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To Inject or Not to Inject? What Aging Gracefully Means to Me

To inject or not to inject is the million-dollar question.

Everybody is doing it – or are they? I mean if you flip through a fashion magazine it seems rare to see a natural lip, nose or a forehead with a single line on it anywhere. Even before she turned eighteen, Kylie Jenner had her lips done, assuring her legions of fans that it was just lip plumper and liner, and makeup application. We older women knew from the get-go that there was no lip-plumping product on the shelf that had given her that pout. I personally knew because I had tried them all, to no long-term lasting effects. Yet she persisted, and girls the globe over started to try to plump their lips at the end of vacuum hoses and other dangerous methods. Then Kylie finally came clean and the lip injection craze for the teen set began.

As a mom to three young women, I was horrified. I hadn’t started to invest in any anti-aging techniques until I was well into my thirties, and even then, I felt fraudulent like I was cheating. But before you even hit twenty? Nose jobs. Boob jobs. Eye lifts. Botox. Lip-fillers. It just all seemed like too much, too soon. When my girls ask me now, well into their twenties if I think they should get Botox I say, “No. Live a little and let your life show on your face somewhat, or you end up looking like a robot, as if you’ve never experienced anything.” So far, I’ve managed to keep them from buying into the hype that the only way to age is to look as if you haven’t lived at all.

So when is the “right” or “appropriate” time to start the attempt to turn back the hands of time, or if not turn them back at least slow them down?

Well, for me, it was thirty-five, when the worry furrow between my eyes – revealing all the robbing from Peter to pay Paul from all our hard times -became a permanent expression on my face that I decided to turn to the needle for some help. Then slowly after that I noticed that the collagen in my lips began to disappear, and I pined after my girlish lips from the past, so I started to inject them too, and for a solid decade these types of anti-aging techniques were enough for me. But then I as I started to round the corner heading straight for fifty, and all the other ways my face began to betray how I felt about myself inside. I went in deeper.

I mean I felt youthful, I felt vibrant, and I felt healthy and strong, but my face was beginning to look more and more like my dad’s. And let’s be honest, there isn’t a female out there who wants to look like her father. Except for maybe Shiloh and Vivenne Pitt – Brad Pitt is a beautiful man, after all – so that might not be so bad. I, on the other hand, do not have a father that resembles Brad and therefore had no desire to age into looking just like him.

Then came some cheek and marionette line-filler, and after awhile, it felt like I needed more. I began going in for treatments more often, until one day, I looked in the mirror and I didn’t look like my father anymore, but I sure as hell didn’t look like me either.

So I stepped away from the needle and began using other techniques to encourage collagen production. And although from certain angles, and when the wind blows too aggressively, some days if I’m facing sideways my cheeks flap in the wind, and my neck resembles a turkey. And even though this is not ideal, or attractive, somehow, I feel better in my face this way. Because at least I look like me again.

Don’t get me wrong. I still use Botox  and I still plump my lips, but all that other nonsense I’m happy to do without. And what I wish would happen more frequently is that all of us, all women, would learn to not only love ourselves and the skin we’re in more, but that we would also chose to allow other women to love themselves, however it feels right for them.

We’re not here to judge or condemn if we make different choices than each other. Frankly, it’s none of your business what I do with my face, or any of my business what you do with yours. If you’re anti-injection I applaud you, and not so secretly wish that I had the stomach to age gracefully and as God intended me to. I truly do. For me it’s an ongoing battle within myself, wondering if I’m giving into society’s expectations of how I should age, or if I genuinely don’t want to age into a female version of my father.

And truth be told, regardless of the reasons why I do use injections to stave off the aging process, and the reasons another woman may not, makes us both right, and on the same side of the fence. Just women living our best, most authentic lives in a way that makes our toes curl. Because after all, one life is all we get, so why not do it your way?

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