Sometimes happiness comes under the most unexpected of circumstances.

Mirror, Mirror, on the Wall, Who’s the Fairest One of All?

Posted: July 2nd, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: happiness | Tags: , , , | 16 Comments »

My parents performing a magic potion ceremony with the kids last summer

Today I am going to take on a delicate issue…aging.  As is often the case, when my ex and I broke up, he started dating younger women (in their 20’s).  I made the mistake of asking him what the attraction was (it should have been obvious, no?) and he said “young flesh.”  While I have done a fairly good job of not taking his actions personally, I have to admit that this response hit a little too close to home for my taste.  I may be attractive enough to get dates on a regular basis, but I can’t deny that my skin tone isn’t what it used to be.  When I look in the mirror, I don’t always love what I see.  New lines and dark spots emerging, stray gray hairs popping up, my breasts heading south (damn that breast-feeding), cellulite forming despite the daily exercise.

In crunchy granola Northampton, aging naturally is more or less admired, even if it is a town dominated by young co-eds.  In California, however, I am noticing that the women don’t take it lying down.  Maybe it’s Hollywood’s influence.  Everyone wants to look like a movie star, and let’s face it, they have plastic surgery and airbrushing to help them out.  Botox seems to be a woman’s best friend, even if it may make her incapable of feeling deep emotions (maybe that comes in handy when the emotion you are feeling is grief over your lost youth).  As my sister and I have noted, we are at a distinct disadvantage with our 40-something girlfriends here because we just aren’t willing to go the medical route to eternal youth.  So, we look older than our peers.

However, that doesn’t prevent us from trying other unorthodox methods of beautification.  Last night, my sister excitedly announced that we were going to give each other facials with a special product line that had just arrived to her in the mail.  Her 10-year-old daughter perked up when she heard this and asked if she and her friend could join us.  My sister said, Honey these are very expensive products, so we are only going to use them on old skin.  C’mon Molly, follow me.  Did I mention that she is my younger sister?

With an invitation like that, I couldn’t help but bound up the stairs enthusiastically to get everything ready.  There are powders, bottles, misters, and special energetically charged water.  She has me measure and mix the ingredients while she reads the instructions, as you mix the ingredients say to yourself, bu-bu-bu… and she dissolves into convulsions of laughter.  Now my family comes from a different part of California culture, the part that believes in the almighty power of positive thinking.  They attend a “church” in San Jose called the Center for Spiritual Living whose motto is “Change your thinking, change your life.”  So it just takes me a few choked syllables from my sister to realize what we are doing.  We aren’t just mixing skin care products.  We are making magic potions, rife with special incantations.  As we prepare the gel, we say, build more collagen, build more elastin.  As we apply it on our faces, we say, my skin is silky smooth.  Before misting our faces with a different product, we have to tap the bottle twelve times in the palm of our hand, make a quarter turn, tap it another twelve times and infuse it with our “intentions.”  And they don’t just mean intentions like to look as young as my ex’s girlfriend.  They mean life goals, what we want to attract into our lives.

It hits me that I feel like I am in one of the Harry Potter novels that my son has me reading every day.  My mother, ironically, is down in Los Angeles at the Agape Church, taking a course on rituals and ceremonies, while my sister and I are performing a sort of ceremony of our own.  The revitalization of our skin coupled with the setting of life intentions.  Well, today I feel a good decade younger, mainly because of the endorphin rush provided by all the laughter that my sister and I exchanged.

This morning I am back at my parents’ house watching the end of the first Harry Potter movie with Jonah and we get to my favorite part, the mirror of Erised, which was so touching in the book.  The mirror has the magical power to show the observer his deepest desires.  Ron sees himself as the Quidditch team captain and Harry sees his parents alive.  It occurs to me that that was what my sister and I were doing last night, looking into the mirror with our incantations and intentions and seeing ourselves magically transformed into young, wrinkle-free beauties.  Ah, but Dumbledore, the most powerful of all wizards, makes a very insightful point.  He says that the happiest person in the world looks into the mirror and sees nothing but himself, exactly how he is.  That’s when I realize the true fountain of youth and the key to all happiness…self-acceptance.

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16 Comments on “Mirror, Mirror, on the Wall, Who’s the Fairest One of All?”

  1. 1 kris said at 11:56 am on July 2nd, 2010:

    Self-acceptance? Is way powerful magic.

    And I am 44.

    My lines and imperfections? I have earned them all. They are part of all that goes into making me the person I am.

    Love that. Nothing to fix.

  2. 2 gail said at 1:08 pm on July 2nd, 2010:

    I may not be a drop dead beauty, and there is grey in my hair, but I know where the beauty lies. I have come to terms with my thoughs and the skin that has lost the glow of youth. As for the grey hairs…those are my battle scars, I earned those babies through blood sweat and tears. I chose to wear them with pride!

  3. 3 Laura Furey said at 1:11 pm on July 2nd, 2010:

    Your conclusion is the true magic. And, I agree with Kris. I may feel a bit melancholy as I look in the mirror but (for the most part) I choose to embrace the patina of age.

  4. 4 Michael Whitehouse said at 2:21 pm on July 2nd, 2010:

    I have dated women who were older and younger than I, and I must say that I find plenty of older women very attractive. The important thing is not creams and potions, but attitude. Those who fear aging show it and it is not attractive. Those who can age with calm grace can be stunning to me well into their 60s. As is often the case, the most productive thing you can do about it is not worry about it.

  5. 5 Molly said at 2:46 pm on July 2nd, 2010:

    I agree with you Michael that attitude can make all the difference. My mom is 70 and she is still a babe for her age.

  6. 6 Molly said at 2:48 pm on July 2nd, 2010:

    Thanks Laura and, like you, I do believe I have gotten more beautiful with age. It’s really just those niggling details. But I am so much more comfortable in my own skin and that makes me a lot more attractive.

  7. 7 Molly said at 2:49 pm on July 2nd, 2010:

    Gail, I like it! It’s all about pride, you know.

  8. 8 Molly said at 2:51 pm on July 2nd, 2010:

    That’s why the Dumbledore comment was so powerful to me. One of my mottos is to love myself as well as or better than anyone else can love me. If I am focused on my imperfections, then others will too.

  9. 9 Kent Pelz said at 7:23 pm on July 2nd, 2010:

    For most of my life I didn’t like being alone. I needed the company of others to keep me amused (and perhaps distracted from what I was avoiding…being alone). Lately, I’ve come full circle. Every chance I get I like to be alone. I realize I am enjoying myself (no sexual connotation suggested). This requires no self-judgment; no unhappiness with self, physically, mentally or emotionally.

    Think about it. Do you enjoy yourself? If we don’t enjoy our own company, how can we expect others to enjoy our company?

  10. 10 MomZombie said at 9:15 am on July 4th, 2010:

    I’m fascinated with your blog’s niche. I too am a divorced mother (since remarried) but I am not good friends with my ex. I’d try to be friendly but he isn’t interested. This post really hit home as I have been exercising regularly for years and like a maniac for the last six months: intensive cardio, weight training and nothing to show for it. I suppose on the inside there are differences. I feel stronger. But I look — the same. Blah. As Radiohead so wisely sings: Gravity always wins. I hate it when women my age cheat nature. I don’t want to look old, but even more I don’t want to look fake young. That’s just freakish.

  11. 11 Molly said at 9:52 am on July 4th, 2010:

    I know what you mean. I do a very intense hot power yoga practice five times a week, lift weights, and take boxing. I am stronger but not ripped. And I finally have to admit that I will never have the tight yoga ass that some women do. Genetics play a role in our looks.

    I’m glad that we have found each other’s blogs. Do you have any posts on your divorce or remarriage? I’d love to hear about that experience. And I’d love to have you do a guest post, if you’re interested.

  12. 12 Can I Find a Guy Like My Sister? // Postcards from a Peaceful Divorce said at 7:42 pm on July 5th, 2010:

    […] rss syndicationentries Postcards from a Peaceful Divorce The joys, challenges, and humorous moments of divorced living « Mirror, Mirror, on the Wall, Who’s the Fairest One of All? […]

  13. 13 marie said at 3:27 pm on July 16th, 2010:

    for a long time, his opinion was “the opinion.”

    it is hard when you are in a spot that is not the spot on “the road” you wanted to be on at this time in your journey.

  14. 14 Molly Monet said at 4:14 pm on July 16th, 2010:

    Yes, but what I have learned, Marie, is that we can find a new, happier path at any age.

  15. 15 Katy said at 5:17 pm on August 20th, 2010:

    Aww thats lovely, made me smile :)

  16. 16 Molly Monet said at 8:17 pm on August 20th, 2010:

    Katy-I’m so glad. I love to make people smile…and laugh. Welcome to my site!

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