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Middle Age Beauty
Soulful Secrets From a Former Face Model Living Botox Free in her Forties
By Machel Shull
John Hunt Publishing Ltd.Copyright © 2013 Machel Shull
All rights reserved.
Do Tell the Truth about Your Age. After All, It's Only a Number
I went to a party at the beginning of the holidays last year in The Crosby, which just happens to be a gated community with many wealthy residents. This is not an important factor. I am just trying set the scene for you. Marble floors, opulent chandeliers, tight dresses, stiletto heels and yuletide greetings buzzing around me as I entered onto the scene.
You see, I write a column in a newspaper covering social gatherings. So I am often invited to the lavish parties in the Rancho Santa Fe community. I tend to mingle in and out of this world like bubbles flow inside champagne ... naturally. When one of the lovely mature ladies approached me for conversation, I welcomed her into my space. We then began our small talk quite innocently.
"You look lovely tonight, Machel," Ellen said to me. (Not her real name.)
"Thanks, Ellen. So do you." And, she did. Ellen was a beautiful woman with a slender build and elegant face that put you in mind of Zsa Zsa Gabor.
"Your skin looks amazing."
"You are too sweet," I reply. My skin tends to be my strong suit with my looks. I am not stick thin with fake boobs. But luckily great genetics and a few of my own tricks have kept my skin looking younger than my actual age.
"What do you do?" Ellen asks
"What do you mean?" I ask coyly.
"What have you had done?" Ellen asks.
"Honestly, I haven't done anything to my face. I have some wives' tale-like tricks that work. I keep it simple, you could say."
"Well whatever you are doing it's working, honey."
"Thanks, Ellen." She is being genuine and I have always liked Ellen. "I appreciate the compliment. I am now 41 and I feel good about being natural."
"Oh, Honey, never, never tell anyone how old you are. It's just not necessary," she says with her pretty red lips puckered with a patronizing tone. I don't think that she meant to be rude. Ellen was just trying to educate me on the 'world to come' as an older woman.
That's when I said it. It just flew out of my mouth. I didn't mean to sound so indignant but I think I did slightly, and felt very proud of my response to her. "Ellen, I didn't make it this far to keep my age a secret. I worked too hard to look great to now keep it a secret. Who cares what anyone else thinks." Wow, did you hear that? That remark felt like leaps and bounds for me after crawling past the big four-zero.
With all of the Latisse commercials about how tired we look in our forties you can't really blame Ellen for trying to educate me on the 'point of view' the world has on aging. I have made an active stance on my age. If someone asks, I tell. I don't round off the number or say with a glib expression, "I'm holding at 39." I just knock them dead with the truth. You should try it, too. Telling the truth about your age is liberating. There is something about just being so honest, that most are shocked with your honest response.
The number one 'Do' is to be honest about your age. If you are one of those women that conceal or lie about your age, stop and ask yourself why you are doing it? Isn't it a rather terrible exception we allow as an okay thing to lie about? I know that you can't blame women for maybe fibbing just a little now and then.
Society, friends and peer groups can be downright cruel. As I have learned from my own personal experience, I, too have been taught that I will expire with age. Why with that destructive thought in our heads, why would we not consider at least Do Tell the Truth about Your Age. After All, It's Only a Number making allowances for this one little lie?
This is where we – I mean women as a collective whole – need to work together to change this thought. I say we stop this nonsense now. This is no way to train our children, our daughters and our sons or future generations because we have allowed ourselves to be bullied into feeling like our age might make us seem less attractive or subtract from our self-worth. (If you are honestly telling the truth about your age and over the age of forty you can skip ahead to the next 'Do'. This chapter does not apply to you.)
After the party was over, I went home and slipped into my comfortable flannel pink pajamas. Then I turned on my computer to do some important research. Well, not really like extensive or anything causing me to lose sleep at night; I'm talking like Facebook. I researched my group of peers and noticed a current trend for most women: they hide the year they were born. The month and the day were posted. The year, however, was missing. Then I remembered to check my own profile. Was I guilty, too? And, there it was: February 22, _____ without the year I was born. I quickly changed it. I would no longer be one of those women that remained ageless because I was afraid of a number defining my age.
After that opulent evening of hanging out with the socialites in Rancho Santa Fe, I turned the corner on my own insecurity regarding my age. I actually listed my actual FULL birthday on Facebook. I know. This is not a massive triumph in life. However, just like the author Gregg Braden searching for a better outcome for the Millennium in The Isaiah Effect, I am on a mission to try and reverse women's thinking on why we need to care more about being true to ourselves and worry less about a greedy society that would have us looking like plastic dolls with fake lips.
After this experience, I wanted to dig down deeper and find out from an expert their thoughts on exactly how this one little lie for women can cause irrevocable damage in the long-term for ourselves. So I reached into my roster of phone numbers the next day. I sat and pondered who could I call to find out more answers on what this one little lie can do to a woman's self-esteem. Then I knew whom I would call. Dr. Tess Hightower, my psychiatrist, from my twenties decade.
Well, I know what you might be thinking. This isn't something I ever thought I would brag about. However, I take great pride in 'my younger self' being wise enough to seek counsel when I needed it the most. You see, just like many actresses in Hollywood, I had an acting coach. John Kirby was kind enough to make my introduction to Tess Hightower when I needed some counseling during a pivotal point during my twenties.
On a side note, I must tell you that studying acting is one of the most important gifts that came out of my modeling days. Acting is essentially about studying a character that you are working on for a part, a play, or for a movie. In order to play this part you must know who the character is, which means exploration of your imagination and emotions. Instead of being frightened of my feelings or wanting to numb them with medication, I have always embraced my highs and lows. Acting classes encouraged exploration of feelings, which helped me become more 'in tune' with myself. So when John Kirby told me, "You must see my good friend Tess, I think you will like her," I listened.
Originally growing up on a farm in Missouri in the Ozark Mountains, do think Elly May Clampett from The Beverly Hillbillies here on my part. At this stage in the game I had not become familiar with and did not accept therapy as being 'normal'. I thought I must be crazy if I went to see a doctor regarding my psyche. Since John Kirby was a man I trusted, I grew and matured immensely when I took his advice. I swallowed my fears, gathered my thoughts and walked right up Do Tell the Truth about Your Age. After All, It's Only a Number to her doorstep and into her office.
When I met Tess at first I was shocked. First of all, Tess is beautiful. Do imagine a Grace Kelly type wearing glasses, and elegant, tailored clothes. Dr. Tess was the most grounded and surreal woman I had ever met at this point in my life. Her encouragement of looking within and exploring my fears helped me see how some of my own limited thinking had actually caused my sudden feelings of loss. Although beauty is skin deep, there is no miracle cure in making you feel better about yourself if you are not content on the inside with what is going on in your soul. This part is relevant because meeting Dr. Tess helped me in my footing on my path to Middle Age Beauty.
I met with Dr. Tess off and on over the years for support and guidance, which gave me much insight regarding myself and my relationships to those around me. I managed to work through some of my own insecurities, rebuild my thinking and discover a young girl that still had an idea of what I wanted my life to represent, and how I could make important strides by taking action and real steps to become the woman I always wanted to be.
Life moves forward, years pass but some connections always remain. When I contacted Dr. Tess regarding my search on 'Lying about the age bit' she had her own stories to share with me that reinforced my idea that women should begin a new movement and preach to the mountaintops about their real age like in the days of burning bras, and forgetting those apron days and making stacks of pancakes during the decade of the fifties. I had to dig deeper for answers from someone that knows more about why it's important to be honest about our age always.
Here is my interview with Dr. Tess Hightower regarding the ramifications of lying about your age:
What side effects do you think can happen to a woman's psyche when she lies about her age to others?
Dr. Tess: When women lie to others about their age, what they don't realize is that they are basically lying to themselves. Living in Los Angeles (Beverly Hills) for 62 years, I've seen this so many times. There is such pressure from society not to age. I've even been to funerals where they had an open casket and noticed that this poor deceased person is made-up and dressed up as if they weren't dead. A beautiful woman dies two deaths ... once and when they lose their beauty.
As a psychologist and authority on mental health, do you see a strong correlation with mental health and aging? If one does not seek to learn about their inner self and dynamics of their character – do you feel ultimately an unsound mind can contribute to you aging?
Dr. Tess: For the most part, I find that when men and women are fully engaged in life, doing something they are passionate about, or something that gives their lives meaning, I find that these people are less concerned with the aging process – they are just busy living their lives. All of the above takes care of the inner dynamics – but if all you have to offer is the external – well when that begins to fade, you are in trouble. And yes, if you continually obsess about how you look rather than who you are as a person, it can contribute to mental pathologies.
Do you feel that aging can be related to unhappiness?
Dr. Tess: Of course! For all of the reasons listed above. If all you feel you have to offer is how beautiful you are ... well someone will always come along who is prettier, taller, thinner, tanner and, well as we age, younger! If you are 50 trying to look 30 – my guess is that you will pretty much make yourself unhappy. Stepping outside of yourself and being there for others (such as volunteering) can take years off of your life – that good feeling just oozes out!
Do you feel reaching middle age in your life is actually a wonderful age to be and why?
Dr. Tess: Absolutely! I will be 64 this summer and not so unhappy when I look in the mirror. The best years of my life Do Tell the Truth about Your Age. After All, It's Only a Number were my fifties. I never felt more comfortable in my skin, more sure of my career and of knowing who I am in the world. Oh sure, I have a few more wrinkles and a few more pounds – but my husband tells me I am beautiful! So maybe finding the right partner is part of the key!
Do you have any stories that relate to you personally regarding aging that might be insightful for others?
Dr. Tess: A few years ago, maybe when I was 55 – I had one of those dreaded health check-ups you endure at a certain age in life. I had to be there very early in the morning, I think around 6:00am. So I arrive, in sweats, ponytail on the top of my head, sans makeup of course. The anesthesiologist comes up and begins asking me important medical questions. He then looks at me and says – "You look pretty good, Tess, for 55 – have you had work done?" I'm already grumpy for having to be up so early and have THIS test. I glare at him and say, "No, so far I haven't had the need to cut off half my face and throw it into the trash bin." He began to laugh hysterically, and said, "Oh my God, I love it, I have to go and phone my wife and tell her."
After connecting with Tess, the one quote that sent a shiver down my spine was: "A beautiful woman dies two deaths, once and when they lose their beauty." If this can be true, the most important factor for us in our Middle Age Beauty time is to find meaning and depth to our connections and our purpose here. If beauty will not last forever, maybe there is an important factor of learning to allow our natural beauty to be what it is and do age gracefully. We need to look deeper. Seeking approval from one's self also can alleviate the need to feel validated from a society that may never give us the spotlight and the glamour we were expecting as we grew older.
We don't want to end up like the character Norma Desmond in the infamous Hollywood movie, Sunset Boulevard. Do you remember that eerie ending as Norma, played by Gloria Swanson, descended down the staircase declaring, "I'm ready for my close-up." Unfortunately, life can imitate fiction and the lights can dim on us without warning.
When a moment like that can descend on your thoughts and prey on your own insecurities, remind yourself of this fact. Being your age is actually a miracle. Not everyone makes it to this stage. Sometimes accidents happen. Disease or disaster strikes. Each added day is a blessing. So why not learn to count our age as that – a blessing.
Women, are you ready to start the movement? Are you ready to put behind you those years of concealing and lying about who you are and where you are in your journey? Take the leap of faith. Dare to break the mold. Stand proud and admit your age ... even to yourself. Remember do tell the truth about your age. After all, it's only a number.
Do Say Yes To Your Natural Self. After All, There is Only ONE of You
We sat outside eating leafy green salads under the eucalyptus trees. Five women dressed in designer wear from head to toe enjoyed the perfect sunny weather on the terrace at the fancy inn located in the heart of one of Southern California's desired zip codes.
Each woman wore their own form of sunblock: A hat, SPF 70 by Neutrogena, Oil of Olay 15 Daily lotion or just heavy anti-aging cover-up makeup that shielded their skin during the lunch hour. The conversation ranged from designer purses, husbands, children's accolades, to last but not least ... Botox.
That's usually when I turn to glance at the trees in a casual manner. Almost as if I am in deep thought like I am studying the roots of the eucalyptus trees and trying to determine why they grow so close to the surface here in Rancho Santa Fe. Could there be a correlation? Then I check my purse to make sure no one can see my one dollar anti-aging secret I always carry in my purse, which isn't Louis Vuitton or Prada. Think more along the lines of Kenneth Cole, Franco Sarto. I can find these brands at the budget stores and feel almost decent enough to sit under the sun with the rest of my friends displaying Gucci and Prada bags.
They never ask me. You know, about the Botox thing. This is when I become the invisible one. My girlfriends know that I do not use it. Sometimes I'll quip just to sound like part of the conversation so I can fit in to the air surrounding me in my tightly-knit support group of friends: "I know, I may need it and will definitely use some in the future." Meanwhile, I know that this is not true. I am falling prey to wanting to feel the seal of approval of the Botox clique that can be found in almost any town in America.
That is when I check my handbag to make sure my secret is not exposed. My secret doesn't sound as glamorous as Botox. You might think it's even ridiculous when you find out. I don't. Why? Because it works. I will reveal in Part Three my one dollar secret that even makes it through the tight airport security checks and will not be confiscated from you before you board your flight to your amazing destination. No kidding. I will devote one entire chapter to this subject later. For now let's return back to the five women and their leafy green salads.
The conversation drifts from Kim Kardashian to why adding layers to your body can make you look fat when you should always try and look thin.
I enjoyed our surroundings under the bright blue sky, taking in the frivolousness of our conversation. Sometimes it's nice to be distracted, relax and think of the prettier things that can give us temporary satisfaction. You know, that quick fix like that right designer lipstick or perfect pedicure nail color that you would only reveal to your inner circle because you don't mind sharing beauty secrets.
Excerpted from Middle Age Beauty by Machel Shull. Copyright © 2013 Machel Shull. Excerpted by permission of John Hunt Publishing Ltd..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Dear Readers 3
The 3 Dos 9
Chapter 1 Do Tell the Truth about Your Age 10
Interview with Dr. Tess Hightower 14
Chapter 2 Do Say Yes To Your Natural Self. After All, There is Only ONE of You 18
Chapter 3 Do One Act a Day for Yourself that Brings You Inner Joy 23
Part 1 Your Soul 29
Chapter 4 Important Questions for the Soul 30
Interview with MJ Rolek, Author of Mental Fitness 33
Chapter 5 Visualize What You Want To Be 37
Chapter 6 Find Time To Make New Friends 42
Chapter 7 Moments Like Seinfeld 48
Chapter 8 Are You In Touch with Your Leadership Skills? 53
Interview with Dr. Anthony F. Smith, Author of Taboos of Leadership
Chapter 9 Be Optimistic with Your Thoughts 59
Chapter 10 Soul Mate? Yes or No? 64
Chapter 11 Create a 'Rocky Like Moment' Three Times a Week 69
Chapter 12 The Three Somethings 73
Chapter 13 Rescue a Pet 79
Chapter 14 Dream without Limits 83
Chapter 15 Meditation versus Botox 87
Part 2 Your Health 93
Chapter 16 Your Health 94
Chapter 17 Life Giving Molecule: Melatonin 98
Interview with Dr. Russel J. Reiter, co-author of Melatonin 102
Chapter 18 Apple Cider Vinegar: Nature's Healing Miracle 104
Interview with Dr. Patricia Bragg 106
Chapter 19 Take Swimsuit Pictures Once a Year 110
Chapter 20 Weigh In with Yourself 114
Interview with New York Times Bestselling Author, Dr. Mike Moreno - The 17 DAY DIET 116
Chapter 21 Easy Diet Tips and Food Suggestions That Can Help You Manage Your Weight 121
Chapter 22 Goodbye Sophistication, Hello Smaller Waistline 126
Chapter 23 The One, Shot You Need: Vitamin B Shots 132
Interview with N.D. Dr. Kim Kelly, Health Specialist 133
Chapter 24 Why 15 Minutes or Less Can Help You Work Out More 137
Chapter 25 Omega 3 and Fish Oil Pills 142
Interview with New York Health Expert and Nutritionist Lauren Antonucci 145
Part 3 Your Beauty 147
Chapter 26 Your Beauty 148
Chapter 27 Develop Your Persona 152
Chapter 28 My Secret Weapon in Fighting Wrinkles 158
Chapter 29 Pressure to Feel Beautiful? Should We or Shouldn't We? 164
Chapter 30 What is Your Weekly Beauty Regimen? 169
Chapter 31 Nature Hikes Help You Connect with Your Inner Beauty 172
Chapter 32 ICON Chic 175
Chapter 33 Think PINK! 181
Chapter 34 Keep Fashion Simple 186
Chapter 35 Beauty Product Tips 188