I bought myself Botox for my 40th birthday. I couldn’t resist, even though I felt like a hypocrite.
I took turning 40 hard. For me, it symbolized officially getting “old.” I looked at where I was in life and where I’d always thought I’d be. I thought I’d be well-established and satisfied in my career would be different, rather than disgruntled with practicing law and desiring to do something different with my life. I thought I would have published at least one novel, preferably more. Most importantly and most time sensitive, I thought I’d have a child.
The above picture is recent, three months after the Botox, which has pretty much worn off. My face is at rest and you can see the vertical frown lines between my eyebrows.
Before I got the Botox, even when I wasn’t staring in the mirror at them, I couldn’t stop myself from tracing the two valleys with my finger. When I got a slight suntan (burn) in the summer, they were two white lines amplified amidst red skin.
To me, my face looked dented. These lines represented to me not only turning old, but the unhappiness I’d been through, the things that had made me frown so often that I imagined had etched themselves permanently on my face.
I’ve always been a frowner. Many people have told me I wear my emotions on my face. Growing up, even if I kept my mouth shut, I’d get in trouble for the look on my face, revealing my silent mutiny. An old boss of mine told me never to play poker. This inability to keep my face blank and expressionless is something I’ve always lamented. It makes me feel vulnerable and naked.
I’d seen my dermatologist a year before for acne. We’d talked about Botox but I’d balked. A year later, I called to make an appointment to get prescriptions refilled.
I didn’t know if I was going to get Botox, but the idea was on my mind when I went to my appointment. I broached the subject of Botox with Dr. L. She asked me where I thought I wanted it. Wasn’t it obvious? She ran her fingers over my lines. The muscles were strong, she told me. Worried, I asked if she’d be able to get rid of the wrinkles. Dr. L said she would.
I asked Dr. L when people generally started getting Botox. She said around 30. This seemed awfully young to me. Dr. L said even if there weren’t much in the way of wrinkles, women did it as a preventative measure. Her youngest patient? 24. She shook her head, acknowledging that was a little crazy.
I was behind schedule again, I thought. I was first starting to acknowledge that I wasn’t as young as I used to be. Considering maybe I should start taking the idea of moisturizer and eye cream seriously, rather than something I bought, used a few times, and then let languish in the medicine cabinet.
I asked if Dr. L could do it then and she said she could. Did I want to do it? I hedged, and she left the room so I could think about it. Continue reading