Shortly after my grandmother’s cancer diagnosis in the late 90s, my sister, Heather, and I made an admittedly rare appearance in church.
As we sat in a pew in Carlisle, Pennsylvania waiting for mass to start, I pinched what I could of my forehead. “I just wish my head would stop hurting,” I said, “It feels like…”
“A crinkle headache,” Heather responded.
“Crinkle.” She couldn’t have found a more perfect word. My furrowed brow, the vertical lines on my scrunched up forehead stressed from worrying about whatever was coming next, created every ounce of that pain.
Since then, I have been well aware of my crinkles.
When I feel the lines forming, I close my eyes, bow my head, take a deep breath and try to iron them out with the tips of my fingers.
Most of the time, the crinkles last only as long as the stress, but these days, there is one line that runs horizontally at the bridge of my nose. It’s deep and well-defined, stubbornly resistant to the Oil of Olays of the world.
It’s that very line that for the first time actually made me consider Botox. I glared that crinkle down in the mirror face-to-face every day and snarled at it when I caught it in passing reflections.
Then one day, that passing reflection chose to reveal my crinkle’s secret rather than taunt me with it.
I could finally see that it was born and raised from big teethy smiles the and full-on belly laughter – the kind of laughter that leaves you struggling for breath and holding back tears.
And how brilliant that it is the one line that seems to be the most permanent.
It was then that I realized… some lines don’t need to be filled in with Botox or ironed out with the tips of my fingers.