become more comfortable with our natural looks (& I have).

I don't know where to start, though. I got a haircut today, one I scheduled at the very last minute, because I felt like I couldn't bear my stringy, split-end-ridden hair for another hour (literally, I went in 45 minutes after I called). The stylist, who was young & gorgeous with a head full of curls, was really nice & helpful - but she also made clear to me that, yes, my hair is very damaged, & the color is super weird, & OMG, I need help. She gave me a great cut - but I still left feeling sort of awful.

So now what? I just don't even know what to do, but I know that I don't want to go into the rest of my 30s feeling like I'm destined to just get old & look sad. So many older women - far older than me - look gorgeous & age with grace, & I want to learn how to be one of them. But where do I start? No, really, where do I start? Can you help? Because I don't know how to do this.

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