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January 26th, 2009 No Comments

**This is in no way a promotion or medical analysis.  Below is my thought process and opinion on the current views of cosmetic procedures.

Let me first say, I’m hesitant to write this post.  The haters have been getting to me lately, but I refuse to let them make me feel ashamed of my choices.  I only have one major regret in my life at this point, and it has nothing to do with this topic.

The purpose of this post is to give you my perspective on women’s image issues and try to understand why there is a stigma attached to maintaining your appearance.  I care about how I look, why is that shameful?  To some extent, we are all vain; that’s how we have been socialized.  As for me, I’m in the public sphere so you would expect I care a little bit more than most about my appearance.  But at the same time, I always post pictures of me at the gym, running around in sweats, and with no makeup.  Why? Because that’s real and I don’t care to pretend I’m perfect.

Cosmetic procedures are particularly noteworthy when it comes to judging women.  “Why get them?  Be happy with who you are and how you look,” people demand.  In my opinion, this is a “To each her own” and social tolerance issue.

To Each Her Own

Even if you are confident with your body, soul, and mind, we are always looking to better ourselves in different ways.  From reading a book to educate ourselves on a certain topic, to adopting a healthier diet for our well-being, to traveling to explore new cultures, to getting an injection to look younger, these are all efforts to improve ourselves.  Some are respected, others not so much.

We should be allowed to choose how we evolve our lives without the judgement of others. If we ask for your opinion, please feel free to be open and honest, but otherwise, keep your trap shut.

Let’s take breast implants as an example.  At first, they had a stigma too.  No one would confess their boobs were fake.  Now women are proud to not only admit to this procedure, but some women will also rave about their doctors and ask you if you would like to feel his/her handiwork.  Furthermore, as the NY Times pointed out the other day, boobs are now a standard high school graduation gift (and in my experience they have been for years now).  Breast implants are now socially acceptable.  I’m not a fan, but it’s my body. You make the decision on what you would like to do with yours. Period.

Social Tolerance

I site Roe v. Wade because it serves as a marker of people accepting (maybe not respecting) a woman’s right to choose.  Although abortion is still an issue at the forefront, it’s notable the Supreme Court recognized women should be able to do what they feel is right for themselves.

Cosmetic procedures should be viewed in the same light.  Not to mention the procedures are in no way effecting another human being, so the severity of the issue is considerably less.  But as with breast implants, time will have to pass before others view cosmetic procedures as acceptable.  I won’t say “the norm” because I do think artificial enhancement should carry with it serious consideration before you undergo any sort of procedure.  Other things like manicures and pedicures, dental work, highlighting your hair, are all “procedures” that are completely unnatural but we consider normal.

What Does This Have To Do With You, Mary?

You know I’ve had Restylane injections around my mouth, and some of you know I’ve had Botox injected once a long time ago.  What you don’t know is that last year I decided to begin getting Botox injections again in my forehead.

Honestly, I was ashamed to admit it.  I could hear the rants in my head, “You’re only 26! Why are you injecting chemicals into your body? Be happy with who you are!”

But in my opinion, and very close friends concurred, the wrinkles in my forehead and between my eyebrows were continuing to deepen as the years passed.

I first had Botox at the age of 23 in an effort to stop the oncoming ditches.  I had been using Stri-Vectin in an effort to lift the lines, but my muscles were too strong for a cream.  So I had the procedure done and LOVED the effect.  I had used a few gift certificates to help me pay the $900 fee, but after 6 months rolled around and it was time for round two, the bill was too steep.  I couldn’t afford to maintain the Botox so the wrinkles continued to get worse.

Last year, when I was in Dr. Bobby’s office for the Restylane, he suggested I might want to reconsider.  Friends and family agreed that it was a luxury, but I should seriously think about it.  So I took a good look in the mirror.  My face below my eyebrows looked 24 (in my opinion), but my forehead was at least 35.  Here was my thought process afterwards:

  • Unless I stop raising my eyebrows, these wrinkles won’t go away.
  • My scowl lines are pretty bad too.
  • If I don’t do something, I will probably eventually get a face lift (OMG).
  • A few injections is so much easier than a nip tuck.
  • I hate needles.  Last time I did this I almost fainted because I psyched myself out.
  • How much is this going to cost?

So I went back to Dr. Bobby for the injections. He made the procedure easy and gave me a really good deal on the price.

A day passed, the Botox set in, and my forehead barely moved.  The lines, those awful ditches that striped my forehead…they were gone.  No one could tell except for the girls I had anything done.  Everyday when I put on makeup and snapped a picture I felt so much better about the way I looked.

I get it, that sounds shallow.  And as my readers you never saw my wrinkles so you think I’m crazy.

Here’s my point: why was I embarrassed to share this with you?  I videoed my colonic TWICE despite the ridicule because I believe what I do is right for me.  Now I’m not saying if you get Botox you need to tell the world.  What I am saying is we should not be ashamed because cosmetic procedures for women under 30 are not accepted by society yet.

On my last visit to Dr. Bobby, Better.tv filmed the procedure because I am not the only woman under 30 with this dilema.  Due to the fact we filmed for a segment, I did not pay for the procedure.  But please know that Dr. Bobby would never adminster anything unless he felt it was truly necessary.  As he states in the video, he has several women under 30 who get injections for wrinkles they have or are trying to prevent.

It’s Not About Them, It’s About You

Everyone ages differently.  Everyone deals with age in a different way.  Everyone feels differently about age.  So do what is right for you.

And when judging others, before you judge me, consider this fact that we all are distinct and unique.  Therefore, is it acceptable to make a blanket assumption and lump everyone together?

At the end of the day, do you really care what I inject where?  What you should care about is that you read a blog that is honest.  You might not agree with me and that’s ok.  But you respect that I have an opinion and the strength to share it with you.

A Final Note

I am not condoning cosmetic procedures for everyone, especially younger girls.  Unfortunately, teenagers are hyper concerned and sensitive with their appearance these days so a girl could take my commentary to imply countless different meanings.  Cosmetic procedures are administered by doctors who I would hope help their patients (of any age) make the right decision.  Or deny services to women who don’t need work done.  I hope that’s not wishful thinking.

Young girls, listen to me. You have a wealth of knowledge at your disposal.  Don’t abuse your body while you have the time to implement a healthy lifestyle now.  You see the effects of smoking, you know how harmful the sun can be.  Make the right choices.  Embrace who you are now.  The makeup, cosmetic procedures, marriage, etc you can make choices about that later.

I have made the right choices for me at my age for where I am in my life right now.  I look to the future with confidence and a less wrinkled forehead.