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What the lines on your face really say about you

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Your face tells your story, so don't cover it up.

I’ll be straight with you — when I go somewhere for the first time (like my kids’ new school, or a book club with new friends), I try to look my best. And by “try to look my best,” I mean I freak out about my clothes and hair and social awkwardness, but most of all, I obsess about that wrinkle carving a permanent space in between my eyes.

I mean, that’s not a cool place to have a wrinkle. That’s the kind of place where Nobel laureates and college professors and angry PE teachers get wrinkles, and those wrinkles only look distinguished on two-thirds of this particular population. Just imagine how it looks on a work-from-home mom of five whose primary hobby is kicking things. Not great, y’all. 

And yet it’s there, despite all my efforts to stamp out my telltale stress-wrinkle. So sometimes, in a fit of pathetic desperation, I try and cover it with makeup.

Spoiler alert: This never works, and the strategic placement of the bridge of my enormous glasses directly beneath my stress-wrinkle manages to draw attention both to the wrinkle itself and to the poorly executed attempt to conceal it.

#WINNING, right?!

Yeah, not so much. Quite apparently “cake-up” is one of the “11 things that are making people less attractive” (kudos to Healthy Way for compiling a list to make you feel better in the new year, huh?). The list includes some other spot-on tips, but much like whack-a-mole, you never quite know what’s about to pop up at you. Behold Exhibit A:

One study found that hungry men perceived women with higher body weights as being more attractive. Once those men had something to eat and no longer reported being hungry, they no longer reported finding those same women quite as attractive.

I … don’t even know what to do with this. Note to menfolk: women are not intended for human consumption. For reference, see Donner Party, The. (PS: Get a hamburger, weirdos.)

However, some of these tips are pretty helpful, particularly when taken as a whole rather than in pieces. Many of them distinctly point out ways both men and women try and present themselves as different from who they really are as being unattractive and off-putting. And you know what? I totally understand why.

Trying to conceal my forehead wrinkle might be stupidly vain, but it’s also just stupid. The truth is that I earned that dang wrinkle, one sleepless night at a time. I carved that line deeper into my head every time I sat awake with a feverish child, every panic-stricken moment when I tried to stanch the flow of blood or checked nervously for a concussion. I carved it deeper when I disciplined my kids too harshly and when I didn’t discipline them at all for fear of being too harsh. I carved it deeper when they cried because their friends were being mean, and deeper still when they cried because they had been mean themselves. I carved that line into my own head through years of loving my family so hard that it hurts.

Wrinkles are a map. They tell a story on our faces of who we are, what we’ve faced, and where we’re going. Sometimes our past is marked in laughter, sometimes in tears. More often it’s marked in both. I’ve got a laugh-line wrinkle on my left cheek that’s starting to threaten my stress-wrinkle for the title of “leading crevasse feature in this face.” I want to be more invested in seeing which is the winner than I am in covering them both up and trying to paint over the story they tell.

It’s my face, and it should be allowed to tell my story. It’s not the prettiest story, but it’s mine. It’s the story my children have written into the fiber of my being and the lines on my face, and I wouldn’t give that up for the world — no matter how attractive or unattractive it might be.

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