plus, a different kind of redeye
Readers, I just received this email and was granted permission to post it (anonymously). I thought you all might find it informative and maybe helpful, too. xo
<<I wanted to share that I have blepharitis - it only started as I entered perimenopause. I saw a few eye doctors who all said I was allergic to pollution (aren’t we all) and that was the cause. Finally - after years of red rims- I saw an eye doctor who immediately diagnosed it as blepharitis. One thing to look for is the formation of itty bitty blisters on the lower eyelids.
There are several over the counter products to treat this - and they work. A good pharmacy will know. The product I use is Navi-blef. It is a wash for around the eyes - very easy to use - and just once in the morning. There are also effective wipes. The tear ducts get blocked by oil - or that is how the eye doctor described it.
The lower lash is interesting. My daughter is biologically Chinese and as a child we thought she might be developing a tick in her eyes. Another excellent eye doctor diagnosed that the eyelashes were brushing her cornea. Sometimes Asian eyelashes grow upward slightly, they can all brush, or one might just be a bit bent and causing the irritation. In her case it was bent eyelashes which we could correct by gently brushing them out post bathing. That doctor told me he had a few patients who had had this from childhood - and were thrilled to know they could stop the extra blinks with a simple surgery. Anyway - more than you needed to hear - but sharing knowledge is a good thing.
Many thanks for all you do. >>
Please be your authentic self. I actually don't want more recommendations to look younger. I can easily google that stuff on-line. In fact I just listened to the book "The Swedish Art of Aging Exuberantly: Life Wisdom from Someone Who Will (Probably) Die Before You" by a woman who is 86 years old and what I heard from her meant more to me than learning about the latest skin cream to make my face less wrinkled. Yes, true, I don't want skin cancer but, damn it, I'm turning 60 years old in a few weeks and I want to be at ease with my well-worn face which has gone through so much over the decades. I do think of a dear friend and mentor who is in her early 80s and just had to move into assisted living. She's truly the most beautiful person I know inside and out. Before the pandemic we traveled to Montgomery and Selma in AL (she was a Freedom Rider in the early 60s) and now we're going to go to the African American history museum in DC this fall. Let's hope we're both still alive to do it (!) yet what I love about her is her exuberance for life while also being so honest that aging is hard especially when we're not able to live completely alone in our lovely homes. So, no, I don't really want advice on how to get rid of wrinkles on my face but rather how I can best handle these realities with grace (and perhaps a little moisturizer and sunblock). Thanks Val!
Please don’t ever start telling us things like how to get poutier lips. ￼ I read your Substack because it supports me looking my best instead of encouraging me to change how I look. Carry on!
Buying it? Count me in! Your excellent post also reminded me:
I recently went to a joyful social gathering, a bridal shower, with mostly women in attendance. While I was having a grand time, I did observe that, with the exception of a lovely woman in her 80s, I was probably the oldest (and again, with the exception of the lovely octogenarian guest), the oldest-looking woman in the room. Nothing tragic about that, just an observation, and I continued to carry on, enjoying the occasion and everyone’s company.
Later, when I was looking at photos from the event, after admiring everyone else, I turned a critical eye on my face and did indeed see signs of aging. Some loss of volume, some softening of the jawline. (And of course, I was standing next to much younger people. LOL!) But then I looked at the photos with friendlier, more loving eyes, and I saw something else in my face. Happiness! Pure delight at being part of the love and joy surrounding the radiant bride-to-be and her family and friends.
Now when I gaze upon these photos I don’t see one of the oldest-looking women in the room. I see someone who was so lucky to be there, to toast the bride-to-be’s bright future, to celebrate life. Thanks to your inspiring post, I hope to keep my focus on moments like this. I’d rather be the oldest-looking woman in the room than not be in the room at all, missing all the fun.
I just wanted to say I LOVE your perspective. You beautifully verbalized a perspective I find very hard to explain to my friends. I'm saving this essay! As I age, I realize all the money I have spent on physical beauty has done what really? I'm still here and still look as I do today. The biggest investment paybacks have been taking care of my health and my moisture barrier (so boring for those hoping for more, I know!). The biggest change has been in the way I see the world and the confidence I've developed. That, in itself, brings an internal glow no serum can provide!
Val, I love this piece. And I love that you've found the intersection between self-acceptance and participation in the circus. The middle way is the hardest, but always the most fulfilling, balanced and SANE. This niche you've created has been such a comfort to me--it makes me so glad (and not at all surprised) that people are finding their way to HNTFUYF in droves. You are the best kind of influencer. BRAVA!
Great writing as always 😊. Thank you Val.
Have to add that I loved your reference to "Hungry Ghosts" which is Chinese Buddhist concept. Something I grew up with! https://www.lionsroar.com/what-are-hungry-ghosts/
Val! I am the Empress Blepharitis!
had to go with an Erythromycin Opthalmic antibiotic to clear it up. (All the gentle eyelid cleaning just irritated the HELL out of and I lost a bunch of lashes!)
I am still not clear yet!
Haha, no sweat. We are sisters, she the youngest, and between us a brother. We both are great fans!
"For better or worse, that focus seems to be what we’re marketing here at HNTFUYF. I hope you’re buying it."
Amen to this!