I remember when my skin was such a tenacious little thing, hanging on for dear life and always wanting to stick so very, very close. Sometimes I felt like my skin was hanging on a little too closely, but I knew it was young and needed me.
Then my preteen years came, and my skin started to get an attitude. Large, red bumps broke out all over my face and I knew I was in for some tough years. I tried to lecture my skin, tell it to clear up its actions and fly straight, but it didn’t listen. It let me know, in no uncertain terms, that no matter how many lectures I gave it, no matter how often I robbed it of sodas and chocolate or took away its greasy favorites that it was going to do what it wanted.
I know I shouldn’t admit this, but I really didn’t like my skin during that period. It was hard to look at, and each glance reminded me of its sassy attitude.
Let’s face it, no pun intended, during the preteen years we all had a lot of other things to worry about, like how to shave your legs for the first time. I remember taking my mom’s single blade, pink metal razor to the bathroom. I filled the tub up with water and put Silly Foam on my legs. It’s all that was available.
I proceeded to gently shave my legs, without even nicking my ankles. I was surprised by the smoothness of the blade, and felt immensely proud as I dried my legs off approximately two hours later. I went into the den to show my older and sister the great success I’d just had only to see a bunch of blonde hair all over my legs.
Furious, I dragged mom into the bathroom to see what I’d done wrong. She found that there was no razor in the razor blade, and loaded it up. My ankles did not survive the next shaving.
As I grew into a full-fledged teenager, my skin began to ease up a little. One moment it was clear as a bell, the next I looked like the poster child for Clearasil.
My skin rebelled for years, presenting me with acne attacks through most of my life. Sometimes I felt my skin was a lot like Holden Caulfield, just trying to find itself. But no matter how much my skin pushed away emotionally, it still stayed close. No wrinkles, no sagging, just tenacious skin fitting me like a glove. A skin glove. And that sounds a little Ed Gein-ish, so I retract that description.
My skin was faithful until I hit menopause. The first time I skipped a period I noticed a lip wrinkle. Within days I noticed that when I pinched the skin on my hand it didn’t bounce back. Instead, it formed a tiny little mohawk that stayed around for a while. I thought I might be dehydrated, but I was wrong.
The first time I looked at my wrinkled fingers and realized they had NOT been immersed in water, I knew it was time to let my skin grow up. Finally, it is ready to go off on its own without an unhealthy attachment to my muscles.
I’m learning to deal with it the best I can. Some days I actually look down into a mirror just so my skin can celebrate its new found freedom. Other times I stand in elevators and stare up at the metal ceilings so I can remember the days when my skin and I were inseparable.
Life goes on, and things grow up. Including our skin. I’m not going to cut out large sections of it and pull it tighter and yell “No Wire Hangers!” because I’m not a control freak. At least not today.
I have warned my skin that if it tries to cover my eyes so I won’t notice it’s leaving I will take necessary measures to move it out of my viewpoint.
Other than that, my skin and I are living two adults lives offering each other mutual respect and some space …because I can’t expect my skin to stay young forever, following me around, sticking by my side so very tightly.
Although I’m concerned that my skin has gotten a little loose, I am still letting it find its own way and trail along behind me. And even if some magical being offered me new skin, I would stay with mine. Because we’ve been through a lot together, and I’m finding that our relationship has always been more than skin-deep.