Last year I completely stopped wearing any make up at all. A few months ago I threw out what little pieces I had left, never to be replaced. I don’t enjoy putting make up on or wearing it. The only time I put on make up was when I was feeling insecure about how my appearance was perceived by others. It’s my personal choice to always lean into my fearful vulnerabilities when I see them.
Make up, for me, was conformity to something I dislike. I applied make up only out of fear of being perceived as unattractive or unfeminine. Wearing make up was out of integrity with who I am at heart. So no more mascara or concealer for blemishes and dark circles for me. I threw it all away. Just me and my bare face out in the world. As a 41 year old sex worker this is equal parts liberating and terrifying.
Last year I also decided once and for all not to intervene in my ageing with lipo, botox nor the cheek and lip fillers that are now ubiquitous in the sex industry; from the surreptitious “natural” look to the bold and unapologetic “sex doll” look. I have agonised over my decision not to get anti ageing cosmetic surgery and injections for years. It is hard watching your face and body change with age as all around you women are terrified of that process and desperately trying to prevent that happening to them.
Choosing not to use invasive cosmetic procedures to intervene in my ageing face or body shape is a challenging personal choice for me. It helps me to be able to discuss it openly. However, I do not want this discussion to be used to critique or insult women who choose otherwise. There is no right or wrong or good or bad choice about what women do in regard to their appearance. It’s a personal choice and no one else’s business to judge. The reason I want to discuss my choice and the challenge I feel in this industry is because I want more diverse representation for what is a sexy older woman. That it doesn’t need to cost thousands in anti-ageing interventions to continue exploring and expressing your sexual self as we age.
Too many people think the way to support or compliment a woman’s choices and looks is by insulting other women’s choices and looks. No, we must stop this. We all have preferences for what appearance we like in others but if we engage in our preferences by insulting those who don’t meet them, we are being a narcissistic arsehole.
So I don’t know how I will go with this decision, nor how ageing will continue to unfold on my face and body, but it’s a resistance I want to engage in. It’s a battle I have fought several times before. In my teens I was taught to be repulsed by my own body hair. I was immersed in insults from adults and peers that ridiculed and demonised “hairy women” as I entered puberty. Growing my body hair in resistance to this was also HARD at first. Being regularly insulted by loved ones and random strangers in public, men and women, is humiliating and hurtful, but you build up a resistance to it. You become psychologically resilient, you learn to give WAY less fucks what anyone else thinks about your body. I do still sometimes shave my body hair to be contrary though. Often it’s motivated by someone telling me I must never shave; or someone sending me an insult about hairless women and thinking I will feel complimented. I always end up growing it back. Hair removal is a joyless business.
Again I fought this battle in my twenties after having a baby. I had multiple people insult my breasts, men and women, including my then husband and father of my child. For years I looked in the mirror and was repulsed by my breasts and nipples. I came very close to getting cosmetic surgery on my breasts many times due to my insecurities but I resisted. I am so fucking glad I resisted.
Back in my teens I never would have imagined I would LOVE my body hair. I enjoyed engaging in defiance of oppressive norms and rules about women’s appearance but not the body hair itself. Now I do love my body hair. I am not insecure about it at all. Same in my twenties, I never would have believed it was possible that I would look in the mirror and feel good about my boobs. Now in my forties I fucking love my tits. Of course my love for my boobs is greatly helped by the fact that I get so much pleasure from my nipples. Refusal to risk loosing my orgasmic nipple pleasure stopped me getting cosmetic breast surgery many times. Pleasure bought me the time I needed to undo the psychological wounding that had been inflicted on me about my breasts.
So, I already know I can heal the psychological wounds inflicted on women about ageing too. I know it is possible to move through my insecurities about ageing into a full hearted love and appreciation, just as I did with my body hair and my breasts before. I know what it takes to heal this fear and I know I have what it takes to do it. In every area of our lives, all through our lives, we face a choice between fear and love over and over and over again in so many forms. I have gained so much from turning towards my fears with an open mind and heart to seek the learning and love they always offer me.