What Botox Can’t Fix
A recent report on plastic surgery statistics showed that seven million Americans sought and received Botox injections in 2016.
We are craving more fat in our butts and bosoms, and are attacking our faces and entire bodies with tightening and lifting procedures.
Mommy makeovers, rising in popularity for women 35 – 54, no longer simply involve a spa weekend, a new haircut and a makeup rejuvenation.
It’s now the choice between a tummy tuck, liposuction and breast surgery. Plastic surgeries for women over 65 have had the highest increase of all – a whopping 80% higher than in previous years.
A couple of years ago, I wrote a post on Midlife Boulevard that I’d had facial injections, Sculptra to be exact. The last time I was injected, which was maybe six months ago, I looked for two weeks like the guy who boxed against George Foreman, and lost.
My son hates when I do it, and sees no reason for it. He’s 22. Of course he doesn’t.
How do you know whether or not it’s “healthy” to seek cosmetic procedures or even surgery? The keys are fear and shame. If they are your primary motivation, you’re in trouble.
What is your choice to get “something done” about?
Are you needing to control a life that feels out of control? Do you feel unacceptable as you are, and that the only way you’ll feel better is to hear, “You don’t look as if you’re 45. Or 55. Or 65.” Or, “You have the figure of someone half your age.”
If that’s the case, you may feel reassured when you look in the mirror and see someone not so wrinkled, or breasts that look more like they did pre-kids.
But if the underlying self-doubt and questioning aren’t healed, there’s not a procedure in the world that can fix it. No weight loss, no Juvaderm, no “-ectomy” of any kind will help you soothe the emptiness inside of you.
Michelle Poston Combs, who’s absolutely hilarious as well as insightful, wrote a viral post about what you shouldn’t wear after 50. She points out that listening to that fearful, shaming voice will not help ease the ride that’s in front of you.
Maybe you’ve struggled to learn how to be your 8 and challenging that thought if it’s not productive for you. Maybe you aren’t advocating for your own well-being.
You can always start now. Today. All it takes is practice.
Midlife holds ambiguity
Losses barging their way into your life, sometimes expected but often not. And who said just because you expect a loss or a transition, you’re not going to have trouble with it? Not me.
Burying your parents. Saying goodbye to friends. Kids leaving home and beginning their own lives. Divorce after 25 years of marriage or making a long-term commitment work.
Looking back and having regrets – paths and opportunities not taken or taken without the hoped-for outcome.
Looking forward and not quite knowing what’s in store.
Get Botox if you want to. Tighten up, tuck in, blast the sag. Whatever makes you feel better about the way you look. But pay attention to what’s inside.
What are the steps?
• Risk grieving what you need to grieve.
• Realize that fear isn’t your enemy. You can be afraid and keep going. Fear can be a signal that you’re having to develop a new skill to handle something. It can be a warning that you need to pay attention. Listen to your fear. But don’t be afraid of it.
• Stay in the present. Forgive yourself for what you regret, and let go of it. How do you do that? You make the active choice to do that. You confront the voice of shame. I often ask myself, “Is this thought helpful to me now?” If it is, and it involves regret or guilt, I listen. Maybe it’s helping me make a better choice in the now. If I’m only negatively obsessing about the past? Not helpful..
• Create fresh opportunities in the here and now. Do something every day that helps you feel empowered, creative or productive. Feed your inner self. Learn something new. Remember.
Botox doesn’t cure that hateful, fearful voice inside you.
You’ll just look younger when you hear it.