I felt my heart race as I entered the office. The words plastered on the building said “Dermatology and Laser Center.” I knew that was a sterile yet more professional way of saying, “We fix your beauty problems here.”
In Dallas, where I live, you can’t drive a mile without seeing or listen to the radio for more than a minute without hearing about all the ways you can be improved thanks to the marvels of modern medicine. You can have it removed, reshaped, resized, lasered-off or injected. Doctors are just doing their part to make sure we women can “feel” our best because we have been lifted and tucked to perfection.
I didn’t have a beauty problem per se, but the bump on my leg was getting annoying and it was time to investigate my options. I’ll spare you the details but it started as an ingrown hair and never went away. I had almost forgotten about it until a few weeks ago when I got a pedicure. The very sweet and kind of loud, make that very loud, nail technician freaked out when she spotted it. “Ooooh, what’s that bump? You have a bump on your leg? You know that? What is it? Ooooh. You should see doctor. You know. Oh. Wow.”
I decided to make an appointment.
Today was the day.
As I sat in the sterile exam room I tried not to focus too much on my surroundings–theadvertisements for Botox and the spread of Glamour magazines that, if read, would make me want to study the ads for botox. I hoped I could keep my conversation with the doctor focused on that bump on my calf. But, I feared for the worst. What would he notice…I wondered.
Maybe he’d recommend laser hair removal after he noticed how poorly I had done shaving the leg he needed to examine. Or, perhaps he’d interrogate me like a prisoner for the little bit of tan I’m sporting after spending the weekend outdoors.
Or maybe he’d be on acne-patrol. This little pimple on my chin that reveals to the world how stressed I am was sure to catch his attention. I made bets with myself that he’d generously offer to write me out an expensive prescription to clear that right up.
The doctor came in for the moment of truth. He explained that to cut out my little bump would leave a two inch scar and cost about the same as our summer vacation. (Well, it wasn’t much to get it removed..it was the getting it sewn up again part that required a small bank loan.) I smiled and nodded politely through his explanation while mentally coming to grips with the fact that this little bump will probably be on my leg, forever.
Then it happened.
He smiled sweetly, almost in a “let me help you dearie,” kind of way. I knew it was coming. Please, God, let him recommend anything but a nose job.
He asked the loaded question, “How old are you?” I responded with a number that I don’t think surprised him since he had the chart with my vitals in his hand. He brushed my hair back from my face and touched the outside of my eyebrows then spoke these words, “We could fix this for you.”
Fix this? Fix what? My eyebrows? They were just waxed two weeks ago.
“I’m sorry? Fix what?” I responded.
“Your hooding. You have all this extra right here on your eye lid. It’s ok, it happens as you age. It may be a family thing. We can correct that pretty easily. You’ll probably want to get that done soon.”
Why couldn’t he have just recommended laser hair removal? Or, even injections? Seriously? I know I have deep lines in my forehead and am getting crinkly around the eyes. But hooding? I wasn’t prepared for that.
I haven’t looked in the mirror since I got home.
I figured since this is the topic of my blog, I’d stick with writing about the experience first as a way to process.
And, I still believe it’s true. Hooding or no hooding, no matter what Dr. Make-You-Pretty says about my appearance doesn’t change the truth that I’m already accepted by God, through Jesus. That doesn’t mean that I’ll win any beauty contests. But, it does free me to stop trying. I don’t have to compete any more because the most important opinion in the universe has already been delivered.
Though, until a half an hour ago, I didn’t know eyes had hoods or that mine were too protruding, I’m not stressing. Freedom isn’t found in getting mad at the doctor for “helping” me or staring at myself for the next few days trying to figure out if everyone else has noticed the hooding, too.
Freedom is found in self-forgetfulness. I can be a good steward of what I’ve got without obsessing over it.
Has someone recently pointed out a perceived “body flaw” on you? How did you handle it?
**This post originally published in 2014. I can tell you that since publication I had the bump on my leg lasered off by a new dermatologist . . .only to have it grow back. His words, “The skin heals how the skin wants to heal.” Fortunately, he didn’t try to find anything else on me to “fix.”**