My Three-Way Mirror Confessions

A birthday prompted her to create her own extreme makeover, but the "end" results offered unexpected surprises.

by Andrea Prado • More.com Member { View Profile }
Andrea Prado

  

We have all read the famous Thoreau quote: "Happiness is like a butterfly. The more you chase it, the more it will elude you. But if you turn your attention to other things, it will come and sit softly on your shoulder." As far as today, this specific "beauty" butterfly that I’m going to tell you about has been flying around me for a few years but has yet to come and sit on my shoulder.

It all started this last New Year’s Day before getting ready for the big party, that I sat by the ocean to write my goals, like I do every year. Don’t ask me why, but this year I decided that for my 42nd birthday I was going to look better, skinnier, and fitter than I have every looked in my 41 years. I assume this "masochistic illusion" did not hit me for my 40th birthday since I was so busy planning the biggest birthday bash this small country where I live has ever experienced. After a rough childhood and a very beautiful adult life, I have made a habit of celebrating every single event with passion, and my 40th birthday was like a landmark for me.

Fast forward a year and a half later: an early menopause, which I now know is called ‘perimenopause,’ 20 extra pounds, a closet full of clothes I could not fit into, a lifelong subscription to five fashion magazines, and the daily tuning of certain extreme makeover shows on TV. That specific day as I was facing the ocean during what was supposed to be a very relaxing and Zen way to welcome the new year, I instead was mapping out month-by-month a master plan. A devilish plan that would make me look exactly like the other girls I grew up with who look like us at our age — you know, my friends Brooke Shields, Cindy Crawford, and Christy Brinkley. I have seen them evolve in beautiful 40-something’s during our cover-to-cover monthly get togethers.

Add to that the fact that in this small country where I live we spend every single weekend at a waterfront destination, surrounded by all of our friends and with with my lower body being displayed with the latest fashion in XL bikini bottoms. So now you know, my basic problem is and has been for 42 years my lower body, which was so hard to look at every day in my specially built three-way mirror. And if that wasn’t enough, you could say that the pressure of having a drop-dead gorgeous 65-year-old mother, who is by the way writing a book on beauty, was like the icing on top of my bulging hips.

Four months into the new year, and it seemed that the more I tried or the more money I spent to undo the effects of the years, my love for the sun, and my new BFF Perry, as in perimenopause, the worst I seemed to look in the mirror every morning. Not even the new prescription hormones that Perry was giving me seemed to help with my uncontrollable hair, bulging hips and the fact that every morning I looked in my three-way mirror and saw, not my mother’s, but my grandmother’s image! And that image stayed with me during the whole day, robbing me of the best moments with my family and my girlfriends, the real ones! 

So just as my TV addiction suggested, I went extreme! It all started with an extreme change in hair color. I went red and loved it. But my daughters thought I looked like The Little Mermaid, and my towels turned pink, and my hair hated it. In order to protect my new ravishing, dehydrated red hair during my sunny weekends, I had to buy some extreme red moisturizers and sun protectors, and one of them, a very expensive one, burned my hair to the point that it looked like the hair that grows in corn! And talking about hair, I also followed my friend Brooke’s advise and started pouring a very expensive liquid on my eyelashes every night. It seemed like my morning and evening beauty routines kept escalating in time, leaving me less and less time to spend with the family evenings, not to mention the couple’s rituals.

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