i need protection. from myself.

Sometimes, I have great ideas. Mostly, I have really terrible ones. After I execute a really shitty plan, the best I can hope for is that the after effects go away really quickly or that the debacle is a private affair.

Unless, of course, the terrible idea involves botox and my cheeks. Then, it becomes a public calling card of vanity…and stupidity.

The older I got, the rounder my cheeks grew. It made me self-conscious.

I tried all sorts of neat little tricks. Clever shadowing with makeup left me looking like a fighter going into battle with war stripes. Carefully draping my hair to mask the sides of my face made me look like Cousin It.

I was desperate. Every time I looked in the mirror, the face staring back at me resembled a full moon. Less luminous though.

In my mid-20’s, I read an internet article about injecting botox into the jaw muscle to slim down the face. Since I trusted the internet (nothing on there was ever dangerous or false, I was sure of it), I decided to give it a try. By working one or two extra hours, I managed to put aside ten dollars a week for nearly a whole year.

I should have known the plan was turning sour when I woke up one morning, a week after the injections, and noticed a special feeling in my face. The special feeling of nothing.

Later that morning, during breakfast, I realized my masseter muscle didn’t have the power to chew anything harder than a piece of bread.

I guess that’s one way to slim down a face- starvation.

For three months, I drank smoothies. I ate oatmeal. Cornbread. Mashed fruit. It brought me back to my childhood. Like, when I was 6-months-old.

The atrophying muscles left my face long and lean. The deep grooves in my cheeks had a deep purple tinge. My mom starting calling me Horse.

Friends asked questions. Was I under a lot of stress? Did I have a secret illness? They couldn’t pinpoint it exactly, they said, but something looked different. I tried to avoid answering because the truth (Friends, my thoughtless vanity made me shoot toxins into my cheeks so I wouldn’t look like a chipmunk.) was too embarrassing.

The day I discovered I could chew an apple again, I was thrilled.

I still do stupid shit (all the time, some might say). I’m still prone to bouts of vanity. But my cheeks? I’m leaving them alone. I like them just the way they are.
What’s the worst thing you’ve done to alter your physical appearance? Shave your eyebrows? Crimp your hair?
OR the best thing you’ve ever done. Lost the last 10 you’ve been meaning to lose? Had a cancerous third arm removed?
image via blueq.com

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