I'm proud of every supposed "imperfection" on my face.
Imagine this, if you will: I'm sitting with some lovely, incredible friends in Belize. In a house that my friend won in a silent auction. And, of course, because Belize is a tropical, beautiful, amazing island, there are no cars. Just bicycles and golf carts and tons of sandy roads that lead to white and blue picturesque beaches. The whole motto of the island is "go slow" — and that's exactly what I was doing, in addition to celebrating the fact that I lost 30 pounds this year.
Thanks to a big health wake-up call where I completely changed my diet, realized I was allergic to dairy, started to eat clean, and started actually working out five times a week, I finally got to a place where I loved my body. Every single curve. Every crevasse. Every freckle and dimple, cellulite line and roll.
I went from a size 10 to a size 4 but more importantly, I watched my body became stronger, tougher. I amazed myself when I held a plank for two minutes — and then three minutes. I impressed myself for not only discovering I enjoy boxing but as a lefty, I'm actually pretty good at it. I nearly cried when I nailed a yoga headstand — without a wall! — and clapped in class when I did 20 push-ups without my knees.
So as you can see, I was feeling really great about myself at the time.
Until I got a Facebook message on our fourth day into the trip.
It was from someone who I haven't spoken to since high school. (I often get messages from strangers because I'm a writer, and most of the time they're positive and friendly.) But this one wasn't about my writing.
It was about my forehead wrinkle. That's right. My forehead wrinkle. (Did I mention I'm barely 27 years old?)
The exact message went as follows:
Hi Lindsay! I couldn't be more excited about whats happening in my business!!!!!!!!!! I noticed you have one of those forehead wrinkles, I can take care of that for you. Do you have 15 minutes this week/weekend for me to share the products that will change your life?!
Real talk: I do have a forehead wrinkle. I've had it since I was a teenager. I've always noticed it and in some ways, I've been insecure about it.
When a guy suggests a date spot with overly-bright lighting, I try and direct him to a joint with better ambiance. When a photo is posted of me by someone else and it highlights the line above my eyes, I immediately untag it. I've become a master of Instagram filters that filter it away and when I'm taking a Snapchat, I test the lighting before sending (because let's be real, those snaps don't really go away, thanks, Internet.)
Even so, I was astounded and hurt that someone I haven't spoken to in more than nine years thought it was appropriate to pitch me a product by calling out an imperfection she found on my face. (I later found out she was trying to get me to buy a $200 serum, which I'm sure would've been a nice commission, but hello? RUDE.)
I didn't respond.
Here's the thing: I'm proud of my forehead wrinkle. Do I hate it sometimes? Sure. Do I wonder if the reason I'm still single is because I have an annoying line that men focus on instead of my blue eyes, bright smile or curvy body? Sure, sometimes when I'm feeling emotional and drank too much wine.
But more often than not, when I see my forehead wrinkle, I think of all the laughs I've had with the people I love.
I think about how I can't hide anything from my face; my expressions are ever-changing going from highs to lows, depending on who's talking and what's going on.
I think about the funny voices I make for my sweet, three-year-old dog who scrunches up her nose when she's excited and I scrunch back.
I think about the many blogs, columns, articles and handwritten cards I've penned, thinking with my entire face as I search for the right words in my overly creative, terribly romantic brain.
I've earned this forehead wrinkle with love and with experiences and moments I wouldn't trade for all the Botox in the world. I pity that old high school friend who thought her message was an acceptable thing to send to someone.
And not only that, I feel sorry for her that she thinks our imperfections are something we should correct or that our wrinkles shouldn't be worn as a badge of honor, a token of the things we've seen, felt and done. Or that beauty can't be found without an expensive treatment or an airbrushed face that's Kardashian-worthy.
I might not always love my forehead wrinkle but it's part of me. I'm going back to Belize next year with those same people. And you know what? I'll be turning my phone off so I can tune into the beauty all around me — and especially — within me.