Motherhood and Tummy Tucks

06.9.11

Recently the world had a collective tantrum when a mother pretended to us all that she was injecting Botox into the face of her eight year old daughter. There was the anticipated media frenzy as well as a full-fledged social media firestorm condemning the mother, condemning the pageant culture and calling for law enforcement to protect the child.

It was the reaction everyone expected. Children should not have Botox. End of story.

There are things that we do as adults that children cannot or should not do. We drink alcohol, we smoke cigarettes, we get Botox, Restalyne and Juviderm. Some people get tattoos, others spend a good amount of money removing them. We pierce our ears and we pierce our faces. There are implants to enlarge breasts, hips, buttocks, and penises. Vaginal rejuvenation is a popular surgery, though I remain puzzled by it.

When I was 27, newly married and trying to get pregnant I stopped smoking, I quit drinking soda, coffee and most processed food. I ate and drank only organic and I felt good about the decisions. My children were both born healthy and had a robust first years.

As the children separated from me physically I gave them organic baby foods, used nontoxic cleansers , guarded their sleep time and slathered them in sunscreen. I wanted to give my children the best possible chance to be physically well. At the same time I was sucking down coffee, sneaking cigarettes and never getting enough sleep.

I love my children. We love our children and we protect them. If only we could love ourselves.

At 35 I started noticing that my eyes looked a little tired and I started hearing women refer to “marionette lines” around the mouth. I looked at myself in the mirror and saw someone 35 looking back at me. I looked at my girlfriends and they looked refreshed.

Two years later they didn’t look just refreshed, they looked startled and fluffy faced. I’m not really sure how to explain what happens to a woman’s lips when they’re overly puffed up. It changes her face and as she loses clear definition of her philtrum (Cupid’s Bow) she begins to look ape like and distorted. At the same time she looks more and more like actresses of a certain age, and since they are celebrated for their beauty, this must be beautiful. We believe.

Now at 41 my phone rings. Not once or twice but a half dozen times my girlfriends call, they are planning tummy tucks and breast lifts. I suggest a really expensive bra and a girdle, but they talk about how having children ruined them and that they want to wear a bikini again. I suggest kindly that a full life can be had without wearing a bikini or that they should wear one anyhow. No one cares what we look like, we just think they do. No one listens to me and they make appointments to carve up their perfectly unbroken bodies.

Reaching utter exasperation I finally risk it all with a friend. One evening at night I let loose and lecture her. “I need you to do me a favor and go to your daughter’s bedroom. I want you to look at her while she sleeps in her bed and imagine now that while she is sleeping a doctor will cut a line around her midsection, discarding her belly button and then he’ll pull her loose skin up like a pair of pants and sew it all back together.”

She gasped. I continued, “Everything you do to your body your daughter will do to hers. Every time you disfigure yourself at the doctor’s office your daughter is watching. Does she look imperfect to you? Does she need to be fixed?” And then I went on to tell her that she was perfect and beautiful and valuable and that she needn’t hack her body to bits.

A year later she got the surgery.

I Can’t Update My Blog

05.12.11

I can’t sit down to write because I’m totally obsessed with converting my iTunes files to MP3 so that I can share a presentation with all of you.

It’s obnoxious and stupid because I could have spent the last two hours describing to you just how amazing it is to present to a group of really smart adults at UCLA, but instead I’ve spent the last two hours screwing around with files that I don’t particularly care about and attempting to master a tidbit of technology that will be obsolete in a short amount of time.

Today’s post is about time management. I failed.

UPDATE

 

OMG I can talk to y’all about something. Eight year olds getting Botox for pageants. Can we just arrest all the parents and pageant coordinators now?

I am so tempted to let my leg hairs grow and to toss all my makeup.

That Was a Compliment?

09.30.10

I was on the soccer fields last night and one of the Dads (who I really like and who I’ve known forever showed up).

“Hey Jessica how are you?” He asked.

“Great.” I smiled and lied.

“Wow, you look different, something is different…” He sort of smiled and looked at my forehead.

“I had my hair done, maybe it’s my hair.” I offered (and by done I mean colored)

“No, no that’s not it, it’s something around your eyes…”

“I had my brows shaped, and I’m wearing a little makeup.” I offered up hopefully.

“No, no, that’s not it either.” And the poor dear was just staring at my eyes.

My Botox is settling in.” I replied perkily.

“Oh that’s what it. Hey, it looks great!” And then he shuffled his shoes.

New Humiliation

09.15.10

Monday morning I had to go get an eye exam.

“When was your last eye exam?” The doctor asked me.

“Never.” I replied. “I’m only doing this because the rheumatologist needs it. I see everything.”

“and you are forty…” she asked.

“Yes.”

“Well, in two to three years you’ll probably need glasses, that’s when it happens for everyone.” She smugly responded.

My baseline is fine, perfect even, and I left the office with eyes dialated. I could not see a thing.

And sadly, I also could not squint to keep the sun out of my eyes. Too much Botox.

My Looks Are Fading and It’s Okay With Me

01.27.09

“My looks are fading.” She said. It wasn’t meant to illicit pity, nor was she fishing for a
compliment. It was a statement of fact, a pragmatic woman who is looking for a
few fillers in the creases around her mouth and a dab of botox around the
corners of her eyes.

Yes, your looks are fading, so are mine.

We’ve known each other our entire lives, we’re staring at
39, we’ve fed babies and watched our perky breasts settle into sad parodies of
their former selves. Our waists have stretched and mostly flattened out again,
but, still we are looking at forty. She is fearful, I am free.

You see, she was the pretty girl, I was the entertaining one.



Much like Diane Keaton I wasn’t the pretty girl, so I did
have to work on my fucking personality. In middle school it wasn’t fun with all
the Stacie’s who dotted their i’s with bubble hearts and teased their flawless
blonde hair so that it waved at the sky just so. I didn’t rely on my looks, as I was the vaguely ethnic child
in a sea of blondes with frizzy hair that didn’t want to cooperate, I never felt
ugly, but I knew I wasn’t the pretty one.

Perhaps my unprettiness will save me from myself. I’ve botoxed and recovered nicely, I’ve
tried wearing makeup and toyed with the idea of an eyelift. I’ve talked
girlfriends out of surgeries, all the while wishing I could have one sans pain.
I feel sorry for my neighbors who have mutilated their faces, engorging their
lips and breasts and stretching the limits of their dermis. All over the
country they would be seen as surgical disasters, in my hometown of Los
Angeles, they are celebrated and put on television.

She trots off to the surgeon for a light dose of botox and a
half a vial of restalyne. She loves the restalyne and leaves a message in my
voice mailbox about how it’s the most wonderful thing anyone can do for themselves.
I should try pampering myself a little more.

Instead I take the $1,400 and spend a night in a swanky
hotel, with my husband and my kids. He can’t see my wrinkles, when we talk he’s
staring right into my eyes.