On vanity


When I was about 10 years old, my grandma offered to pay for me to get a nose job. I was a funny looking kid: basically a pimply face and giant nose on top of a stick body. I was made fun of a lot and I think she was just trying to be nice in her evil Jewish grandma way.

Thankfully, my face grew into my nose (no surgery required!) and as I grew up I became more comfortable with my appearance. In general, I am happy with being an average looking gal with a good personality and a nice body. I would rather be known as funny or smart than pretty. Buuuut, there are bits of insecurity still running around in my head, mostly in reference to growing old. I don’t know why, but I have always been petrified of getting old. I may have inherited it from my nose-job-suggesting grandma, who has had more cosmetic surgery than anyone I know. Or maybe I just (falsely) equate getting old with fragility and lack of freedom. Makes no sense, I know, especially when you consider my mom, a 61 year old badass who just became a crossfit level one coach.

And then I started my current job as office manager for a functional medicine MD who also practices aesthetics. In addition to learning about medicine, I have been confronted with Botox, juvederm (facial filler), and laser procedures. All things that, before I started this job, I associated with The Real Housewives of Wherever the Fuck and my evil grandma. There was no way this hippie granola girl would inject toxins into her face.

And then I get this job, and all of a sudden I have to try to reconcile my views on cosmetic enhancement with my fears of looking old. People all around me are getting these procedures, including the Dr whom I so admire and patients I adore. The wrinkles on my forehead start to annoy the hell out of me. The discolorations from old acne scars and years of working in the sunshine cannot be hidden by makeup (which I hate wearing).

So, here is where I am now on growing old. We all know growing old is not for sissies. You have to stay active, eat well, stimulate your mind, get quality sleep…. And you have to be happy and feel good about yourself. All things I plan on doing. In the paleo world, I get the sense that I may be frowned upon for taking extra steps to feel comfortable with aging. But, I have. Taken extra steps, that is. And I feel I have to own it. I have this feeling that women being ashamed and hiding aesthetic procedures does nothing for us. I think those who are all natural should be proud, but I feel that there is nothing wrong with not being natural, either. I think we all have the right to do (or not do) whatever we want with our bodies.

As of now, I have gotten a couple rounds of Botox and I love no longer having to stare at the damn wrinkles on my forehead. And just this week, I got a laser resurfacing, a fairly serious procedure that, in the short term, has left me looking like I was dragged behind a bus. In the long term, it will minimize the dish-sized pores that have always plagued my nose, enhance collagen production, get rid of fine lines, and make my face a smoother, happier place. I don’t ever foresee getting actual surgery, but I never foresaw getting Botox, so who knows what the future will hold.

I am not sure what my point is in writing this, maybe to start a dialog. Do you think there is something wrong with “enhancements,” and, if so, why? Am I setting us back as women by succumbing to society’s definition of beauty and what beauty should look like as we age? (And, by the way, working in an aesthetic clinic, I have seen a fair share of men get Botox, etc, so this is not all about women).

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2 Responses to On vanity

  1. Eggkins says:

    I believe that what a woman and her doctor decide is a woman’s business and no one else. That applies to any medical treatment. I think that if we have an opportunity to look our best we should take it. We are not all born with perfect genetics and thus should take external assistance when ever we can. A little tweak, a little tweak there. Even Nicole Kidman doesn’t look like Nicole Kidman without a doctor’s help.

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