My history with beauty hasn’t always been clean.
I held my breath as the doctor approached my forehead with a syringe. The waivers were signed. The possible outcomes were understood. Today was the day I would say goodbye to that pesky line between my eyebrows. I was 23 years old and a few years of looking at the computer screen and thinking too hard were beginning to show on my face…specifically right between my eyes. The line had become a catch-all for my makeup and a source of insecurity. I was much too young for this, and I knew there was already a solution in place. So, I called up my esthetician and scheduled a consultation and then an appointment. Within a few days, I walked out of the office with a shiny new forehead.
As I went to sleep that night, I felt a wave of panic come over me as I realized I could not exactly move my forehead. The connection between my brain and muscles had ceased, and it freaked me out! While I spent the next few months more confident in my looks (goodbye forehead crease!), I promised myself I would never go through the process again. I started to ask why this was the latest beauty craze. Sure, we want to look young. Sure, it can help with headaches. But, there was something that was now missing from me..from who I am…my ability to express myself felt completely stifled. Some people are perfectly okay with that, but I was not ready to let it go.
Today, my forehead line has returned. It’s a little deeper than before. I know that no cream or natural remedy will fix it. I even went through a few nights of trying to use wrinkle tape to help smooth it out. Lately, I’ve really been working through accepting the aging process and focusing more on self-care and wellness rather than just outward appearances. Putting something on my skin that is toxic simply is not worth it. I’m already dealing with a compromised immune system, and I am on a mission to give my body the best chance to be healthy.
And, the reality is, this injection was not my first attempt to look better. At a young age, I started having chemical peels and going through Retin-A treatments. I had acid applied to a scar on my chin to help it heal again in a less noticeable way. My chemical peel journey ended after the peel refused to settle down…leaving me with the worst feeling face ever. All of these moments…all of these instances…made me look at myself and question the underlying insecurities.
What is beauty? Why is our society pushing so hard against the aging process?
And, you may ask, what is the difference between injections and simply using a natural cream with promises of brightening your skin? Honestly, I do often ask myself this question. Isn’t the motivation ultimately the same?
I think the difference ultimately lies within the risks we are willing to take in the name of beauty. There is nothing wrong with wanting to feel prettier but…what happens when prettier means taking major health risks?
What is the definition of beauty? What value has our culture placed on that definition?
For me, I am in the process of redefining what beauty means to me and how I perceive beauty in others. I want to tell young girls that makeup does not define them. That perfectly shaped eyebrows and smooth skin are not necessary. I want to tell them that they are enough, and they are beautiful.
The quest for perfection is trickling down to younger and younger generations. It has to stop somewhere and it’s going to take a generation of young women standing up and saying…
“I’ve got some lines and that is just fine. My skin is not perfect, but I will not sacrifice my health in the name of beauty.”
No one will ever be perfect on this journey. I am surely not. What can we do? We can begin to redefine beauty, and we can begin to encourage our mothers and sisters and friends to trend toward wellness and health. One step at a time.