There was a time a few years into my career as an aesthetician that I almost quit.
It wasn't because I didn't love what I was doing. I absolutely adored it. There was nothing more soul nourishing for me than to make connections with others through the gift of touch and care for their skin.
So what happened?
Two words: ANTI-AGING.
My heart was aching for clients coming in to see me that were so focused on the changes happening to their skin as they were getting older, that they no longer liked who they saw in the mirror. They were looking for severe treatments to erase the years. To "smooth that out here." To "get rid of this there." Turning aging into the enemy.
The irony here is not lost on me. There would be no such thing as a career in aesthetics if it wasn't for the beauty industry, fueling the desire for reaching a standard of youth and beauty that inundates every avenue of media. A standard that just isn't in line with the natural biological changes that happen in the body.
According to the beauty industry - we should all look 29 until we die.
And this is the very conundrum that made me want to leave my chosen field. My heart ached because these women I had been blessed to have in my treatment room, were beautiful. Beautiful souls in beautiful bodies with beautiful faces that they disliked and hyper-criticized.
I felt as though my philosophy of promoting natural, healthy skin care at every age to support YOUR best skin, just wasn't in line with what clients were expecting when they walked through the door. My future as the skin care therapist I wanted to be seemed to hold no water. Rather than wanting to nourish their skin and bodies to support the optimal function of their skin, they wanted to negate it entirely. To peel it or sand it off. To smear it with chemicals that burnt off the layers of life. To erase any evidence of those years lived, as though they were a shame to carry so openly.
Those words - ANTI-AGING.
"They" make it sound like a fight against time. A war against our experience in the shell of our bodies.
What ever happened to aging gracefully? Taking care of our bodies, skin and emotional selves so that the outside reflects the best us. A healthy, REAL and gorgeous us.
I wrote this poem back when I was considering leaving the beauty industry. I wrote it as a silent reminder to each client who would touch my life going forward.
And as a reminder to myself...
Upon your face,
Of a life lived.
Each smile line,
Of good times.
Of your healing power.
Bless this body
That carries you
May you see your true beauty today. <3