Today, I took my tired-looking self over to see Sheila Mackay, a registered nurse who works at the Facial Surgery and Cosmetic Centre of Ottawa.
Sheila is the angel who sticks needles in my face, and I love her.
She gives me Botox and Dermal Filler to fill in my craggy good looks.
A lot of people will say: "what a ridiculous thing to do" or "you look just fine the way you are; you should love yourself more" or --- and I really hate this -- "I don't need that stuff. I've earned every wrinkle."
I say, good for you. If you want to look like a topographic map, that's your right and I will defend to the death your right to look like the Canadian Shield.
It's true, I don't look that bad for 58. With the help of hair dye and makeup, I can pass for 50 even younger because I don't have a face that looks like an unmade bed. I don't smoke. I have a nap nearly every day. I eat my veggies. I exercise. And I get my eight hours in a dark, cool room without benefit of technology.
There's no secret to having good skin.
But even good skin cannot work forever.
I've begun to notice lines from the inside of my eyes that are bisecting my cheeks, leaving what is starting to look chicken filets around the nose. Also, jowls. I have nightmares about Joe Clark.
As you see from this picture, I also have a very heavy muscle between my eyes. From an early age, I knit my brow -- as Carolyn Keene used to write in Nancy Drew. It started because I didn't have nice eyelids, so I started to squint in an effort to make my eyes look bigger. Forty years later, the squint is gone, thanks to me coming to my senses, but the furrowed brow is highly prominent and not very attractive.
I could have lived with these changes but I didn't want to. I'm vain, there I said it.
Why should I look like Granny Clampett when I can look like Helen Mirren?
I don't do stupid things like take diet pills or hormone replacements. I don't spend a fortune on department store plumpers that never work.
I'm never getting plastic surgery on my face. I don't want to look like somebody grabbed my skin and hauled it behind my ears.
Instead, I get injections. They don't hurt, not as much as a teeth cleaning.
And they make me look less like a map of Mississippi.
What I had done today will go away eventually. The Botox that eases the furrowed brow will disappear in six months. The filler will stick around for 18 months. Then both will be gone.
At that point, I'll decide whether to have it done again.
Would I? Would I!
In the last year, I've watched three of my friends become widows. I've visited umpteen friends in the hospital who are undergoing hip and knee replacements. I've sat with friends in the doctors' offices as they've worried over whether or not they have cancer or a bad ticker.
Me, I've been lucky. Aside from a gallbladder attack, my doctor visits have all been preventative. I am not on any medication, not even for high blood pressure.
I work at it. I punish myself at the gym to keep my weight down and my heart strong. I eat kale and Greek yogurt for my innards.
So why wouldn't I do something that makes my skin feel and look better? It is the largest organ. Why shouldn't it get the same love as my kidneys?
Look, I raised three kids on a shoestring. I battled an ex for money to put the kids through college. I stared down adversity at every juncture.
Now it's me time.
Don't look at me in that tone of voice; I bite.
I'm not going to enter my geezerhood telling everybody about how much I've sacrificed.
I'm not some kind of churchy Madonna. I'm the other kind. The one with the whips and chains -- in my mind at least.
I'm not waiting to get my Green Card for Heaven.
The lineup's too long and I'm impatient.
I'm getting mine, here and now.
And it starts with Botox.
p.s. The boobs come off next...
Here's to me.