Packing My Bags

I inherited droopy skin over my brow bone from my mother. She and I have the same gravity targets: brow bone, jaw bone, and belly.

Flashes of memory from childhood, looking at her reflected face in her table-top, lit vanity mirror as she applied her makeup, I was mesmerized at how she painted that brow bone various shades to diminish the puffiness, how she created the illusion of uplifted brow bone skin and larger eyes (her eyes are narrow, almost slits): deep colors in the skin folds above the upper eyelid and pale powder under the eyebrow.

Duplicating that process in my late twenties, when the brow sag started, I wasn’t as successful at creating the illusion. My mother has hazel eyes, mostly grey-green, shot through with speckles of emerald. Mine are chocolate brown. The glitter in her eye shadow crystallized those sparks in her hazel. Mine, not so much.

I’ve never been one for makeup. In the 80s, a restaurant manager fired me for refusing to wear any. I could say I was making a statement about authenticity, but it’s more likely ignorance and laziness.

I’m pleased with my eye cream eyelift. Practically speaking, I appreciate money spent well (eye cream’s only about 50 bucks). But on a deeper level, I’m happy to lose the puffy eyes that paint the picture of haggardness in the mirror and to others.

The truth: our story is in our faces. If we look gravity-ravaged, people treat us with a different kind of deference, slightly pitying or patient, than if we look alert and youthful. Bright eyes, framed in taut skin, reflect the vitality that bursts forth from within. That life energy is no illusion. It’s simply masked by gravity’s heavy hand.

Lucky me, I also inherited my mom’s optimism–mostly. She would be tickled to know that I’m finally taking care of my face. I like to think that even through her misty, mostly clouded over eyes now, she looks into my eyes and inwardly smiles.




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