Beauty is Pain

He squinted at me.

“You know, a laser treatment would get rid of all of those freckles for you.”

This was right after the Botox discussed in my post yesterday. This is akin to your hairdresser saying, “Oh dear, honey…we need to wax your upper lip.”

Do I really look that bad?

Are freckles bad? I had never thought of my freckles being unsightly before. What if I do have an issue and I am just embarrassing myself by refusing to accept and address the problem?

Ok, truthfully, I had been fascinated by the procedure and was secretly hoping he would bring it up…

So I scheduled it and found myself eagerly awaiting the appointed date and time.

I rushed over to his office after my last patient and was given the option of slathering numbing cream all over my face and waiting another 30-40 minutes, which would help but not make the pain go away completely, or just suck it up, do without, and get done faster. I decided to show off and not use the numbing cream, hoping to score bonus points with my dermatologist friend…

Yeah, she’s pretty bad ass…

Let me advise you to never, ever forgo anesthesia for this procedure no matter how tough you think you are, EVEN if you had a baby or two without an epidural or lost an arm in an industrial accident. You do not know pain until you allow someone to burn your face off.

By the time I was done, the protective eyecups had filled with tears. My nails had dug into the palms of my hands and drawn blood. I was high on endorphins and I thought afterwards this must be what body modification people experience, when they are hanging from the ceiling by hooks through their nipples.

If I had been smart, I would have asked a lot more questions. As it was I had no clue that afterward I would get my face covered with a gooey cream. It was a windy day and my hair was blowing into it and sticking. I looked like Cousin It from the Adams Family. Fortunately that served as camouflage. One of my patients was in the parking lot on their way in and I found myself not wanting them to see me. I had no makeup on at this point and I felt downright naked.

I also had no idea that I should take a few days off. In fact, I was told my face might be a be a bit red and puffy but I thought it should be fine. It wasn’t. I worked with puffy ridges and eruptions all over my face for a few days before the swelling went down. I looked bad but I hate canceling patients, particularly because of my own vanity so I sucked it up.

“Uh, Doc? Are you OK?” Worried looks abounded.

I could not have them thinking that I had contracted leprosy so I had to confess what I had done which for some reason was terribly embarrassing. Actually, that is a lie. I know the reason: I judge others for their vanity. Here I was with mine on public display.

In the end I did like what it did to my skin and I learned a lot about myself and my pride so in that respect it was worth it. But in the end I am not that person. I no longer begrudge others their vanity, I now understand very well the fear that it springs from, but I also understand more about myself and I recognize that I don’t have the patience or the pain tolerance.

Thank you. Thank you for teaching me that.

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