out of the box…

we moved to the new studio at the beginning of this year and one of the other actors discovered a boxing gym less than 1km down the road. he was so enthusiastic that he managed to rope in a number of people to check it out with him. having done lots of tae-bo and taught a version of it when i lived in l.a., i was keen to give it a bash, so to speak, but seeing that i had employed a trainer the day after i got back from doing survivor, i never got there. it took me about 9 months to realize that serious weight-lifting, combined with a recent penchant for apple-ciders, didn’t give me the body i wanted (let’s be content with a little bit of understatement here and leave it at that), so i decided i’d head over to the boxing gym.

2 kicking-my-butt-sideways-into-infinity-sessions later, i got sick with the dreadful flu that felled everyone and spent the next month dying – or at least feeling like i was. i could barely walk 3 steps without doing a serious imitation of the wolf desperate for some other white meat on the dinner menu! huff. puff! finally, last week, i was well enough to (reluctantly) make it back to the industrial building on maria rd, climb the stairs to the 3rd floor and once again, get tangled up in the skipping rope which seems to be my arch nemesis. there’s a timer that goes off and you’re supposed to skip for 4 minutes. hah! 10 seconds in the cramping in the calves start. all kinds of bits bob and jiggle and depending on the time of month, and if you’re me, you wish you could take your hands off the skipping rope handles and cradle your seriously swollen, sore mammaries instead.  i probably manage one minute of skipping before i start flagellating myself. 1 minute out of 4 – all of 25%!

i look around the room where the swish of the rope slices the air as a nimble-footed young adonis blithely reminds me that i never appreciated the many feats my 20 yr younger body was capable of. i just wish i’d discovered my athleticism earlier. if there’d been any kind of track and field program at our schools when i was a learner, i might have been a good track athlete. i remember running the 800m with hardly any training at one of our sports days when i was about 12 and not doing badly, but there was no athletic program.

anyway, good thing one of my mantras is, “it’s never too late”.

despite being distracted by the swish of rope and thwap of gloves on body-bags, i spy on the other side of the ring in the centre of the room: a treadmill. hallelujah! i can do a treadmill! this morning i get on the treadmill which at this hour, is directly in the path of a gloriously rising, and hot, sun. 2 minutes in i, who hardly ever sweat, am  short of breath and schwitzing! i am so tempted to quit, but from my running days a few years ago, i remember this little trick: fake yourself out! fake it till you make it.  i tell myself that i only have to do this for 5 minutes. then at 5 minutes, it’s, “you’ve got this far, just do 8,”. then it’s 10 and so forth. i guess it didn’t help that a few minutes in, the guy who runs the place came and shoved 2 weights in my hands. while i was only just barely dealing with running!

anyway, i’ll cut short the whine and just say, i did it! it’s amazing how one can push one’s limits – however minutely – when you use mindpower. i’m hoping that no injury or illness or my schedule gets in the way of my fitness aspirations.

waxing, lyrical.

today, contrary to my avowals of “never again!!!”, i uhmn, waxed… not so lyrical.

at  a beauty salon down the road from my house, from the menu, i got to select the service i wanted rendered.

the bikini wax menu

i must admit, i’d heard of a bikini and a brazilian wax, but the others? huh?

i guess different salons have different names for it. according to, i guess i’ll call her “the technician”, a bikini wax is just that; removal of the stuff that makes people go ewww when you’re hanging out (pun intended) on the beach. a g-string cleans things up a little more and leaves you with a little less. the cuban apparently is a brazilian with a “landing strip”, a brazilian removes everything in the front and the hollywood makes a clean sweep both front and back. so now you know! just in case you need to march into your local beauty salon and  order yourself a cuban!

no, i’m not going to tell you what i chose, but suffice to say that we were 2 strangers in a very tiny room, one of whom was being paid to be there, getting intimately acquainted. i truly don’t know how women go through this procedure without rags stuffed between their teeth to stifle their screams and i’m even more convinced that this, is (elective) modern day torture! for your edification, i include the post i wrote the first time i had the dis-pleasure of having ALL my hair ripped out by the root…

27 jan 2007

“open legs for me,”, says the woman i have just met, after she’s summarily pulled off my underwear.

hmn!

ok, maybe we need to back up a bit here.

in preparation for leaving the country again for a very long time, i’ve been getting serviced. i had the pap smear last week, had blood work done, i’ve been to the aesthetician, i’ve been extracted and painfully peeled and i’ve been mercilessly scrubbed by korean women, but nothing prepared me for today. first;

the place: st john tower imaging.
the time: first thing in the morning.
the occasion: my annual mammogram.

ok guys, you try having your gonads yanked unceremoniously away from your body, placed between two disrespectful and very cold slabs, then brutally and painfully squished together before having radioactive waves pulsed through your body. all this while you hold your breath as you follow the strangely inflected instructions of the woman with the unplaceable eastern bloc accent, to, “NOW. PLEASzsE. dooo NOT MOoove….”.

then do it again. and again, and again. all of that before 10a.m. on an empty stomach. though maybe an empty stomach is a good thing because otherwise you might be retching through the discomfort of it all.

next on the to do list today: waxing. half leg and bikini, seeing that i’m going back to summer. now, i’ve done this before. no biggie. pull in the sides of my panties, a few well placed strips and i no longer look like a coir mattress which has sprung an unfortunate leak. i get on the table and (i do not know this yet) my future torturer approaches. i’m about to get ready to pull together the lacy sides of my underwear so that i’ll be left with a very large runway strip – one that would do any busy international airport proud – when she summarily pulls my panty away, inspects my pubic area and then matter of factly, pulls them off.

so we’re back to where i originally started.

“spread legs for me”, she says.

okay! i’m a big girl, i decide. i’m not going to be embarrassed by this, though it’s not what i planned, i’m going with it.

she applies the first patch of hot wax, places the strip of fabric, pats it down and RRRRRIIIIPPPPPPPPPS! and no, i am NOT resting in peace – i am doing my best to not let out a blood-curdling scream that would rival the best horror movie heroine. in a move which i assume is meant to alleviate the pain, but does absolutely nothing of the sort, she gives me several sharp little slaps on the spot where she’s just ripped my hair, roots and all out of my body. then she proceeds to repeat this little routine several times. i’m amazed that i am able to stifle my screams.

after a while she takes my leg, lifts it up in a sort of splits, and props it against the wall in order to get in even closer. i can barely (pun intended!) believe it when she grabs hold of my lips, spreads them and then in what seems like the equivalent of several turns on the proverbial thumbscrew applies hot wax and once again, RRRRRRRRIIIIIIIIPPPPPPPPPPS!!!

OH MY GOD!

she manipulates my labia on the other side and DITTO! my disbelief swells (as does my pubic area under this onslaught) when she places her face right up to my crotch and starts BLOWING on the area she’s just depilated. I. AM GETTING. A BLOW-JOB!!! this is (almost) funny.

it’s too late to stop now. i am jack bauer. this torturer will not get the better of me. the fate of the entire country depends on me.

ok, so maybe the pain is making me hallucinate.

i grit my teeth.

she, it seems, is finally done. but no, not quite yet. now she takes her tweezers and starts to pull at individual hairs which viciously determined, are resisting her efforts. the pain is excruciating! all the while she keeps murmuring, “your hair strong, your hair strong…”. no lady, i am the one who’s strong; strong enough to resist the urge to strangle you!

she finally tells me to turn over, in order to do the backs of my calves, i think, but before i can blink, she has spread my cheeks, applied wax and ripped. i try not to let my other cheeks burn with mortification and embarassment – my god, i don’t recall when last any one was this close to my privates! and poor, poor rosebud!

when she is finally satisfied that she’s done what she can with her wax, she then takes a pair of scissors to the minute patch she’s left behind (the only evidence that i’m not 12 years old or a plucked chicken), leaving me looking like i’m sporting a merkin resembling a miniature hitler moustache. i have survived! hail the victorious! sieg heil!

she leaves the room and returns with a wet cloth which she then uses to wipe down my pubic area. i am trying to be worldly, but in reality i am feeling like an embarrassed little girl. i retrieve my underwear and my pants and waddle out of there and away from hannah, which i discover is the name of my heretofore anonymous torturer. i can’t believe that she spends her day with her face and fingers in people’s crotches! someone who is into pain could get a helluva kick out of a visit with her – all for under twenty bucks! i read somewhere that one of the functions of pubic hair, is lubrication and protection and as i try to walk so that my stinging nether regions aren’t further aggravated, i am very much reminded of that fact. i feel strange and sticky and BARE!

this was certainly an interesting, though damn painful experience. i like to think that i’m open-minded, but speaking for myself, i’m a grown woman and i like looking like one – especially underneath my very grown up, mostly functional, sometimes lacy knickers. i know they say one has to suffer for beauty, and boy, have i suffered, but this to me is not beauty. i am not 12 years old, nor would i ever want to be 12 years old again. i’ll leave it to the playboy girls and porn stars to look like, in my opinion, plucked chickens. when this grows out, i’m going back to my wide landing strip.

any guy who has a problem with that, can just jolly-well go land somewhere else.

waxing and mammograms – modern day torture

 

Thu, January 25, 2007

“open legs for me,”, says the woman i have just met, after she’s summarily pulled off my underwear. 

hmn! 

ok, maybe we need to back up a bit here. 

in preparation for leaving the country again for a very long time, i’ve been getting serviced. i had the pap smear last week, had blood work done, i’ve been to the aesthetician, i’ve been extracted and painfully peeled and i’ve been mercilessly scrubbed by korean women, but nothing prepared me for today. first; 

the place: st john tower imaging. 
the time: first thing in the morning. 
the occasion: my annual mammogram. 

ok guys, you try having your gonads yanked unceremoniously away from your body, placed between two disrespectful and very cold slabs, then brutally and painfully squished together before having radioactive waves pulsed through your body. all this while you hold your breath as you follow the strangely inflected instructions of the woman with the unplaceable eastern bloc accent, to, “NOW. PLEASzsE. dooo NOT MOoove….”. 

then do it again. and again, and again. all of that before 10a.m. on an empty stomach. though maybe an empty stomach is a good thing because otherwise you might be retching through the discomfort of it all. 

next on the to do list today: waxing. half leg and bikini, seeing that i’m going back to summer. now, i’ve done this before. no biggie. pull in the sides of my panties, a few well placed strips and i no longer look like a coir mattress which has sprung an unfortunate leak. i get on the table and (i do not know this yet) my future torturer approaches. i’m about to get ready to pull together the lacy sides of my underwear so that i’ll be left with a very large runway strip – one that would do any busy international airport proud – when she summarily pulls my panty away, inspects my pubic area and then matter of factly, pulls them off. 

so we’re back to where i originally started. 

“spread legs for me”, she says. 

okay! i’m a big girl, i decide. i’m not going to be embarrassed by this, though it’s not what i planned, i’m going with it. 

she applies the first patch of hot wax, places the strip of fabric, pats it down and RRRRRIIIIPPPPPPPPPS! and no, i am NOT resting in peace – i am doing my best to not let out a blood-curdling scream that would rival the best horror movie heroine. in a move which i assume is meant to alleviate the pain, but does absolutely nothing of the sort, she gives me several sharp little slaps on the spot where she’s just ripped my hair, roots and all out of my body. then she proceeds to repeat this little routine several times. i’m amazed that i am able to stifle my screams. 

after a while she takes my leg, lifts it up in a sort of splits, and props it against the wall in order to get in even closer. i can barely (pun intended!) believe it when she grabs hold of my lips, spreads them and then in what seems like the equivalent of several turns on the proverbial thumbscrew applies hot wax and once again, RRRRRRRRIIIIIIIIPPPPPPPPPPS!!! 

OH MY GOD! 

she manipulates my labia on the other side and DITTO! my disbelief swells (as does my pubic area under this onslaught) when she places her face right up to my crotch and starts BLOWING on the area she’s just depilated. I. AM GETTING. A BLOW-JOB!!! this is (almost) funny. 

it’s too late to stop now. i am jack bauer. this torturer will not get the better of me. the fate of the entire country depends on me. 

ok, so maybe the pain is making me hallucinate. 

i grit my teeth. 

she, it seems, is finally done. but no, not quite yet. now she takes her tweezers and starts to pull at individual hairs which viciously determined, are resisting her efforts. the pain is excruciating! all the while she keeps murmuring, “your hair strong, your hair strong…”. no lady, i am the one who’s strong; strong enough to resist the urge to strangle you! 

she finally tells me to turn over, in order to do the backs of my calves, i think, but before i can blink, she has spread my cheeks, applied wax and ripped. i try not to let my other cheeks burn with mortification and embarassment – my god, i don’t recall when last any one was this close to my privates! and poor, poor rosebud! 

when she is finally satisfied that she’s done what she can with her wax, she then takes a pair of scissors to the minute patch she’s left behind (the only evidence that i’m not 12 years old or a plucked chicken), leaving me looking like i’m sporting a merkin resembling a miniature hitler moustache. i have survived! hail the victorious! sieg heil! 

she leaves the room and returns with a wet cloth which she then uses to wipe down my pubic area. i am trying to be worldly, but in reality i am feeling like an embarrassed little girl. i retrieve my underwear and my pants and waddle out of there and away from hannah, which i discover is the name of my heretofore anonymous torturer. i can’t believe that she spends her day with her face and fingers in people’s crotches! someone who is into pain could get a helluva kick out of a visit with her – all for under twenty bucks! i read somewhere that one of the functions of pubic hair, is lubrication and protection and as i try to walk so that my stinging nether regions aren’t further aggravated, i am very much reminded of that fact. i feel strange and sticky and BARE! 

this was certainly an interesting, though damn painful experience. i like to think that i’m open-minded, but speaking for myself, i’m a grown woman and i like looking like one – especially underneath my very grown up, mostly functional, sometimes lacy knickers. i know they say one has to suffer for beauty, and boy, have i suffered, but this to me is not beauty. i am not 12 years old, nor would i ever want to be 12 years old again. i’ll leave it to the playboy girls and porn stars to look like, in my opinion, plucked chickens. when this grows out, i’m going back to my wide landing strip. 

any guy who has a problem with that, can just jolly-well go land somewhere else.

(this is reposted from my first blog over on tribe.net. i thought it was appropriate in view of my other modern day torture posts.)

2 months later – reeling and dealing.

today - playing with ways to hide the scars...

today - playing with ways to hide the scars...

i’ve been on hiatus from shooting this week – the second of the 1-week breaks we get per year –  but unlike most of the rest of the cast and crew who have left town, flown to paris, or cape town or mozambique or some exotic locale, i have been right here in johannesburg, basically doing admin. and i’m almost anxious at the thought of getting back to the grind on monday. urgh!

the end of last week saw me with the start of a rather painful infection in my gum, so i was forced to stop procrastinating and get to the dentist – post haste. i had a fantastic dentist in l.a. – devoree prepsky in woodland hills. i would actually sometimes look forward to going to the dentist- fancy that! she could give an injection with the least amount of discomfort i’ve yet experienced from anyone wielding sharp implements in my mouth. i actually on occasion fell asleep in her chair!  so if you’re in l.a. and in need of superb dentistry, give her a call.

anyway, to get back off tangent – so this week entailed long days of what i can only call “dealing”. dealing with the many things i don’t usually get to when i’m in studio every day. all in all about 5 (torturous) hours at the dentist over 2 different days. printing and faxing forms to l.a., gathering tax forms for the local  accountant to get my taxes done so my american accountant can get those taxes done, taking the dogs to the vet for their recurring kennel cough, at least one extended lunch with shirley, one of my favorite people, taxiing the s.o. to and from work (on the other side of town!) while he waits for his car and yes, another check-up with dr CENSORED to assess how my face is recovering.

it’s 2 months today since my laser peel and i still cannot go out without make-up and 50 spf sunblock. the irony is that the hydro-quinone-aqueous cream solution he prescribed, is generally lightening my face, but the tic-tac-toe striations from the hyper-pigmentation refuse to budge. ok, to be honest, they’re sloooooowly fading, but they’re still very much there and still visible even with make-up on.

i can’t say i was too happy about the half hour i was kept waiting beyond my appointment time, but at least this time round, he finally said that he would “fix it”. at last an acknowledgement that there is a problem. i don’t get being made to wait in doctor’s rooms – why is my time any the less important, or costly, than theirs? maybe i should bill them for making me wait…

anyway, the idea is that after i’ve run my 10k next week, i will go in for (i think he called it) fractal-laser treatment which supposedly will lift the hyper-pigmentation. i’m a little apprehensive to have the laser near my face again, but i’m desperate to be able to go without make-up once again.

wish me luck folks.

today - playing with ways to hide the scars...

today - playing with ways to hide the scars...

laser peel recovery- 7 weeks later

it’s exactly 7 weeks today since i had my laser peel.

ironically, while i was looking at the pix i’ve taken to document this process and thinking about writing this post, i got a call from the office where i had it done to schedule a check-up appointment.

2 days ago i had just gotten into my car and turned on the radio, when i heard them talking about skin procedures and giving out the number for CENSORED. unfortunately, the program was just ending or i must admit, i would have called up and given them my for-inflation-adjusted-2-cents!

a few weeks ago i bumped into wealthy social butterfly, CENSORED while doing the scheb shlep at the “you spectacular”and we had a quick talk about our different experiences. she says she had nothing but positive results.

i cannot say i share her views. i’m exceedingly unhappy with the experience i went through, and the more time passes, the more so. i’m still extremely scarred, my formerly smooth (and taken for granted) skin is still striated and hyper-pigmented and i dare not venture out into the sun without 50spf sunblock and thick foundation – i, who used to not wear foundation except when filming. i use hydroquinone like religion every night and i suppose the lines are fading slowly, but almost 2 months later i should be radiant and flaunting my fantastic results. instead i cannot go without make-up (more like camouflage) and on the rare occasions when i have gone out in public with a naked face, i’ve had to not mind people’s questioning looks or my friends’ horrified exclamations. i cannot resume my running on the track without looking like a weird michael jackson wannabe in pseudo burka as i have to pull my buff all the way up over my face to protect it against the sun.

it’s  been hell and i certainly would not recommend it. really. i’m sure you’ll get glowing reviews from other people, but not from me. consumer, beware. there is a reason they make you sign that waiver form.

a candid no make-up shot from before the peel. look at the quality of my skin.

a candid shot pre-peel

now this is what i'm left with, 3 weeks post peel

+- 1 month post peel

today - sept 25 - 7 weeks post peel

laser peel recovery update

today it’s been exactly 3 weeks since i had my periorbital resurfacing and laser peel. i’ve waited for time to pass before making any pronouncements about the merits or demerits of the procedure, but as the days go by i’ve come closer to forming an opinion and today i can truly say, i’m pissed!

i’m startled every time i see myself in a mirror when i’m not wearing make-up. my face is hyper-pigmented and marked with dark striations so that it looks like i’ve flown face-first into a grid. when i’m wearing make-up, it’s ok, but i, who am used to going without foundation whenever i’m not working, now do not dare leave the house without what is essentially a mask to hide what feels like disfigurement. i’m beginning to feel really angry and resentful at the doctor who did this. this is not what i expected. it’s not what i signed up for (though i suppose in a way i did. there’s a good reason they get you to sign a waiver before the procedure).

i’ve had the odd spot of hyperpigmentation when i’ve done tca peels before, but this looks like i’ve had lines tattooed all over my face! i’m not against tattoos, but i’m not maori and i wouldn’t choose to mark my face. i mean, my face, and keeping my skin in good condition, is a huge part of how i earn my living!  if you think i’m exaggerating, here are both a before, and an after pic. you tell me if you’d spend a fortune to go from what i looked like before, to what i look like now.

a candid no make-up shot from before the peel. look at the quality of my skin.

a candid no make-up shot from before the peel. look at the quality of my skin.

now this is what i'm left with, 3 weeks post peel

now this is what i'm left with 3 weeks post peel

when i went to see the doctor on friday, he said it looked “fine”, it would go away.  then he gave me a prescription for hydroquinone. when i asked why one side extends so much farther than the other, below my chin, he paused for a moment, then said, i suppose meant facetiously, “because i can’t measure!”. excuse me?!

i’m prepared to give the recovery a little while longer, but right now, i certainly wouldn’t recommend this. maybe i’m being impatient, but i feel  angry and resentful and pretty damned stupid too boot, especially when i’m so ambivalent about whether one ages gracefully or “rages against the dying…”. however, even in my ambivalent inconsistency, i’d say, if one is going to opt for some kind of expensive procedure, it should really be an enhancement, not leave one scarred and disfigured. and i’m certainly feeling scarred – in more ways than one.

on the surface of things – things to consider before a laser peel

in the not always amusing soap-opera-tragicomedy that is my life, i get home last night, decide to be my own jewish mama and make myself some chicken soup to help get over this respiratory infection. i throw in whatever ingredients i can find, including a chili from which i’m careful to remove the seeds. 

then i decide to remove my contact lenses.

AAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHH! 

it was obviously not just my skin which got damaged this past week – my brain must have sustained some damage as well! this morning i eventually have to throw the lenses out after several attempts to clean them fail (which i of course only discover each time i try to put them in my eyes!)

i try to have an early night, but the moon is full and my dog, chai will not stop barking. in the early hours of the morning i finally get up and muzzle him so i can get some sleep.

anyway, it feels like i’m finally surfacing from 10 different layers of hell. 

it’s obvious to me that there’s a reason why shows like dr 90210 are edited the way they are. they show you a little before, during, immediately after and then 6 weeks or so later when the patient has had ample time to recover and forget about the painful aftermath of whatever procedure they’ve undergone.

one week later, it’s still way too soon for me to say whether this process was worth it. right now i definitely look worse than before. besides the very raw looking reddish-pink around my eyes, my normally fairly smooth skin-tone is blotchy, hyper-pigmented and criss-crossed with hash marks. my eye-lids are still swollen and my fore-head under the lights looks serrated and my profile looks curiously wide and flat. even though i normally don’t wear foundation unless for work, there is no way that i can walk around like this. most people at work have only seen me once my make-up’s been done and one of them said, “what’s the big deal?” this morning he sees me on my way into the make-up room and all he can do is say, “shit!”, shake his head and say it again, “SHIT!”.

for now, based on my experience, here’s what i can advise anyone else thinking of getting a micro-laser peel or periorbital laser resurfacing:

  • 1. be absolutely certain you know what you’re letting yourself in for.
  • 2. ask as many questions as you can think of.
  • 3. be prepared for anything.
  • 4. a laser peel is different from a tca peel. it’s deeper, and takes more recovery time.
  • 5. it’s going to hurt more than you think it will.
  • 6. you’ll get over it…
  • 7. … if you give yourself enough time to recover. i’d suggest at least a full week.
  • 8. if your job, as does mine, entails being under studio lights, know that every little irregularity will be magnified. give yourself twice as much recovery time.
  • 9. have someone who can drive you to and from the procedure, to post-op visits, pick up prescriptions and just generally take care of you.
  • 10. do not do this procedure unless you’re 100% healthy. the recovery places huge stress on your immune system, so make sure it’s entirely up to par.
  • 11. don’t pick! do not touch your face unless it’s absolutely necessary and then only as little as possible.
  • 12. did i mention it before? DO NOT PICK  AT YOUR FACE! if you do, you will regret it.
  • 2 MONTHS POST-PEEL, EDITED TO INCLUDE: 13.  if you’re bi-racial, or have an olive skin-tone, think seriously before doing this procedure and ask your doctor if it’s advisable. i’m beginning to think it’s not.
in make up 1 week after periorbital resurfacing

in make up 1 week after periorbital resurfacing

 

by next week when the swelling has gone down totally, when i’m over my respiratory infection and hopefully when my skin-tone evens out,  i might have a better idea about how i feel about this. 

for now i’ll hold off judgement on whether i think it was worth it.

what was that saying about beauty being skin-deep?