Aug 7 • 6M

I Kinda Hate My Younger Self

And I don't think I realized it until today.

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This 28-year-old girl had a lot on her plate. Need to work on being kinder to her.

Hey,

The other week I revealed that I do a little botox and filler periodically. (Ooooh…🤪) I don’t really think of it as making me look younger per say, but rather a more…polished version of my 50-year-old self. I’m not sure anyone actually looks younger when they do cosmetic dermatology, but when it’s done well it’s like a blow-out for your face if you like that sort of thing.

TBH, I don’t really want to look younger. I kind prefer the way I look now.

Or is it that I prefer the way I feel now and so there’s an acceptance of how I look? I don’t even like listening to my voice from when I was an Editor-in-Chief much the less looking at pictures of myself. There was a level of inauthenticity that is palpable to me. Like there’s this Charlie Rose interview I did where I’m sitting there talking about how amaaaaaazing it was to have so many of our relatives living with us when I was a kid – painting a very rosy immigrant family picture for Charlie’s audience. Meanwhile, I was being molested every day after school by one of those same relatives. I was fully aware of that truth while I was talking on the show…but it was like a faint little voice deep down in the well of my unexplored interiority.

The other day, I came across my Forbes 40 Under 40 portrait online. (See above) Even though at 28 I was…well…28, for goodness sakes, I wouldn’t trade being 50 for that in a million years. Authenticity looks better…sounds better…feels better. My friend David is reading this, rolling his eyes and saying, “I told you, you’re responding negatively to the thinner eyebrow trend!” But boom. That’s exactly my point.

Trends are these little off-roading experiments on our pathway toward self-discovery. In my 20s (and even 30s), I was constantly trying on different versions of myself. Like once, when I was a Fashion Assistant, Sam Fine, the celebrity makeup artist, and I were playing around at a photoshoot, and he decided to pluck off my eyebrows completely. I felt ready to walk onto a Vogue Italia shoot with Steven Meisel. (I know, being modest was never my forte.) But when I actually place myself inside 22-year-old Atoosa’s body, I realize I didn’t even really see what I actually looked like. I just envisioned myself being one step closer to some ideal Out There: In this case, my fashion idol, Kristen McMenemy, who removed her eyebrows for the Anna Sui Spring 1993 fashion show when I was a senior in college. So, when I look at myself with that still-growing-in-years-later-brow, I definitely cringe. I wonder how you will feel about this brow lamination phase in 20 years. You’ll have to find me at my old age home in Naples and let me know, please.

Kristen McMenamy in that epic 1993 Anna Sui shows.

And it makes me curious: What’s the fine line between loving fashion and beauty and not loving yourself?

When I look at the Kardashians, they’re almost interchangeable with each other and many other celebrities these days. This wasn’t the case when they were younger. And btw, I kinda fit in this category, too. I mean…not that I look like a Kardashian. But the “polishing” of my face with cosmetic dermatology makes me look more generic…more easily palatable than I did years ago. If I went ahead and got veneers on my teeth and pumped up the fillers, I probably actually could pass for a Kardashian aunt. Which makes me think, perhaps what I’m reacting to in my old pictures are my natural and more exaggerated Persian features. This is obviously very upsetting to me.

As my insides are getting more authentic, are my outsides becoming less so? As I type this I’m wondering if I’m just kidding myself that what makes me cringe about the old pictures is some level of inauthenticity. Maybe I’m just judging the not-as-put-together style of a young person with less resources and time to spend on beauty.

It's complicated, isn’t it?

Hard to know what’s true which usually means they both are. Yes, today I’m more connected with my interior life and as a result, I don’t need to experiment as much with my exterior. It takes me less than two minutes to put my face on and I basically have ten versions of the same jeans & t-shirt that I wear every day. And I’m realizing now in this letter to you that I’ve been using my old self as a punching bag. I make fun of my old pictures, take responsibility for way more than my own share of bullshit from the past, and just generally throw darts at a young woman who went through a shit ton of stuff as a kid and still woke up every day committed to helping other girls avoid that same fate. Can I be more compassionate toward this younger version of myself? I’ve been so focused on being gentle with myself today – and honestly? I nailed it. I really do exercise self-love and compassion. But now I need to send some metta to my younger self to balance out this more insidious form of self-hatred that seems to have snuck in.

Paid subscribers can scroll down to see my two-minutes-to-ready makeup products, my daily uniform and a link to the Charlie Rose interview I’m referencing above in case you, too, want to send a little love to young Atoosa who truly was doing the very best that she could. And wherever you’re at in your journey, please remember that you’re doing your best, too. Take it easy on yourself and all your past iterations. Here for you 24/7, as always, at atoosa@atoosa.com.

xo, atoosa

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