One of the seven deadly sins and generally not something I’ve ever really been afflicted with before, vanity is a dirty word.
Well, it used to be.
Somewhat embarrassingly, I’ve realised that I’m slowly becoming a victim of vanity. I’m getting older, and while I’m not exactly ready for the scrapheap just yet, I’m feeling it. What’s worse, I’m seeing it – even if no one else is.
I don’t know how bad I’m supposed to feel about this though. In a world of daily selfies, vlogs and the art of immaculate presentation, is vanity not just par for the course?
Never was I one of the girls who gave a shit about their looks. Honestly, and without faux-coyness, I can tell you that the state of my face has never factored that highly on my list of things to give a toss about. Obviously I went through the post-teen phase of flinging a load of sparkly eye-glitter on my face, but in general, make-up was never really a thing I did either. I just wasn’t that arsed about how I looked, and I didn’t really give much thought to what anyone else might have felt when confronted with my pale little grid either.
As time has inevitably tick-tocked by and I’ve experienced some of the darker ends of life’s experiences, I’ve begun to look at myself in a new light.
It’s not a particularly flattering light, and while I don’t blame the rise of Instagram perfection entirely, I definitely think it’s got some responsibility for the world’s increasing obsession with aesthetics.
It’s certainly affected how critically I view my own face now.
I can’t say I ever expected the day to come where I’d fork out my own cash on crap like sponges for my foundation, or actually Google ‘tooth-whitening near me’, as if I could ever afford such frivolous luxury. And yet, these days are fast upon me. I’m now noticing things on my face that never used to be there. Little wrinkles. Age spots. Dark patches which I just know are from years of sun damage.
And as much as I’d love to style it out as my old self usually would, it turns out I’m not enough of a liar to pretend that it doesn’t freak me the hell out.
|What are you looking at?|
It does. It really does.
It’s not that I mind getting older that much – although I’d prefer not to, obviously. What I’m finding much harder to swallow is actually looking older. I can pass off feeling like a cup of reheated sick as long as I don’t massively look like one to the outside world. Or even, actually, just to myself.
Mirror evils are the worst kind of evils you can be given.
This kind of vanity is the worst. It’s not the desire to look like a polished Insta make-up artist or beauty blogger, or the efforts to appear like some kind of TOWIE girl when the nearest you’ve really been to Essex is a crap nail bar in the local indoor market. No, its the vanity of knowing that you just want to look good to yourself.
That’s when the line between vanity and insecurity becomes blurred. I wish I still didn’t care. I’m about 85% up on the scale of vanity now though, and that’s equally loathsome to my mind.
So in an attempt to avoid further insecurity, I continue to plough on in my bare-faced quest to fight off my own vanity. I’m catching myself choosing to watch YouTube and Instagram videos of insanely shiny looking women so that I can learn such awfully self-involved techniques as ‘how to contour if you’re over 30/tired as the grave/a parent/as translucent as Casper’s death rattle’. With any luck, that’s where it begins and ends though…before I turn into an utter airhead.
I’m not going down too extreme of a path. There’s no chance of me hitting up the Botox any time, ever. But I’ll be the first to admit that the focus on exterior flawlessness has caught up with me at long last. It’s bothering me. An increasing amount.
Does it bother you too?
Let me know in the comments below, or you can tweet me @actualwriting.
Writer, tweeter and illustrator. Starving artist and thrifting expert. Pen for hire and first-time author at work.