Kindness Is A Skincare Product

A few days ago, the term “skincare product” was trending online for the simple reason that digital denizens deigned that it must be so. Reliably, mixed in with actual (and helpful) skincare product reviews and suggestions were hilarious proposals. Some of my favorites include:

Ronke Lawal is a British PR management and image consultant who said this:

Ronke’s consistent delivery of these sorts of witty observations turned me into one of her many ardent followers years ago. When it comes to public image, Ronke is part adviser, part soothsayer. She has an uncanny knack for accuracy with regards to predictions. I’ve seen the evidence of her magic wizardry in my own life, and not too long after she delivered this tweet.

We are back in the US. (Yes, I am just as surprised as you are that we have returned so soon after our 36-hour journey in January. As circumstances dictate, I find myself (grudgingly) in the presence of relatives whose company I have previously only constructed enough endurance to entertain during the 2 hours at Christmas convention compels. Over the weekend, I spent an additional hour of that allotment with a relative who tormented me all of my childhood, most of my adolescence and reliably on the two occasions I encountered her during my adulthood. She called me every name you could imagine.



So fat that I must be pregnant.

Would be much smarter if only I would…

Would never financially prosper because I refused to embrace entrepreneurship. (If I liked her more, I’d tell her a joke about that one.)

The details about why I had to meet up with her are not important, but as each of my children hugged her, she wasted no time in making a snide remark in their regard. She refused to call my son, Stone, by his proper name, insisting on calling him “boulder”. She talked about my 14-year-old daughter’s acne. I withheld my embrace until she made a great show of asking for one. When I relented, tepidly, she drew back and exclaimed, “Oh! You’re a big girl now huh?”

“Yes. I’m 41,” I replied, intentionally obtuse.

This made her cackle and say almost with a jeer, “Oh. Ohhh! You mean your age. I thought you meant your clothing size.” 

Comments like this are why I have not reached out to this woman in over a decade.

“Yeah,” I shrugged.

One of the benefits of being a 41-year-old woman is that you are beyond the point of internalizing unkind remarks about your external physical appearance. My 14-year-old did not fare so well after that encounter. She has taken to scrubbing her face aggressively since.

While this relative was making a great show of pointing out everyone else’s flaws (in what I’m sure she thought was a ‘humorous and helpful’ manner) – a characteristic she has held for as long as I’ve known her – I took stock of her face and was frankly horrified. This was a woman who has spent most of her 70 plus years making fun of people, delivering unkind words with the ease of a pamphlet carrying Jehovah’s Witness in a retirement community, who had obviously not taken a good look in a mirror in many years. Frankly, she looked terrifying. Her face was a ruin. Karma had come back and bitch slapped her night after night and left evidence of her rancor on her face, permanently. I couldn’t bear to look at her for more than a few seconds at a time.

This mask from Party City is easier on the eyes, if you can imagine.

In contrast have another relative who is a just a two years younger than she, also in her 70s. Her skin, like her heart, is calm. There is no roughness to it. She has always had a kind and encouraging word to offer anyone, whether she’s known you for half and hour or half her life. People are eager to help her. An inconvenience in her aid is a considered a privilege. If there was ever evidence that kindness is the ultimate skincare routine or product, she is it.

That’s it. That’s all I have to say. I just wanted to let you all know that I am back in the US and that I saw a woman whose ugliness of heart finally caught up with her face. That said, if you have a propensity for cruelty and intend on living into your 70s, now is the time to give that ish up. Drink lots of water, practice repeating words of affirmation and be nice to people so that you won’t have cause to frighten children and wildlife.