B is for Botox: Thoughts on Aging & Beauty
A recent visit to a cosmetic dermatologist has turned my thoughts upside down.
In case anyone cares, I went to get a broken blood vessel zapped, and potentially have a mole removed. What I left with though, was more than that, mentally.
In my life, I have often said that I felt as if plastic surgery is playing into the constructs that society has laid out for women, and these constructs are not our friends. Images of beauty are laid out fairly clearly for women: symmetrical face proportions, small upturned noses, wide-but not too wide set eyes, full lips, large breasts, small waist and hips, long thin legs, and lean body fat.
I could go on about hair type as well, but I won’t for now.
Think about all the celebrities and young women who have drastically changed their appearances using plastic surgery. Think of the countless ads, photos, articles, television shows, and movies that tell us each day: we need to look younger and be prettier.
Men are not immune to this anymore as they once were, what with the influx of products targeted and made for men, but still the spotlight does not shine as bright on men as it burns on women.
There has been many a day in which I did not feel pretty at all. Today is one of those days. I had these days when I was 15, when I was 25, and now in my thirties as well. Maybe it’s because I am tired and stressed. Maybe it’s because I get shown very little appreciation? Whatever the case, this is something I write about, yet battle.
While I successfully avoided anyone (so far) buying a silly vanity toy for my 2.5 year old daughter, (does she really need to learn so early how critical a mirror and lipstick can be in the world of females? Hell no) I am the same person who left the cosmetic dermatologist certain that for my next birthday, I will inject myself with Botox.
When I was 28, I saw a plastic surgeon for a consult on fixing my nose.
He grabbed my face in his hands and looked patiently at my mug. It was a very long minute right there.
“Honestly, you’re an attractive woman. You don’t really need anything done, other than if you like, I can get rid of the small bump on your nose. Once I do that, I wouldn’t need to do anything else. It would still retain the look of your natural nose. You wouldn’t be drastically different in appearance.”
It was as best as I could expect to hear: I wasn’t all that ugly, but a little modifying would help me feel better.
I didn’t do it not because I felt I didn’t need it, but because I was afraid of the pain of the surgery.
I still kick myself for not doing it, yet at the same time I am proud that at least half of the females in my family did not change themselves using plastic surgery.
When you’re confronted with that ratio, it makes living with yourself a bit harder. If you’ve ever had or have or are a sister, you know what sister rivalry is like and how it plays out.
It’s subconscious and unspoken, unless of course, someone gets mad at the other person and drops a psychological bomb.
So when I spoke to the dermatologist about my concerns he said, “You look good, but would be a good candidate for Botox.”
Now, I imagine he tells that to most people over 30 because this is what he does all day long: botox, botox, and more botox. Still, it sucks to not only know he’s probably right, but also to think that I don’t know, I’m really not that bad.
I see people I went to high school with—not my friends— but people in passing who look pretty awful. Obese or terribly aged. It’s terrible for me to even comment like that, but just being honest. I don’t see that in myself and get pinned for being much younger, but it doesn’t matter.
Ever since the visit, all I can do is vacillate between fear of injecting toxins into my head, and knowing how good the women in his office looked without looking unnatural. I have to say, the doctor’s work was good. Not obvious at all. I could see why his practice is so successful.
I just wish that I could freeze time and stay how I am and not change. While I hate little dolls that have wedding themes for my child, princess stories that make girls look helpless, and men who make more money than women when they shouldn’t simply because of their cocks, I also don’t want to grow old gracefully. I don’t want to look like a freakshow, but I don’t want to grow old.
I don’t find it comforting. I find it scary and I find it sad. I don’t think of how I will have enough money when I am “old” to travel as I like or rest. I can’t see that far ahead. I can only see today.
And I hate that about me. I hate that I am more vain than I ought to be or is healthy for me. Maybe if I had more of the passion that I want in my life I might be able to put these aside—I’m a pretty passionate and open person—but it is hard to love the skin I am in, and all that other self-love mumbo jumbo that’s corny, cliché, but true.
I’m not sure if I will step up to the needle or not next year for my birthday—it’s not a relevant birthday, but was just some goal I had in my head—but I know that whether I do or not, it’s the discourse and emotions around the topic that really matters. Maybe we should all talk about it more. Considering I am raising a girl, it seems it’s about time I did.