Wednesday, April 6, 2016
It's fun to write a blog when you know that nobody will be reading. That's because I haven't written anything in over four years. Why is that, you ask? Well, because my life unraveled four years ago, and I am still putting together the pieces.
First of all, my kid had a crisis . . . a really, big, bad, scary crisis. As all you moms know, if you're kid has a problem, YOU have a problem. I can't go into details, because I respect her privacy. More importantly, she's pretty happy right now, and so I don't need to dredge up what happened four years ago. So I won't. Suffice to say, the kid recovered much faster than her parents. Her parents are still hurting.
Then, of course, 2012 was the year that I realized we were going to lose our house. In 2013, we did. We escaped to Camarillo. Then, after I discovered how miserable I was there and how haunted that house was, we came back. For the last two years, we've been perched up on a hill overlooking the entire San Fernando Valley, which is awesome except for the noise and light pollution. I am not in nature, as it turns out, only NEAR nature. That has been the cause of more upset than one can imagine. You see, I am a Highly Sensitive Person who is drained and freaked out and stressed by noise. So I can't handle the roar of traffic, no matter how desirable the area or how perfect the view.
I turned 50 last May and I'm about to turn 51. It sucks and I hate it. I have to be honest here; if you want to read what I SHOULD feel or remind me how grateful I should be for all that I have (I know; I do know how lucky I am, believe me), please don't read any further.
I hate my age for many reasons. First of all, I am too young to accept the weight of the number. More than anything, it's the culture that hurts me. I am bombarded with messages from multiple sources about what my age "means." I am lumped in with people over 70, as if I had anything in common with the Boomers. I am constantly reminded that I am not hot, not anybody's idea of attractive, and should not grow my hair long or wear a bikini (gross, a 51 year old in a bikini, please cover up). There are social and cultural rules that didn't apply to me a year ago, but now do--simply due to a number that is so arbitrary and bizarre that I can't wrap my head around it.
I'm not denying that things change. I went through menopause this last year--actually my last period was June, 2014, on the first day of summer school. Since then, my poor body tries to have a period but just can't manage it. For those of you upset or disgusted that I would talk about periods and menopause, get the hell over it. Because I am going to write about all of those things that I'm not "supposed" to, and I'm giving myself the gift of not caring what the critics think. OK, so back to hormones. Hormones rule pretty much everything, as I've discovered. The hot flashes come and go, but hey, I got my first hot flash almost ten years ago, so that's nothing new. What IS new is what happens to your skin. That firm, dewy, plump skin that we can hang onto until we turn 46 (the year you age quickly, especially if your kid has a crisis) disappears, leaving you with hollowed out eye sockets, no cheeks, loose skin under your neck, super dry skin everywhere and the general sense that you need to start shedding some serious dough to see who, among all those plastic surgeons in the valley, might return to you what you have lost. Here is a photo where you can see what I'm talking about:
Finally, what happens, is that you just burn yourself out on these thoughts. There is a decent chance that I'm only halfway to my death. I probably have well over 40 years left. That's a long time to spend unhappy about anything. The real problem I have is not wanting to grow up or make the transition into the second half of my life. I've always been young, and now I'm being dragged kicking and screaming into new territory, where I don't know the rules and I don't understand what comes next. I did everything I was supposed to do--I got my degrees, my houses, my awesome job, and now I just hit "REPEAT" every day, because I don't know what else I am supposed to do!!!!!
I experimented with the entertainment industry (NO THANK YOU), I burned myself out on the paranormal and the constant study of life after death; realizing that I was spending all of this time on the survival of consciousness and yet had no clue how to actually live the life I am currently in. So the 'paranormal' and all the silliness around it has left me totally uninterested in continuing to record random snippets of disembodied voices, because after all, HOW MANY TIMES can you send out audio files of weird sounds that nobody is going to listen to anyway? My friendships all dissolved as well, for many, many reasons, but probably because they were based on fantasies of becoming a little rich and a little famous via our teams of intrepid explorers of dark rooms.
No interest has come along to replace those things I did for myself and myself alone. I am pretty lost, truth be told. That is why it bothers me to be almost 51: I have nothing to show but an older face and body for the passage of time. I am renting a house when I always owned one before; I have zero prospects for finding satisfaction or interest in the 'paranormal' again; my friendships have dwindled and disappeared; my kid is raised, so I don't even have to do that anymore; and I just don't feel excited about anything.
And I love ALL my students, even the ones hard to love, even the ones who don't want my love, and I love my pastor who works so hard with a very difficult group of people.
So I keep loving and hope that all the rest will fall into place on its own. It usually does.
Monday, August 6, 2012
Monday, July 16, 2012
Thursday, December 10, 2009
OK, so at some point I'm going to rot away like an old pumpkin, facial fillers or no. But before then, how far am I willing to go?
My experience so far with Radiesse is neither glowing nor disastrous. A good deal of what I thought were awesome results from the filler turned out to be swelling from the procedure. Now, if I could just figure out a way to have a permanently swollen face, I'd be forever young! Truth be told, the lines are back. Not like they were; there is more fullness around my mouth, but you have to be me in order to notice it.
That kind of bummed me out, to be honest. I didn't want everyone to know I had something "done," but I also wanted someone to say, "My, you look so refreshed! Did you take a vacation or change your hair?" Well, not a single, solitary soul has noticed anything whatsoever. My family and even my husband see no sign that anything changed on my face. They haven't skipped around proclaiming how young and dewy I look; far from it. As my holiday depression rages on, I suppose I look either the same or older, due to my Grinch-y misery when the sun don't shine.
Also on the down side was the fact that the needles hit some facial nerves, and I freaked out over the patchy numbness that affected parts of my face, especially the tip of my nose, my upper gum and my cheekbones. After much anxious Internet searching, I figured out that the injections triggered the "trigeminal" facial nerve(s), and that it's a "rare" side effect of facial filler injections, but it does happen . . . to a very lucky few. The numbness is pretty much gone now, but again, I don't have spectacular results to show for it.
The other down side is that there is just enough of a difference to make me tempted to continue the process. I know, I'm an idiot. But hear me out. Those lines were more like folds, and I think that I don't see spectacular results because there was a significant amount of correction that needed to be done, more than I anticipated--and I very quickly became accustomed to the new look, however subtle, and so now the rest of my face needs some balance. It's the Stendahl syndrome all over again; the story goes that someone gave the notoriously Spartan Stendahl a rich, elegant red robe for Christmas, and all it did was point out to him how dismal the rest of his possessions were. This created a rabid desire to upgrade his room and his stuff, so he did what he had to do to keep the peace with himself: throw out the luxurious red robe.
If you asked, I would tell you immediately what else I want to do: Coolaser for face and neck, a tad more filler in my cheeks, and maybe just a smidge more around my mouth. That's it, I swear. The lovely Dr. Ourian would agree that my desires are easily realized and very reasonable. But I know that this is the edge of a cliff. First of all, there is no money for such "facial maintenance" and second of all, the worst thing that could happen to me would be unlimited funds for such "touch-ups". I think that I will probably give in at some point in the next couple of years and finish the job that I started. Lord, my face is a job. Well, I guess it is. It's the job of giving oneself the gift of NOT BEING FRICKIN' annoyed every single time I look in the mirror.
I give my Radiesse injections a C+. Not great, could be better, but a solid effort, as teachers like to say when a student has not excelled in any way whatsoever. What's next? Nothing in the short run. Just me and the slightly dingy pink robe. If I could just get the right slippers . . .
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
OK, so here's an "After" picture, even though it's not a great picture. But that's not the subject of the post.
So, why am I a bad friend? Because I don't like to confront people, not even my husband. If I am hurt, angry, resentful or upset, I just let it fester. I don't let the person know how I really feel. That ball of negative energy grows and becomes infected, so the result is I end up avoiding the person/people in question, evading all contact, creating excuses, simply pretending that nothing is really wrong when in truth, everything is wrong.
Sometimes with a friend there is an elephant in the room that no one wants to acknowledge. We step around the bloated carcass, try not to look at it, but when it starts to stink, we have to say something, right? No, I just choose to leave the room and ignore the obvious. I have lost so many friendships because I am not honest. I avoid pain, and in the process I become lonely. My loneliness breeds isolation, and my isolation creates anti-social tendencies. When I get to that point, forget it--I will simply lock myself in my cocoon and ruminate.
I'm at that point now, where my lack of courage to confront issues with family and friends has created that huge, bloated dead elephant in the room. What did I do? I left the damn room and slipped out the back door instead of simply saying, "hey, guys, let's drag that horrid dead thing out of the room and go get a pizza!!"
Loneliness, resentment and anger are crappy companions. But they're all mine, until I find the courage and the spiritual insight to guide me along a better path.
Monday, November 23, 2009
ABOVE is the AFTER picture! Now I'm wondering if perhaps there was some "over" correction . . . not sure.
My first cosmetic procedure. It wasn't easy. Dr. Simon injected my face with lidocaine while his nurse wiped away the blood. Then, quickly and efficiently, he filled in my smile lines with Radiesse. My face was numb, my hands were sweaty, I was in full-on panic attack mode, but I still asked him if he could fix the scar tissue on my knuckles from years of scratching them raw. "Of course," he said, "but first you have to work on your stress. Meditate. Then I can make your hands like new, like baby skin." Work on my stress??? What a thing to say. Come to think of it, this procedure was my reward for receiving tenure, an odd reward, really. It hurt like hell, it swelled up and bruised, and since instead of resting that day I cleaned the entire house, I was quite ill by Saturday night. I felt hot and tired and dizzy and slightly naseous. All in all, the first couple of days sucked.
Of course, everyone downplays that part. The truth is, Radiesse is painful for awhile, and you won't feel like yourself until you heal, and THAT might take a week or more. So, how do I feel now? It's been three days, and I have to admit that the absence of those folds around my mouth has made me giddy at times. I don't know why I hated my smile lines as much as I did; everyone told me that they were a positive thing, a way of showing the world that I was a happy person. However, every time I looked in the mirror at a certain angle, those lines were all I could see. They were sunken reminders of my weight loss, which happened around the time of my divorce, so perhaps those lines were somehow connected to the pain and loss of that bleak period. I don't know for sure, but I do know that I looked much older because of them, and I wasn't ready.
That's what it came down to. Whatever anyone else thought, the furrows were a sure sign of age, and I wasn't quite prepared to age gracefully. Without those lines, whether or not it's an illusion, I feel that I have taken back the damage of the divorce and the marks it indented me with. Stupid? Maybe. But know I have the face of the woman who had not yet known how painful life could become. It feels like I conquered the past, even if only in a small way. If I could do that for under a $1,000 bucks and the effects last nearly 2 years, then I think perhaps it was a wise investment for me.
But . . . says the evil, critical voice that lives in my head . . . you can't conquer time. At some point, we age, and no amount of filler will change that. Yes, I know. I realize that Radiesse is not the cure for aging and mortality. I don't think that was my real reason. I have accepted the fact that my face will never look 25 again, and actually, I am not really interested in that anymore. Dr. Simon, with a few zaps of the Coolaser and some more filler could actually give me that 25 year old face for a few more years, but I am done now. Yeah, right, says my mother, "it's a slippery slope, you'll be back."
I don't think I'll do much else for the forseeable future. I don't feel the need. I'm also not wealthy--I've maxed out my vanity budget. I guess what this all came down to was this: I accept the reality of aging, but there was something I needed to erase from my past. I was tired of the reminder--the sunken cheeks, the lines--that at one point I lost 30 pounds because I was sad. I wanted to eat, but my life had dissolved into the ether. I was gaunt, frail, underweight and utterly devastated. My cheeks disappeared into hollows and furrows. I was hungry, but I couldn't eat. Now, I look like the woman who was healthy and happy. Maybe no one else will see it--but I do--every day. My face matches my heart: full.