Tuesday, January 28, 2014

SELFIE OFF THE SHELFIE


This is my today selfie. I just took it. It is un-retouched. It took a second to take.

Recently I spent money on some surgical improvements. Back in August I face planted into the street and broke my nose.

Here is my selfie after this incident.


Note the upper angle and that I stretch my chin out. This pulls the jowls and beginning wattle out of the way. It took twenty minutes to get a selfie I was happy with. 

I still have a scar on my nose from this accident. I like it. It's a life tattoo, reminding me that I can fly. Just for a moment, before flying lands me face down on terra firma. 

Several important things occurred after this accident. First, I had to decide how to fix my nose. I wasn't breathing well and after a month, I was getting bad headaches every day. 

Then I looked more closely into the mirror and saw that, once again, after ten years had passed since my first plastic surgery, my flesh was again melting off of my face. 

I am the progeny of a drop dead, people stop in their tracks to stare open-mouthed, gorgeous mother. Here is what she looked like in her twenties:


As a young girl I would watch my mother sit at her makeup table, that had been lovingly provided and set up with perfect lighting by my father, and carefully apply her "face", every single day. She would talk to me as she carefully painted. "Your appearance is EVERYTHING. Without your looks, you are NOTHING," and, "the most important thing you can do is to be beautiful EVERY DAY." Of course, I was indoctrinated into the cult of cosmetic beauty at a very early age. I was astonished and surprised when my mother was furious at my applying all her cosmetics onto my face when I was four years old. I had thought I was just following instructions. And I thought I had done a great job! Her high heels were the finishing touch. This would have been my first "selfie" if iPhones had been around with their crafty cameras. 

Jump cut to ten years ago. I was an older mom. I had my son at age 45. I was painfully aware of being the same age as his playmates' grandparents. I sought out everyone I could who was an adult child of much older parents and asked them all the same question. "Were you embarrassed by your parents' age?" Every single one of them, and these were kind and decent people, nodded yes and said they were ashamed it was true, but true it was. They described painful passages of their youth and upbringing. All descriptions were similar. Well, yikes. I did not want to do this. Nope. Nuh uh.

When my son, Ben, was only four, he stopped splashing in his tub one day and turned to me, thoughtfully. He cocked his adorable blonde head and said "Mom? I really don't want to hurt your feelings, but can I tell you something?" I said "Of course, son. Anything." He said, kindly, "You have a really old face." I was caught short for a moment. But not surprised. I had done my research for this very moment. I just didn't expect it when he was only four. I asked, "Does it bother you?" He nodded and, with a sad smile, said "Yes." I pulled my skin back off the bones of my face and asked "What if I could do this?" His face lit up like the Fourth of July and he asked, "Could you?????" I said "Of course."

The next day I started looking up plastic surgeons. I met with only three. I picked the third because his photo book, in addition to being substantial, was filled with people who looked refreshed and renewed, and not at all "surgeried." Here is my before and after from 10 years ago:


Just in case you can't tell (ha ha), the photo on the left is the "before." You can see from the "before" photo on the left that I had skipped my mother altogether and went straight to my grandmother.

Cut to 10 years later. I have the broken nose. My jaw has disappeared, yet again, under a melting sea of white, doughy flesh. Much like a wax figure standing too long in the sun. I looked at my mother, who had eschewed plastic surgery when offered back in the day (she believed it to be temporary and costing far too much).  She has a full set of draperies hanging from her chin. Don't get me wrong. She is, even with the melted flesh, still beautiful. But I know that, looking more like my father than my mother except for the excess flesh, this will not be true in my case. I was on a downhill slide to being the twin of a giant turkey. 

Having gone through an extremely difficult decade that included a divorce, lawsuits and criminal neighbors, I was pretty beat up all around. I was determined to pull myself up by the bootstraps. 

There's more that was going on here, but I don't want to turn this into a 12 chapter tome. Today. 

The inner dialogue begins - 
"I'm going to be out anyway while the doctor fixes my nose...."
"If you amortize the cost of surgery over the next twenty years, it amounts to less than the beauty products I won't be buying....."
"But it's sooooo expensive......"
"If I look fresher, I'm more likely to find more work....."

All of which is crap when you come right down to it. I needed a better looking selfie. A younger looking selfie. And it mattered not how selfish this selfie might seem to other people. It connected to the core of how I perceive myself and how I need to perceive myself. Hardwiring, baby cakes. It's who we are. I needed to be able to walk by a mirror and not flinch or wonder who the old broad is. How I felt on the inside did not at all match how I looked on the outside. I needed a new suit. Or at least a dry cleaning of my current skin suit.

The irony is that before the surgery I cared very much how I looked each day and spent a lot of time in front of the mirror. Now, after, I don't much think about it and am out in 10 minutes. If that.

I don't have my before and afters from this surgery, but I'm sure they will be as remarkable as the ones ten years ago, 

Selfies? Don't bother me none. I'll take one any time, any day. With or without makeup. But only if I have to and it only takes a second, 'cause there's too much other stuff to do. 

Peace out.

3 comments:

Princess of Everything (and then some) said...

Life tattoos. LOVE THAT PHRASE!

You are right...there is too much stuff to do.

I think you are beautiful. Simple as that.

Mary Beth said...

My hubby had a facelift. I was supportive, but did not see the need for it.

That's how they discovered his cancer so very early. It probably saved his life.

Davis Nguyen said...

I understand your thoughts on how you got plastic surgery years ago, and the one you got just now. But no matter what the reason is, the most important thing to consider is that you were satisfied with the end result. As long as you felt good after the surgery, then that should be all that matters.

Davis Nguyen