We live in a society that is perpetually fascinated with looking and feeling younger. Aging gracefully as an American woman is difficult to do if you don’t have thick skin. For myself, I’ve never prided myself on my looks. I would rather be valued for my brain and my ideas.
But still, getting older isn’t fun when you look in the mirror and slowly start to watch the signs of aging forming like a freeway of wrinkles across your forehead. Botox is a quick and temporary fix that many women turn to in hopes of reversing the signs of aging. And fillers, especially lip fillers, is another one, too.
I’d be lying if I sat here and said it’s been easy giving up on Botox and fillers. But I finally started to realize that freezing my face and puffing up my lips was actually making me look older. And worse, unrecognizable.
This is me and my favorite kitty, I feel like my old self again now…
Botox and fillers radically alter your natural beauty.
And if you’ve ever seen someone with “frozen face” that too much Botox can do, then you’ll know exactly what I mean. They say that time is the best medicine in life. And that is certainly true when it comes to these temporary beauty enhancements.
When we were kids, social media was nonexistent. We didn’t grow up seeing Kardashians with over-injected lips peddling us lip glosses and making us feel like we were inferior with our average lips. Kissable lips don’t have to look as if you’ve just sucked on a balloon or that you share DNA with a duck. The lips God gave you are enough.
In my honest opinion, Botox is like the gateway drug to other cosmetic enhancements. “I’ll just do this, and that’s it,” many try to foolishly convince themselves. But if there’s anything that cosmetic and med spa facilities are good at, it’s slowly but surely convincing you that you are beautiful…but how much more perfect you could be if you just did this or that to enhance the beauty that you already have.
I can tell you this from firsthand experience. And also because I’ve been ghostwriting blogs for med spas and plastic surgeons’ offices since 2014. And remember, these are sales professionals. Oftentimes, they are selling you a dream. And sadly, it’s often an unattainable one.
This was taken maybe two weeks after more injections, and you can see just how puffy my face looks here. Side note: Can you believe this man is 40 in this photo!?
When I first started getting Botox, it was just after Mother’s Day in 2017.
I remember my husband and I were going through a rough patch shortly after our youngest child was diagnosed with autism. We had taken a photo side by side, and the first thing I immediately noticed was the wrinkles running across my forehead. I felt like I was starting to look old.
And what bothered me most was how flawless my husband’s skin looked in comparison to mine. On the other hand, we are different nationalities, and my pasty skin requires a lot of moisturizer in comparison to his glowing tan skin. But my husband is six years older than me and I worried about looking older than him. And, to be perfectly honest, I was hurting inside and just wanted something to make me feel better. So why not try and look better, too? I rationed with myself in my own confused mind.
I live in the South, and the sun has been a major part of my life since I can remember. And I don’t think I wore a hat once until I turned 25. My forehead wrinkles are most definitely from sun exposure and lack of sunscreen for decades.
The very next week after Mother’s Day 2017, I went and had Botox for the first time. I. LOVED. IT. It was like this magical fairy swooped in and made my forehead smooth as an egg. I’d had LASIK done in January that same year and never saw that huge line in my forehead because I’d been hiding behind glasses for 20 years.
But the first thing I noticed—aside from the fact that I was now a master of hiding my facial expressions—was that my naturally high arched brows looked droopy. But because I’d gotten the first hit and was instantly hooked, I kept getting it.
This was the photo I’m referring to, btw:
Fast-forward to summer of 2019, and I was getting Botox exactly every two months. The second I saw wrinkles reemerging, that appointment got booked.
I joked that my body was like Wolverine, and the Botox would wear off quickly so I couldn’t go long without it. Many of my friends were getting it done, too. And if you see a white woman in her late 30s or 40s whose forehead doesn’t move, 20 bucks says she’s getting it done, too. All of my friends were getting fillers, too. So, I figured why not get my lips done, what’s the harm?
In case you don’t know how these injectables work, I will tell you. Botox and fillers fade with time because your body naturally metabolizes them. Botox can last anywhere from two to six months, with Juvederm in your lips from three months all the way up to nine months in some cases. For me, it was always quicker. I should have taken that as a sign. And the cost to keep up with this stuff isn’t cheap either.
Botox will typically run you anywhere from $9 to $12 per unit on average, and you’re going to get at least 20 units each time. And fillers? A syringe of Juvederm will set you back about $600 a pop. So, once I came out of my stupid haze, I was honestly embarrassed of myself for putting my hard-earned money to such vain causes.
See the difference with Botox and fillers:
And without Botox and fillers:
My late mother never once had cosmetic procedures, so it wasn’t like this was a learned behavior.
This was all me falling in line like a sheep to the wack-ass beauty standards American woman are plagued with. In this country, if your teeth aren’t so much as perfect, people will immediately take notice. It’s a really messed up way to view the world if you’re simply judging the exterior of a person.
The last time I had an injection of any kind was January 2019.
I had quit a high-paying job on a whim the month before after months of debating over it—and to be honest, I really couldn’t afford such things anymore. Perhaps things worked out for the best. Months went by, and I would think about doing it again. Maybe I can just save up. Or maybe just Botox this time. I even cut bangs so I could basically ignore my forehead for the first several months. Over time, those very expressive eyebrows of mine came back. My face started to thin out. I didn’t look whacked-out anymore. My smile returned without my lips puffing out over my teeth. And my husband and close family members were happy to see the real me again.
But the real reason that I stopped using Botox and fillers was because I didn’t recognize myself anymore when I looked in the mirror. I was starting to look very, very weird. The features I’d been gifted from my late parents no longer existent. And not seeing them anymore when I looked in the mirror hurt my heart.
Photo above and below left, lots of Botox and fillers; photo below right, one year to date since last injections:
Once I reached a year post injection. I finally could see the old me. And guess what? I looked younger.
All this time I was sitting there running off to inject myself rather than taking actual better care of myself like I should have been doing all along. I shared my story on Quora, and I was amazed at the response by it. And yes, I know that 35 is still rather young. But I know many people my age that look their age or even older from lack of self care. It is not all in our DNA.
There are many things we can do to keep the effects of aging at bay. Things like: proper rest, exercising, hydrating, and moisturizing, to name a few. And, yes, avoiding Botox and fillers. Please, ladies, don’t waste your hard-earned money on this crap. Embrace yourself. And don’t make yourself feel worse about getting older. Fine lines and wrinkles are perfectly normal. Aging with dignity and grace can be done, and should be encouraged. Love yourself for who you are and how you look, and never let anyone tell you otherwise.