Tuesday, July 22, 2014

...And that's not okay.

How I look with Makeup
Waking up this morning, before I even looked in the mirror, I caught myself doing something I've never, ever done. Before even opening my eyes, I was instantly telling myself that today, I am not beautiful.

Yesterday I randomly had a laser treatment as Sunday I received an email confirming an appointment for the next day...an appointment that was suppose to be cancelled.  My treatments are about a three hours drive away - to and from - and I found myself at a crossroad.  Do I cancel my treatment at last minute, even though it wasn't my error?  Do I go and have it done anyway?

For a many reasons I decide to go and have it done.  Before I knew it, I found myself packing a bag and driving the three hours to Fremont on Sunday afternoon.

My appointment went well, and actually, this was my first time going alone.  (Which made my mother extremely nervous, primarily for the drive home after my treatment.)

This treatment, though, was done a little different.  The size of the laser was different and they treated my lip.

I've mentioned in my blog several times that while the birthmark doesn't usually bother me, my lip always does.  It's the physical part about myself that I feel most self-conscious about.

Yesterday, after the treatment, my lip was a little swollen.  I expected swelling...But what I didn't expect?  I didn't expect to wake up this morning to the actual amount of swelling that I had.

Before I opened my eyes I knew...I knew the swelling was bad and I dreaded facing society, but more importantly, I dreaded looking myself in the eyes in my own mirror.

Birthmark with no make-up.
After I opened my eyes, I noticed that my eye also felt a little swollen...But I expected that as that's happened in the past.  (They didn't treat my eye as I'm not comfortable with that idea if I'm awake!)

While laying in my bed I look towards my window and I caught myself thinking, "Oh...Hey...What was that?  What just flew out my window?  Oh, that was just my confidence for the day.  Maybe even for the week."

When I finally looked in the mirror as tears threatened to spill out of my eyes, my suspicion became a fact.  The left half of my upper lip is pretty swollen.

I even walked into my mom's bedroom as I covered my lip and told her, "I have the biggest lip on the block."

As I was driving to meet my friend today, I had a major revelation.  Was I judging me for myself, or was I prematurely taking on the role of judging myself through society's eyes??  The eyes that I knew would soon see me, the eyes that normally react in a negative manner?  Was I judging myself, putting myself down, before anyone else could??

Here I am, this gal who is starting to do sensitivity talks in hospitals and who goes to share with elementary kids about the true meaning of beauty - yet, in this moment, I wasn't even practicing what I 'preach'.  I feel as though I should probably have it more together than I do.

The words that usually make me angry when other people use them against me, I was saying them to myself.

I didn't need society to tear me down this time around.  I was, and am, perfectly capable of doing it myself.

Again, I've never done this before.  Ever.  I don't normally tear myself down in this way.  Enough people already try to do that for me.

If I wouldn't say these things to my friends or to another person, why in the world is it okay to say these things to myself?  Why is it not okay for my friends to put themselves down, but yet, it was okay for me to put myself down?

The thing is, I know it's not okay.  Where was my attempt at holding a positive attitude??  The positive attitude that I do my best to cling onto in every situation life throws my way?

Yeah, the treatments make me nervous.  They're painful and uncomfortable.  The days after, though, are often extremely emotional for me.  I often forget that I'm "different" than everyone else in the world, but these treatments are always a big reminder.

About 30 minute after my last treatment.
I'd post a photo from today, if I felt more
comfortable.  Maybe next time, as my
doctor wants to treat my lip at least 3 times.
And if there weren't medical risks involved,
more than likely, I wouldn't even do the
treatments.  I'm happy with who I am,
as I am.
Sometimes I probably make the treatments seem like an easy-breazy kind of ordeal and I probably play them down, but really, they're hard.  While I'm use to the comments and stares of my normal face, this after-treatment look isn't my normal.  So, when you add an already emotional situation while enhancing something you're already self-conscious about, it's an even bigger struggle.

Today I learned that I really need to work on my self-conscious mindset that I have about my lip.  (And when I write that and read it out loud - it realize that probably sounds kinda lame.) Granted, every woman, every person, usually has something they're not comfortable with about themselves.  Mine just happens to be the lip - and my self-consciousness just happens to be temporarily enhanced, because, well, half of my upper lip is temporarily enhanced and I know this feeling isn't permanent...Just like the swelling.

However, I also realize that unless I figure out a way to deal and cope with this issue, and although the feeling is currently temporary...if I don't gain control of it somehow, I will feel it again next time they treat the lip.  (Which finding a way to deal with it is wwaaaaaaayyy easier said than done, right?)

Often I blog about my stories with the way society reacts to my face, to my treatments.  This time, however, I'm 'tattling' on myself.  I wanted to let you know that for the first time (ever), I stepped into the shoes of the attitude I despise the most.

This time I was the still victim, but I was also the victimizer.  I was the offender...And that's not okay.  I know I am so much more than how I look.  I know I am so much more than my circumstances!  

Maybe I'm a little too honest in my blog sometimes, maybe not.  I don't really know.  All I do know is that I want to share this journey with you in an honest way.  I want to share the good, the bad, the beautiful, and the ugly parts.  I want to be transparent.  

This is just a part of my journey.

I'm so glad that we don't have to feel beautiful to be beautiful.  Aren't you?

The Travelin' Chick,

PS: For those wondering why I decided to do the treatment that I though was canceled:
  1. No matter what I am doing the treatments.  I could either bail out of this one, and do it later when classes start back up.  Which means I'd take off work and school - or I could do it on a day I already had off.
  2. I thought about not doing the treatment because I'm going to the annual Free Will Baptist National Convention.  I fly out on Saturday.  Even my doctor asked me, "Are you okay flying purple??"  The more I thought about it, the more I realized...my FWB friends know my story.  Many follow it and many are encouraging.  I'd rather go visit a group of friends who I know accept me as I am, who are loving and encouraging, than to go and deal with people at my college who are often quite the opposite.  
  3. It's hard to get an appointment in this department.  If I didn't go then, I wouldn't have an appointment for another few months.  I already haven't had one in 4 months (which isn't my fault). The longer I wait, the less effective the treatments will be.
  4. I'd feel rude for canceling it the day of, as they wouldn't have time to find someone to take the space of my appointment.  

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