Do These Crow’s Feet Make My Ass Look Big? (Redefining the Idea of Beauty)
In the past six months you have:
Stood in front of the mirror and tugged at your cheeks, eyes, neck, ears, perimeter of your nose.
Completely committed to a new fitness and nutrition regime. Quit new regime after three interminable weeks.
Felt sexier than ever before.
Walked by a group of construction workers and silently willed them to objectify you #nodice.
Been shocked by the disconnect between what you thought you would look like and the image looking back at you in the mirror.
So we talk a lot in the book, and we talk a lot to women about redefining beauty, and obviously the title of our book is sort of a tongue and cheek funny way into this topic, but it's a very real thing, and over time we interviewed hundreds and hundreds of women and we asked some of the same questions, right? And so one of the questions was what's the best compliment that you can get? And so in early motherhood, the answer was, to be a good Mom. I just want people to say, "Oh, you're such a good ...
Mom, look at you." Now the best compliment you can get, across the board, is to look younger, "I want to look younger than I am." So beauty in this generation for us is a really tricky topic, because we're expected to look and feel and act younger than our Mom's generations, but it puts pressure on us.
Right, and some of that's social media too. We look back the Facebook, like we talked about it earlier. Like the comparison of others and people can do so much to their body and face that it does become more difficult to kind of define it for yourself. But one of the things that was so interesting too when talking to women when we asked that question, when do you feel the most beautiful, we heard things like, "When I came out of yoga, "I feel strong and glowy, and when I'm sitting "with my girlfriend and laughing and smiling, "and having a great time." Those are the times when we feel the most beautiful.
Yeah, and as a general rule, this age, this space, we feel more confident than ever. And so it's sort of juxtaposed because when you feel more confident, it just glows from the inside out. I mean you are sexier, you're more attractive. So there's this kind of tricky kind of balance.
Well and some don't feel confident. We're working through this time in our life and we're looking in the mirror and saying like "I don't look like I feel." Or what I see is not making me feel wonderful, so it's finding those things that make you feel beautiful in order to have that confidence again. Or doing things, we talked about in the last chapter with happiness, doing things that make you feel happy because when you're happier, the confidence shines through in a totally different way and makes you more beautiful, and perceived as more beautiful, studies show.
Right, and we also talked to one woman who said, "You know what, I literally give zero fucks "about what anybody says about me or cares about." So she's growing out her beautiful gray hair, and she's sort of like forging forward in a really proactive way, that it's beautiful, and everyone around her is sort off stunned, like wow, this woman is blazing a new trail, this is amazing.
Well, and that's interesting, because it is kind of a cultural issue. I mean it's here in America. I mean as we went to Haiti, we saw things so differently, and this is an environment where there's not a lot of money, and there's not a lot of opportunity, but they love each other, their family, they have each other's back, they're confident, I mean the Haitians are amazing.
The Haitians are the most beautiful people on earth and it has everything to do with how they glow from the inside out, it really does. It struck us, how vain we can be.
And kind of how to redefine this. So we did talk a lot to women about this topic and it's a hot one. But there are sort of questions that we can kind of consider when we think about this. What if we thought of aging, again, our Moms looked at aging as sort of like, "Oh well, here I go, the train's at the station, "I'm just on the train." And what if we looked at aging as an opportunity.
We've already learned so much. We're this incredible generation of educated, vibrant women, but what if we looked at it as continuing education?
And we can actually reach new heights.
While I'm looking at the definition of what that looks like, and looking at, gosh, those things can actually from the inside out sort of change the way that I look and feel, and that's a powerful, powerful tool.
Yeah, and there are women everyday starting new businesses at age 50, and 60, and beyond, and it's really stunning and it can be done, and we just have to seek out the right role models because they're everywhere.
Absolutely, and they are beautiful because they are doing what they love and we've really found that when you're doing what you love, you shine in a whole different way.
Yeah. We also talked about, what would it mean to disrupt your own aging, and that's a really interesting concept. Maye Musk, Elon Musk's Mom is a model right now, and she's 70s or 80s, she's this gorgeous, gorgeous woman, with silver, silver hair, and up until a few years ago, they moved her into the category of non fashion, and so they would shoot her for different magazines, but just doing like sort of elderly person things, and in the last couple years, they flipped her back to fashion model. So she's doing like covers, and she's doing like Versace, and it's actually amazing how she has in her industry started to disrupt what aging means for fashion.
Well and that's incredible because if fashion starts to make that shift culturally it will follow, so it gives us that opportunity to start to embrace that as a role model as well.
Right, so one of the women we interviewed who's late 50s said, "Oh no, I'm taking in ballroom dancing "and I'm going back to college in different ways." She's disrupting what it means to be her age and starting to carve a new path, and that's exactly the mentality that we all need to sort of thing about.
And that's sexy right? I mean that becomes like a new way of looking at that age and finding your own confidence.
And think about the role models we're becoming for our children, that's who we want to be for them. That's what, we want them to see us in that way.
No, we have that opportunity right now to really reinvent what this next chapter looks like, and within beauty, if we're looking at ourselves and being so hard on ourselves and we hear women who say, "I still say to my kids, "like how does my butt look in these jeans? "Does it look fat?" And that's, we're teaching our kids that that's a priority, and not, we're not being accepting of ourselves, so how can we then think our kids are going to be accepting of themselves as they get older?
Right. And that woman we talked to who said, "Like every stretch mark is a child, "and every crow's feet is a smile." And looking at it just differently.
Right, and it's hard, it's not easy to look at it in that way, but it's beautiful, and we can all learn a lot from that.
Yeah, so the steps to sort of finding your inner and outer beauty, I mean one of the things that we learned a lot from the women we talked to is, when's the last time you really felt beautiful? And what was that feeling like? Coming out of yoga and just being rosy cheeked or laughing until your stomach hurt with your girlfriends over wine. So many moments that you feel beautiful, listening to your own laughter.
Yeah, when you're feeling strong, you're feeling smart, you're feeling just these things that make you feel really confident, it's amazing, and we talk a lot about it because we are huge meditators, and it's kind of a nonnegotiable for us, but there are studies that show if you meditate twice a day, you're going to fee more beautiful, you actually-
You actually look better. There are studies that show that you will actually can reverse time, we haven't gotten there yet, but we're still working on that. And it truly is sort of a gift. Maybe it's not meditation, maybe it's taking a walk and having some quiet time, or it's yoga, or it's reading a book.
We're also a generation of perfectionists, and we tend to hone in on the negative. So there can be 100 great things, but if there's one less than in our mind, that's what we hone in on, and that's what our kids are learning, so we need to look in the mirror, find three things you love, and really hone in and focus on those things, and celebrate them. Celebrate your long torso, celebrate your beautiful hands.
Well it's not changing, so you might as well embrace it.
Right, and celebrate your legs that are so strong, that support you everyday and allow you to workout, or feel strong.
And write it down, kind of write out a love letter to yourself. I mean really write down what do you love about yourself? And it feels a little indulgent, or it feels a little uncomfortable, or it feels a little bit, but when you do the exercise, it truly, when you find all the good things about yourself that are beautiful, or maybe have a friend and swap. Sit down with a girlfriend and have her share all of the things that she loves about you.
Guaranteed there's one thing you never thought of about yourself that was beautiful in that way. We need to ease up on ourselves and also give us a pass, like a free pass to do one thing that makes us feel better about ourselves, and even if it's our dirty little secret. We talked to one woman who opened a credit card for Botox. It's her secret, she just goes every three months and puts it on that credit card, and she thinks she's just horrible for it, but it's like, it makes her feel so good.
Right, give yourself permission to make those choices. Again, through that or exercise, or things that just allow to feel beautiful.
One woman said "I'm a slave to my hairdresser "because the grays come in every three weeks "and I secretly run over there and get it colored," and whatever feels right to you, it's okay.
Oh my goodness, we are moving into our kind of hidden chapter.
Even our publisher was like, should we include this chapter?
Yeah, she's like no, this is dirty. It is an interesting topic, because menopause is something nobody really wants to talk about, and it's uncomfortable because it kind of goes with, it makes us feel like we've hit an age. It's definitely related to an age bracket.
It's literally a natural part of life, as natural as being born, getting our periods. Here we are women, and now this is something that we just heard over and over from women. They were so scared to talk about it.
Well no one's talking about it, so that is really important, is to find someone to confide in, because when you do, you're like, I didn't even know these things existed. Or I didn't even know that these were warnings that I was actually in it.
So we heard so much conflicting information, not only from the women we talked to, their confusion, but also doctors who are giving various advice that kind of conflicted each other and there's a lot of confusion about what are the symptoms to look for.
Yeah, we had to do a lot of research to really get down to the nitty gritty of what those symptoms are and what you can do about them.
We kind of put together a little list of all the things we heard, some of which were a little surprising to even us. We had heard everything.
So some of the menopause symptoms, they can wildly vary, but here are a few kind of red flags. You hearing sensitivity, which was kind of shocking to me that you can actually lose some of your hearing too, and that you're more susceptible.
Even just more sensitive. So one woman said she was in a business meeting and the clock ticking in the conference room drove her insane, and she was like, I didn't know why, and then they started Googling it, it was like a real symptom.
Vision changes. Things can get a little blurry. Mood swings, oh my gosh, this of course was probably number one of things that we heard.
But as women, we're kind of used to that, so what's the difference? But what we heard is over archingly, the mood swings are really, really severely from one mood to the next.
Sweeping, in a way that makes you giddy and then wants to murder someone.
Well and really uncomfortable, because it's like suddenly like oh my gosh, I hate everyone, like what's wrong with me when I hate everybody?
Like in the grocery line all of a sudden.
Yeah, and like your husband and your family, and you're like everybody's just bothering me. That's what we heard over and over again.
Is that normal?
Insomnia, so we all kind of deal with that on and off, and that is a hormonal thing, but severe insomnia, where there's nothing you can do, nothing you can take will help it. So if you suddenly are in a bout of it, that's something to really red flag.
And surge and sex drive. I mean that's kind of a bonus right? Because there's been years where a lot of women just don't have any desire. So suddenly-
So on the upside.
That's right. Or, on the flip side, there actually can be a nose dive in sex drive.
A lot of women did say that. They said they had a clue because all the sudden, they had a pretty decent sex life, and then all of a sudden they were like no bueno, nuh-uh.
And forgetfulness. And again, that's hard to tell between like just aging. Anxiety is a big thing, and you hear women, one woman we spoke to, actually a lot of women we spoke to, even driving becomes like high anxiety. Driving at night becomes-
And panic attacks start to seep in. Things that maybe you were fine flying anywhere on a plane, and then all of a sudden, you're paralyzed, you can't even get on the plane. So anxiety at different levels is really something to watch for, and it really is a symptom, which again, that was sort surprising us.
Yeah, and iron loss. You become more susceptible to anemia, which can be fixed with iron pills, but something you have to keep regular, and noticing if you're feeling a little bit more exhausted and tired. It happened to me, I was like, oh my gosh, these workouts are getting like really exhausting, I might just be like getting old or out of shape. I must like pick up my game, and realize that like, I was severely anemic, but I took some iron pills and felt good to go.
And then metabolism shifts. I mean that's one that you hear about a lot, but if it's again sort of sudden and all of a sudden you're working out and you're eating well and you just can't kind of lose those pounds, or things are shifting. There are ways that you can, you know, you can go to your doctor, you can get your hormone levels checked, there are different things you can do. So it's not, don't be passive about it.
Right, but I think so many women just say oh my gosh, I just hit 45, so of course it's going to slow down.
No, but if you don't have to be in that state, you really can do something about it, so being proactive versus reactive.
Well and being, you know, there's some things to keep in mind, like being mindful of it. This is at an age bracket, it can start at 38, it can start at 52. So there's a big time, yeah, but being kind of mindful to some changes in your life, even write it down. Write it down like gosh I'm feeling tired, or I really snapped at my kids. Like went off last night.
I hate everybody, I hate everybody. So journal through some of that stuff, and really do, this is the time. If there's ever a time to rethink what you eat, what you put in your body, and how you treat your body from an exercise standpoint, this is the time because little shifts literally can be mood stabilizers, they can make a difference in how you look and feel. So this is the time to rethink that.
And on the positive, a lot of women feel stronger and happier, and feel great on the post side of menopause. So you will get through it, there is going to be an end, and a lot of women feel great after.
One woman, remember, I mean we met her and she kind of succumbed to midlife, and wasn't really taking the best care of herself anymore and just thought, "Well I look like my Mom now, it's fine." And now, a few years later, having found yoga, and having found meditation, this woman looks, feels and acts like a completely different woman. She looks and acts like she's sort of in her 30s.
Well she now has rid herself of anxiety, insomnia, and iron deficiency, and she looks great.
She looks amazing too, she really does, and she looks great. So really, we need to find that one person that we can be open and honest with about menopause, and maybe even if it's a little mini Mom's group or women's group, and just talk through some of the issues. You'll be so shocked at what comes out and what women are willing to share.
Well we need to, and we're working on, renaming this terrible word, it even has men in it.
We don't want that, we don't need that.
Nor do we relate to it. It feels like it's like a time in, no. So we're gonna rename it, so any ideas out there-
Any ideas you have, send them our way.