Monday, December 22, 2014

Monday Mantra: Out With The Old, In With The Ugh

mantra is a sound, syllable, word, or group of words that is considered capable of "creating transformation".

Every Monday I will post a new thought, idea, or focus for the week. When you need a breather from life, when you need a little inspiration, or when you're about to jump over the conference table and strangle your co-worker, remember the mantra.

Monday Mantra: Chemical peels and time travel should be a packaged deal
Why did I never see this episode? WHY?!
I thought I'd end the year on a funny note. You know, go out with a bang because I am so, so dumb sometimes. *drops face into hands and shakes head*

Cue my background music, please.

Baby did a dumb, dumb thing. Da na na na
Baby did a dumb, dumb thing

Two months ago I had an allergic reaction. On my face. My whole doggone face. Before bed that night, I tried a new product from a product line I've used for years, only to wake up with a bright red face. A bright red, itchy, embarrassing face. I had two in-person meetings that day, to top it off.

The red eventually faded, only to be replaced by tiny little bumps that no one really could see, but I could feel every time I put moisturizer on. I went to my aesthetician who gave me a special facial and put me on a "Get Your Normal Face Back" plan. This plan included coming back for microdermabrasion to smooth out my skin.

Because I really suck at all the girly-girl things in life like makeup, liking things with polka dots (OK, I actually love polka dots, but I'm making a point here), and fancy shmancy treatments like microderm, I had not a clue what that was, but whatever. I was down with the plan.

On a recent Monday I go see my girl to get this thing done to my face. By this point my face feels and looks pretty darn good, making me question whether or not I need to go through with it. But I'm dedicated. I'm all about follow through and accomplishments and stupid responsibility to my commitments.

At the appointment she tells me we should probably consider switching to a superficial peel instead. A what? I ask. She, and one of the head honchos, goes over it with me. It's an organic chemical peel where your face kind of sloughs off the top layer of skin to reveal a new, healthier layer below. I'm not sold on it, but I'm also not terrified (like I should have been). It does involve a fair amount of peeling, which was my concern. I had a work volunteer event that Friday and The Boyfriend and I were having a bunch of family and friends over that Saturday, so I could absolutely, positively not look like a peely faced freak. I told them this. They told me I should be done with the peel by Friday for sure. FOR SURE.

I agree to it. Stupid, dedicated, follow through me.

My aesthetician covers my face with this stuff that, at first, feels fine but then burns like the fires of hell. All the fires, all of them, ever. On my face. Burning.

The burning subsides, the treatment ends, and I go home with instructions galore.

Day 1, Tuesday: My face is super tight, red, and shiny and it looks like I have one of those plastic face masks on that peels off after 5 mins. This doesn't do that. It just stays tight and shiny and plastic looking.

Day 2, Wednesday - 10am: Same as yesterday, but a little less tight. Possibly more red. I hurt a little. I look sunburned. Otherwise, I'm good.

3pm: I. Am. Freaking. Out.

When I yawn, or smile, or, like, breath the area around my chin and lips starts to tear and peel. But not really peel, because you are not allowed to peel the dead skin away or pull or tug or rub or do anything with it except let it do whatever the heck it wants, which is hang there and make me look like a zombie. You know why? Because if you pull or tug or take skin off that isn't naturally falling off you'll end up really, seriously messing up your face. Things like your skin turning a whole different color in those places and causing scars to form and hey, infection. Exciiiiiting!

I have class in 3 hours. The last class, the one where I have to present for 15 minutes. IN FRONT OF PEOPLE. Gah.

6:30pm: I'm at school, lying my ass off that I got a really bad sunburn and this is the result because I am too embarrassed to admit that I paid to look this tortured and bizarre (sorry, school friends). Every single time I talk a new peel section starts. My aesthetician gave me a hydrating spray to put on my face and I spray it on myself every possible chance I can get. I've gone through 1/4 of the bottle in 2 hours. I have to do my presentation, but then I can stop talking and hide in my hoodie.

Day 3, Thursday - 8am: I have never regretted anything more in my life.

I know I'm always talking about not having regrets, but screw that. My face hurts so freaking bad that I'm certain something has gone wrong. It hurts when I put moisturizer on it, it hurts when I don't, it hurts when the sun shines and when my dog is cute and every single second of every single minute of every single hour of my never ending tortuous life.

I pray to God and unicorns and Michael J. Fox to take me back in time so I can prevent this from happening. I hate my life and the world and everything in it. I cry. I get mad. I refuse to come to terms with this being my reality. I no longer understand why time travel doesn't exist or why people can't change the past. I'm certain that if I just want it bad enough (and I do...oh, I do) somehow, someway the universe will reverse itself and help me right this wrong.

1pm: I call the spa and talk to two different people. They tell me this is completely normal and that I'll probably peel through the weekend. Excellent. Just what I wanted.

6pm: The Boyfriend has been gone for a week on work travel and he'll be home tonight. I decorated the entire house and had the garage painted in ASU colors for Christmas to surprise him. I was not, however, planning on surprising him with this new zombie look of mine. I cry again. I find crying to be both beneficial and annoying. On one hand, the tears moisturize my poor, Death Valley face. On the other, I can't use a tissue to wipe my eyes or nose or anything because it hurts so doggone much.

7:30pm: He's home. He tells me I'm beautiful and he loves me and he hugs me for like an hour. This, clearly, marks the best part of my whole week. I, ahem, have also dimmed all the lights ensuring lack of visibility to my face.

Day 4, Friday: Volunteer Day. The volunteer shirt is a very bright red color and manages to make the red shade on my face look worse. I am peeling like an orange and the only way to mask it is to layer on about 4.7 gallons of moisturizer, then spritz that other stuff allllll over.

10am: I shine brighter than the North Star. My face could lead lost tribesman from far off lands to Arizona.

I arrive at the volunteer event with dozens (dozens!) of other people. We're at a Salvation Army warehouse packing toys together for Christmas and you can see me across the entire place, probably even through walls. That's how shiny I am - I have to be - to not look like I'm decaying. I stare in envy at every other normal face there.

Aside from that, it was a blast. I mean, I never forgot that I looked like a freak, but at least my heart was happy for the kiddos we were helping.

7pm: I cancel the Barre class I was going to do. No way am I letting anyone else see this. Plus, I hurt. I hurt I hurt I HURT A LOT. Places where I've already peeled are peeling. How is this possible?!?! Also, places where she didn't even touch me with the Fires Of Hell are peeling, like my earlobes and way low on my neck and up into my hairline. I can officially join the cast of The Walking Dead.

11pm: I've reached a previously unthinkable level of calm, considering tomorrow is the holiday party at our house with our nearest and dearest. My friends will love laughing at me. The holidays are all about bringing joy and cheer, right? Check and check.

Day 5, Saturday: Holiday Party. I explain my new look to each and every person the second the doorbell rings. You know, try and face the humiliation head on.

Still shiny. Still peeling. *spritz, spritz, spritz*

My friend tries to get something off my face. It's just my face.

Day 6, Sunday: Now I'm just a big flaky mess. No peeling, all flaking. Not better, nope, not better at all.

Day 7, Monday: I call the spa again and am told this is all still normal. Excellent.

Day 8: Flaky face.

Day 9: Flaky face.

Day 10: Flaky ass face. I have a team meeting with my bosses boss. Life could not get any better, am I right?

Day 11: This is never going to end.

Day 12 - Now: I survived. My face looks totally fine and is baby soft, but I will never do this again, so help me God and unicorns and Michael J. Fox.

After a lot of Googling and calling the spa and more Googling I've come to learn a few things. There are two types of people: Those who actually need (or want) peels and those who don't.

Want/Need Peel
 - Concerned about aging
 - Has scar tissue on face or other damage where a peel would actually help the skin repair itself and look smoother
 - Can go into hiding for up to two weeks. This is only for superficial peels. Medium and Deep Peels are completely different. Very, very serious. Many weeks of healing, a lot more pain, and you need a highly trained professional to treat you

Should Never, Ever Attempt This
 - No damage to skin/no need for repair
 - Not concerned about wrinkles or age spots
 - Unable to avoid the world and people and life for two weeks
 - Afraid of everything I just wrote about in my experience

I hope that helps. If you happen to need or want these, I'm not judging you. You are a much tougher, braver, far more patient soul than  I am.

Other titles I considered for this post:

 - Bad Decisions That (Hopefully) Lead to a Better Life
 - Stupid Things I Do So You Don't Have To
 - Why Time Machines Should Exist and Be Available For Rent

Also, this will be my last post for the year. I wish you all a very Merry Christmas (or whatever you celebrate) and a Happy New Year (or whatever you celebrate)!

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