I want to look good, duh.
I never considered getting Botox until two years into the pandemic. Prior to that, it wasn’t even a thought that crossed my mind. But all of the Zooming, Teams meetings and FaceTiming got to me. I haven’t looked at myself that much since I was a teenager!
Once I started exploring cosmetic improvements to my face, I was blown away by how many of my peers have been getting Botox, or fillers; and for many years! I felt cheated in a way. Why didn’t anyone tell me about this secret sooner? You mean, you’ve been defying aging for almost a full decade, while I’ve been aging naturally? Didn’t seem fair. I felt I had to keep up.
So I googled “best Botox in Chicago” and a nice med spa in the Gold Coast neighborhood popped up. Seemed legit as the Gold Coast is an affluent neighborhood with luxurious shopping including the likes of Prada, Chanel and Bloomindales, to name a few.
The day of my appointment I arrived feeling self conscious and unsure why I was there. As I sat, awaiting for my name to be called, examining the assortment of cosmetic enhancement propaganda that surrounded me, the thought of getting up and bolting outside the door, never to look back, was running through my head.
See, Botox didn’t jive with my values & au naturel lifestyle. I eat fairly healthy, purchase clean beauty products and use natural personal care products for my family. Botox is a drug made from a toxin produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. It’s the same toxin that causes a life-threatening type of food poisoning called botulism1. This did NOT sound natural.
As my name was called, I hesitantly entered the sterile room where the nurse injector assured me that Botox was safe and had been used for many years. She even went as far to say that I am taking care of, and loving, myself by being there.
I bought it.
After reviewing a few before and after photos of other women who had work done, it was my time to be photographed. She had me make a few silly faces, furrow my brows to expose my “elevens” (the spot between your eyebrows that naturally show fine lines when you make such a ridiculous face) and turned me from side to side. Upon completion, she approached me with her iPad and a thick red Stylus pen. She pointed out my fine lines by circling all of the “flawed” areas on my face that needed work. I felt thoroughly disgusted with my looks and agreed to move forward with the procedure.
This made me think of the women who came before me (whom I was shown pictures of), some very young, who got fillers, lip injections gone wrong, Botox; and it got me feeling pretty depressed. All of these women come here to be reminded of how “imperfect” they are, that they need work done. This was not healthy.
I started thinking about how I used to give talks to Jr. High and High School students about loving yourself from the inside and being body positive. What was I doing there?!
Setting my values temporarily aside, I proceeded. The nurse applied numbing gel to my face and then proceeded to inject my forehead, elevens and crows feet. It hurt.
Upon check out I was upsold a couple $200 face creams, to enhance the experience. $500+ dollars later, I was off. My face was red and I was embarrassed. I didn’t want anyone to know what I had just done. When I got home I noticed I had a headache. I called the med spa and they assured me I was fine.
My moral dilemma only got worse. I felt disappointed in myself, having gone against what I stood for so many years. I felt like a hypocrite. My friends assured me that once you are 40 (or approaching 40) anything goes. A few weeks after the procedure, the results started kicking in. I liked what I saw. So I went back for more.
The thing is, there was something deeper going on with me that wasn’t being addressed. A lack of satisfaction with work (a big part of me), family drama, more family drama, a loss of innocence, jolting “mom guilt” for having extra curricular activities outside of the house, going on social media more often, and the many changes in the family dynamic that a second child brings. Many of us struggled during the Pandemic and I was no exception.
After realizing what was going on inside of me, I started rebuilding my support network and am feeling a lot more like myself again. I’ve changed jobs, I’m more present at home with my children, I’m more patient and loving and I’m feeling increasingly more generous. Life is a hell of a lot better.
As a result, I canceled my most recent Botox treatment. I’m happy the way I am naturally aging. At least for now…
Drop a line below and share your thoughts on gracefully aging vs. today’s societal pressures.
Are you struggling with body image and positive self-esteem? You are not alone. There are a lot of resources out there including ANAD . Therapy is widely available and is nothing to be ashamed of.
Source1 MedlinePlus 2017