I come from a lineage of women who hardened themselves to survive in a man’s world.

My mother was practical. She kept me safe, clean, fed and busy with fun things. However, I grew up without the feminine exchange I longed from her. Looking back, I see that I made sure I always had many girlfriends. That was how I quenched my thirst for the feminine exchange I didn’t get at home.

When I was a teenager, I was painfully self conscious and focused mostly on my appearance. I held my bangs down in the wind for fear that people would see my forehead, which I judged as too big. I sat on my hands because I was once told I had masculine fingers. And I spent hours on my hair and make-up before school. I did whatever it took to look like the models on the magazines covers, wearing foundation, blush, eye shadow and two pairs of fake eyelashes. I was also helping my girlfriends do the same thing. We were hiding behind a facade of beauty products. I often wondered how I would keep my future husband from seeing the real me if I ever got married.

Little did I know I was developing skills for my future career.

In the meantime, I went through a huge transformation during the summer of 1968. I was in the heart of San Francisco when I and my peers were recognizing the hypocrisy of societies dictates. We were searching for new ideas and lifestyles that we could relate to. I threw away all my make-up and beauty products, my wardrobe, and anything that was not natural, authentic and honest. I even stopped shaving my legs and underarms. A few years later, my rebellion softened and I found a happy medium. I realized I could honor my interest in beauty, and still be genuine and natural.

Once I started working with professional models, my self esteem was confronted once again. I noticed that I still had a heavy negative judgment about my own appearance, even though it was far from the extreme I went through during puberty. It was difficult to spend days with these girls and feel good about my own appearance. However, I knew instinctively that there was more to attractiveness than shiny hair and big eyes.

I certainly enjoyed many aspects of working with a team of people to create a beautiful image. I also realized that models did not come through the door looking like they did once we spent hours transforming them. As I became more familiar with the concept of ideal beauty and worked closely with the girls that the world deemed the most gorgeous, I could see that surface beauty was only fleeting. Once I got to know the models, I could see that they were only attractive when they were happy, kind, and loving themselves. I saw that they were the most beautiful when they were truly enjoying their lives. I was no longer intimidated by their “package.”

I was a make-up artist for more than 25 years. And during that time I was living my own life; marrying, raising children, traveling the world, and learning more and more about myself. After years of taking a myriad of transformational workshops, psychology courses, and classes on human nature, I started living my life according to what pleasured me. And once again, I recognized that when a woman is taking joy in her life, she is her most radiant and attractive. Her beauty has nothing to do with the size of her nose, her height or the shape of her body. A woman’s beauty is in her ability to experience pleasure.

So it was not until I was in my 40’s that I started discovering all that being a woman is.
When I started living according to what pleasured me, my own persona changed.

When I started feeling “right” for who I was, rather than thinking I had to fix something, or change in some way, is when others took notice. That is when I was recognized on the street and asked to model at age 49.

Honoring that most innate part of my feminine nature is what makes me most attractive.

I am now 60. I have found that the riches in life are all around me if I allow my self to notice them and appreciate them by following my spirit. There is no external place to find what I carry right in side.

I continue to model and I have created a pro-age, believable beauty cosmetic line.

Aging is really just another word for living. Life continues to be a magical and fascinating adventure. My passion, my feelings, and all that I am are intact and functioning. The concept that aging is becoming less in some way is really the antithesis of what happens. One becomes more and more as life continues.

This story was written for the upcoming book, PRIME by Allison Hadar and Peter Freed; go to www.theprimebook.com and www.theprimebook.wordpress.com for more info. For details on Cindy’s new pro-age makeup line, go to our BA50 archive here: https://betterafter50.com/2012/01/cancel-your-botox-and-celebrate-your-pro-age.

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