Wednesday, December 21, 2011

To Botox or not to Botox. Why is that a question?

To Botox or Not to Botox?  
Why is that a Question?

I'm so annoyed and embarrassed.  I have to write about Botox.  Well, I don't have to, but it seems that telling the real and true story of me turning 40 includes revealing the oh so unattractive details of me dealing with my supposed diminished attractiveness.

This is not, I repeat not, a pathetic plea for compliments.  Nor is it a call to debate the politics of beauty, though thats obviously on my mind.  No, it is simply a sharing of the narishkeit that is one 39 year old woman lamenting the deepened, static frown line in the middle of her forehead.

Whole wheat bread.  Brown rice.  Apples.   Blueberries.  Greek yogurt.  Almonds.  Salmon.  (what I eat).  Hike.  Ski.  Yoga.  (what I do.)  Add the words Botulinum Toxin type A to this paragraph and it seems like that song from Sesame Street:  "One of these things is not like the others.  One of these things just doesn't belong  ... "

It makes no sense that someone who espouses "healthy eating and exercise" as her "other religion"  - hell, someone who just moved to Colorado in the name of an "active, outdoor lifestyle" - would consider injecting something so unnatural into her body.  Right?  Unless of course, you think about the second part of Botox's clinical name - "type A." And then maybe it starts to make some sense after all...

True confessions time.  I tried it.  Botox.  Last February, 2011, shortly after I turned 39.  20 units.  Injected into the aforementioned forehead wrinkle. 

And, go figure, I was still 39!

Did I look "younger"?  Of course not.  "Prettier?"  Sigh.  Since I promised not to talk definitions of beauty, lets just say that in the eye of this beholder ...  I liked the way I looked.  The wrinkle softened.  And I don't think I looked fake or plastic as per my concern.  Yeah, when my stomach wasn't turning about the fact that it cost $250, I was pleased with my face.

But.  I knew.   It was in there.  That queasy feeling in my stomach wasn't just about money.  I also felt very silly, and somewhat of a fraud.

Now, please.  Please.  If you choose Botox, or anything else like it, please don't huff off.   While I admit that if you'd asked the me of ten, fifteen years ago if I would ever do plastic surgery I would have stood on a soap box and delivered a feminist rant.  But the me of ten, fifteen years ago was obviously an immature idiot.  With the skin of a 30, 25 year old.  I swear that I am not judging you.  I am not exactly in a position to judge.

But I am here almost a year later, wrinkles still bugging me from time to time, and decidedly Botox free.  And wanting to share the top 3 reasons I haven't - and won't - inject again.

1) I have a daughter.  A very beautiful; very perfect daughter.  To whom I aspire to be a role model.

Need I say more?

OK.  I will.  Maybe its because my daughter has nystagmus, an eye movement disorder causing her eyes to constantly move back and forth, and I am acutely aware of the potential body image issues that may arise for her as a result in adolescence.  Or earlier.  Or maybe I'd feel this way about any daughter, because research shows over and over and over that girls face a tremendous amount of pressure to look a certain way.  Pretty; Thin; Fashionable; Sexy (yikes).  

So, yeah, I liked my softened wrinkle, but I like my daughter more.  How can I in good faith tell Adina that she is gorgeous just the way she is if I am injecting botulinum toxin into my face to change the way I look.

There is a question I think is fair to ask here: Adina sees that I color my hair (I know, you're shocked, but this kind of fabulousness does not  occur in nature) and that I wear makeup.  And that I enjoy shopping and keeping up with fashion trends.  Does this not conflict with a message of acceptance and body image confidence?

I guess, especially when you're trained as a lawyer, that most things in life can be thought of as a slippery slope.  I decide, because I can, to be comfortable drawing my line between injections and lipstick or a great pair of jeans.  And I hope - and work hard - to ensure that that my real and true emphasis on intelligence and strength comes through to Adina loud and clear.  

2) Vanity.  Sure, I liked the botox effect on one wrinkle.  But if you hadn't noticed, I also really like the way I look in general.  I think I look healthy.  Happy.  Strong.  Botox just didn't "fit right" with that picture.  For me.  And if I'm actually confident enough to think I look good without sticking needles into my forehead, well, hell, why on earth should I?

3) I'm not 20! (or haven't you heard?)  I'm not 20!  I am almost 40.  And 40 year old faces have wrinkles. They have wrinkles that formed from years of smiling and laughing, and also from times of tears.  I think at least one of the reasons my forehead wrinkle bothers me, but the lines around my eyes and mouth do not, is because my frown lines reveal to the world all those times that I have frowned.  That I have been angry, stressed, sad, or scared.  That I have raged, that I have cried, that I have momentarily wished for things I could not achieve or could not have.

And who wants to look in the mirror and think about all that?

Well, I guess I don't really have a choice.  I've got children to raise, a husband to love, a life to live.  I know how damn lucky I am.  So I control what I can.  Appreciating my good fortune.  And yes, my good looks.  And spending the cash available for vanity on chemicals (the blonde highlights) and cotton (Joe's Jeans are my fav) rather than toxin.  


You're beautiful.  Really beautiful.  Don't forget it.



  1. I think botox should be used only when you need it and not just to follow some stupid trend.
    If you're a public figure and want to look perfect or if you have an excessive sweating problem it's OK to use it because it will improve your condition.
    But you shouldn't have botox to prevent wrinkles because this is a waste of money.
    I had my first botox Toronto treatment two months ago when Botox got the FDA approval to treat urinary inconvenience. I had no other option so I decided to try Botox, and guess really works:) thank Good I heard about this treatment.

  2. I believe Botox treatment is something everyone has a right to receive, whether it’s to look more beautiful or to treat a certain condition. People must take into consideration the fact that Botox is not just for removing wrinkles anymore. Some are considering it to treat cases such as TMJ’s (temporomandibular joint disorder) or Hyperhidrosis, even voice disorders. But that doesn’t take away the fact that it is also beneficial for cosmetic purposes.

    Jacinto Hukle

  3. I agree with you, Julia! You should only be treated with Botox treatment if you really feel like you need it. If the results are looking positive, then don’t plan on getting treated anytime soon. You know, there are a lot of people out there who become addicted to it to the point that they overdo it. Even if their forehead or their cheeks look fine, they really insist in getting one again.

    Terry Bayer

  4. It’s your choice, really. I also believe that it is very important that you consult a licensed plastic surgeon who would give you details on the procedure you’re considering. It is the safer to go to a professional surgeon, and besides, you’d be given alternatives in case you’re not comfortable with your first choice.

    Geoffrey Lelia