A Slave to the Face

Victorian tombstone
I am going to let you in on a little secret: I own a Princess Leia slave costume. 

Yes, for those purposes. I am not going to claim that I ever looked good in it but I did purchase it and have worn it more than once. Well. Maybe more like *not worn* it….

You can say all sorts of things about sex and slavery and the subjugation of women and how wearing such a costume betrays feminism at its very core but here’s the thing: Princess Leia choked the ever lovin’ life out of Jabba the Hut while in that costume. She strangled that slimy, disgusting bastard with the chain that bound her to him while wearing a bikini. She wasn’t cowering in a corner, ashamed of how much she hated her exposed thighs. She owned that chain and she used it to her advantage. That is some kind of woman. I long for that kind of confidence.

I am not who you think I am.

You will remember in my post last year that it really bothered me how much criticism Carrie Fisher took for her appearance in The Force Awakens, how I didn’t think it was about her so much as it was about our own aging and mortality. For many of us, she was a tangible way of measuring the passage of time. Her appearance spoke to our own finite existence, our own mortality. It was like holding a mirror up to our souls and for some recognizing that we did not like what was reflected there.

She looks older. 

So do I. 

I am not what others see in me.

There was a time that I would get told by complete strangers that I looked like Nicole Kidman or Jullianne Moore or Bree from Desperate Housewives. No one says that about me now. My face and my body are changing. The days of Star Wars kink fests are over.

I am not who I think I am.

I grappled with the anxiety and panic of that for a few years. I tried laser… once. The pain from that was indescribable. And Botox… once. Let me tell you, there is nothing quite like the contortions and fasciculations from Botox wearing off. Then, I smeared the most godawful smelling stuff derived from baby foreskin on my face twice a day while choking back my own vomit.

My face is NOT all over the big screen and yet I freaked out, doing crazy stuff in a vain attempt to hold onto my youth. There was the dysphoria of not recognizing the face staring back at me from the bathroom mirror and the despair of feeling my sex appeal dwindle away.

Who am I now?

I cannot even imagine what Carrie Fisher went through in her lifetime, the tremendous courage it took for her to play the role of Leia once again decades later. As a little girl I wanted to be like Princess Leia. I wanted to learn to shoot a blaster, sure, but I also wanted to look that good in a bikini slave costume. What I did not realize at the time was that virtually all women, no matter how beautiful, suffer from a distorted image of themselves. Princess Leia suffered. Carrie Fisher suffered. Now I find that Carrie Fisher herself is my hero even more so than her character ever was. 

But then Carrie Fisher died.

So will I.

Suddenly a face seems like such a triviality. I won’t say I am completely over myself or my vanity, but I am working on it.

May we all rest in peace…

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138 thoughts on “A Slave to the Face

  1. Great post! Certainly puts things in perspective. If only we valued our aging selves as much as we valued our younger selves. Oh heck who am I kidding? We seldom seem to be satisfied. Could it be when we are younger we feel invincible and if we’re lucky enough to live over the half century mark we finally realize death is real?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Botox, Victoire? (Well some of my MD daughters medical school friends have tried it…) I’m sure you don’t need it. 🙂
    And thank you for your thoughts on Carrie Fisher. Her death touched me much. Maybe because she was fron ’56 like my little sister (gone too) or rather because… She took so much sh… after Star wars, fell into a trap for so many years until she “rose from the dead” and looked happy again. But that was so shot-lived. She didn’t deserve that.
    Rest in Peace Carrie? Hell, no! I hope you’re having a party up there! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you Doc. Seriously — thank you. When Carrie Fisher died, I told someone it made me sadder than I ever would have thought. Now I see that the things you’ve described here are part of why.
    More than seeing an older face staring back from the mirror, the dirty trick age has played on me, is seeing my mother’s face there. (Sorry, I was abused by her, and decades later it never goes away.) It sounded funny when I thought it…
    I think the most telling moment was when the waiter at a Mexican restaurant first called me “Señora” rather than “señorita.” Aren’t they supposed to call all middle aged women “señorita” until we’re at least 90?
    Mega hugs.

    Liked by 1 person

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