You know those days. Those philosophical wormhole days. Those days you glare at your reflection in the mirror. Those days your brain won’t shut up about itself.
“How did I become this way? Do others think I’ve changed much? Have I always had that freckle?”
Typically I try to avoid such melodramatic thoughts while staring into my own face, but the other day I couldn’t help it. After a particularly wonderful night’s rest, I was disappointed to note the presence of bags under my eyes. Really? Still? But I slept! I wonder how long those bags have been there… what life choices have I made that led to endless under-eye bags?
So I decided to look. I did a not-so-quick scroll through samples of pictures from all walks of life. Grad school… obviously. Under-eye bags are non-negotiable. Undergrad, yep. I was sort of a workaholic. Senior class trip: well, yes, but I was too excited to sleep so it makes total sense, right? Further back into high school and junior high and still seeing a trend of puffy baggy eyes, I started wondering if my penchant for avoiding sleep was causing my condition.
This really is a topic of conversation for another day, but you see, I really dislike sleep. And I really dislike that I need it so desperately. Perhaps one of my greatest fears in life is that I will miss something (my nightmares center on this theme, much like Hermione Granger’s boggart in The Prisoner of Azkaban), and there’s no easier way to miss something than if you sleep through it. I began to think this way when I was a child hiding books under the covers after Mom turned out the light. And I’ve been actively avoiding sleep whenever it feels physically possible ever since.
So, armed with this dilemma that perhaps I created my own less-than-pleasing situation, I delved further back into family relics. But what I discovered surprised me. Five-year-old, 4-year-old, even toddler and baby pictures all confirmed the same thing: I’ve always had baggy eyes. Simply always. It’s genetic. True, at points (read: student teaching and grad school) the bagginess has been pushed to extreme, but when a 2-year-old has puffy bags under her eyes (and hasn’t recently been crying), the problem is not with her.
I guess it’s a bit of a relief to know that no matter what I do, the bags won’t really go away. I can refuse sleep in peace knowing my appearance isn’t a result of my choices (just kidding, I definitely need more sleep). But at the same time, we all like to have some modicum of control over our own appearance, right? Right. And I must admit it’s true that exercise and less stress and a healthy skincare regimen and yes, sleep, all contribute to a happier, less-droopy face. I only wish I could accomplish all that and still have 24 hours with which to fill my day.
I’d like to wrap up with a significant statement on self-esteem or quality of life, but honestly, I just wanted to write about how I have puffy, baggy, squinty eyes, and now I’m okay with that. End of story.
All right, all right, a brief moral: Do you have an aspect of your life (or appearance) that drives you into a wormhole of reflection? Give in just once: reflect objectively on the facts and, if you need to make a change, make that change! But then move on. Life is too short to be philosophizing over your own face.