I laughed out loud when I heard this phrase the other day during a podcast. There were more than a few chuckles that came from the other women in the group. It surprised me when the presenter used this as an example of how we see ourselves, then quickly added, “choose the bangs option.” This reminded me of my recent choice to fix what I perceived as a flaw.
While at the dermatologist’s office for my annual mole check, I was offered “Birthday Botox.” Before the doctor hit the last syllable of that youth-inducing miracle in a syringe; I was in. “Yes!” I squealed with as much excitement as winning a prize, giving zero consideration to what I was about to put in my body. Take the wrinkles and the worry lines away, please!
Well, no sooner did the injections start that I regretted my decision. It didn’t hurt, just a pin-prick, no big deal. What I never gave any thought to is the possibility of a physical reaction. I am someone who has a reaction to every medication. I’m good for a few side effects listed on the prescription drug pamphlet the pharmacist hands out.
On this day, I was just excited for smoother skin. I’m going to look 10 years younger, yippee! Well hold on there, it does cost a good amount of money; didn’t care. I pondered that for less than a second, it’s my birthday, let’s do this!
As she finished with the last spot on my face my tongue suddenly felt weird, followed by uncomfortable swallowing in my throat, then my blood pressure hit numbers reserved for running uphill with ankle weights on, in the sand. Panic began to set in as my vision started to narrow, this can’t be good, I thought.
She is a great doctor, I’ve been going to her for years. Her office has treated me for skin cancer and I trust her. Did she adequately inform me of the possible side effects? No. If she had, would I have listened? Probably not. I don’t think a lot of doctors really know fully, every patient is different. She was however prepared, and the scary reaction subsided in about 20 minutes.
During this time, all I could think about was seeing my family again and why I thought I really needed this. I was sort of scared but reminded myself this procedure has been performed safely for some time. Then dark thoughts crept into my brain What if this shit kills me? When I’m laid out for everyone to pay their respects, will they file by and say, “She looks good…no crepe skin, not a wrinkle to be had! She must have had work,” in whisper tones. Super vain, I know.
Over the next couple of weeks, I experienced a host of reactions that I felt may be related to the injections. In the positive column; I received a ton of compliments; “Wow, what are you doing? You look great!” My response, “Celery juice, it’s amazing.” Celery juice is unbelievable but it’s not as effective. So now I wasn’t forthcoming about the work I had done. In the negative column; a received a black eye from hitting a vein during the procedure, random swelling that closed my eyes shut on two occasions, then would disappear in a day and come back again for whatever the reason, and panic attacks. After two weeks these annoyances were gone, and I had flawless, dewy skin, that I loved.
The next appointment was scheduled out four months, it’s addicting the doctor warns because the results are so fantastic. During this time between appointments, I just enjoyed the youthful look. As the next round got closer, I started to relive in my mind the side effects I had experienced. Is this worth it? That was tough to answer. Then I started to research what I was about to put in my body again. The Internet is filled with information, along with before and after photos. Still, I loved the results. Since my physical reaction wasn’t that great, I decided to cancel two weeks before I was to get it done again.
Where Can I find Balance?
This episode made me analyze why was I so willing to do this? Many thoughts ran through my head: Why am I afraid of looking my age or having my age be an issue to me? It may be a confidence issue because all those compliments definitely were a boost to my self-esteem. So, I decided to go in a different direction with the aging process that is smacking me in the face; acceptance.
I took note of women I admire. What made them glow and comfortable in their skin? I conjured up examples of women in the national spotlight who have embraced their oncoming years, poised and confident, and others who I know personally doing the same. I mindfully started to look around to answer that question; what makes aging comfortable for me?
I am not ruling out medical intervention in the future, nor do I want to dissuade others for taking this path. My motives needed reviewing and I want to get my head and heart around that, before making future decisions on the matter. I don’t want to look in the mirror anymore and state out loud, “Gee, I need to fix this,” while stretching my skin upwards from the corners of my mouth.
I came up with an attainable plan, for now. The bangs option in life is accepting with grace where we stand in the moment. I know the wrinkles are there and I can either pull my hair back and show the world, or brush the wispy pieces of hair across my forehead, the choice is all mine.
My Plan for Aging:
- Eating habits. Eliminating inflammatory foods like processed food and reduce my sugar intake. I am a vegan, but there is processed vegan junk food, too.
- Working out with weights. I am older, walking is great but good bone health is very sexy, so are muscles.
- Self-care. Staying on top of good skin care with clean choices. Review of products that contain toxic chemicals and toss. Replace with items that are non-toxic, good for the environment and animals. Oh, and more sleep.
- Mental Health. Time with God in prayer, meditation, and yoga. Embracing acceptance and celebrating where I am now.
- Getting Creative. I have started a crafting corner in my house, a place to paint and create.
- Reading. I joined a book club which is forcing me to read fiction, as I am a self-help book junkie.
- Self-affirmation. Instead of all the things I don’t like about myself, time to reaffirm all the things I do. This builds confidence.
- Journaling. A daily log of what I am grateful for.
- Nature. Nothing is better than a walk in the woods or being one with nature on the beach. Great for a positive outlook.
- Support. Finding others who enjoy the same activities, I do, is something I am working on. I have joined vegan meetups, lady’s prayer groups, book clubs and now I am researching a spiritual hike called a Camino, along the coast of Portugal to celebrate a milestone birthday. (I’m not telling you which one, but it does sort of rhyme with Trixie.)