modern day torture – suffering for beauty – day I

city of angels 2000

city of angels 2000

8 years ago when i’d just done an episode of nypd blue and got a recurring role on city of angels with blair underwood, i wrote the following:

hollywood knives               08.10.00 a.k.a. methinks the lady doth protest too much

i’m 30-plus

yet i haven’t been snipped

or nipped and tucked

so i think it sucks

that i’m being compared

to others who’ve had

their everything


lifted and sculpted.

it seems that this is

what our culture

requires of me.

yeah, i have looked in

the mirror

and i know what i see.


i think i look

perfectly presentable au natural.

hell, i’ve got good genes,

even my denims fit well.

yet it seems

“by any means necessary”

is now the rule

(i’m telling you malcolm

would stew in his grave

if he knew).

are we all fools?!

these days skin is stretched so thin

that skin-deep takes on

a whole new meaning.

we want to live till methuselah

but still look twelve;

“oh is that a line? i think i’ll skip lunch

and get my dermis dissolved!”


i really hope this insanity isn’t lasting.

if you offered me a flawless future

with forever youth,

truth is i’d never say never,

yet i can’t conceive that i’d accept

and though these avowals may not hold fast,

right now i do like to believe…

i’d take the past.

okay, so the day has come. my avowals have not held fast.

now, being a woman of “a certain age”, i’ve been getting more and more concerned about what i see on the monitor at the studio every day; my hereditary puffy eye-lids getting puffier and the troughs below my eyes (what one of the other actors calls his “gucci bags”) getting deeper and deeper.

i’m certainly by no means ready to go under the knife (though i have to admit that watching dr. 90210 is desensitizing – makes elective surgery seem almost normal), but i’ve been speaking to dr. CENSORED of the CENSORED for a while now about non-surgical alternatives. his clients include CENSORED and CENSORED. i had 2 tca peels previously, done by rachel moayer out of dr celia brown’s office in woodland hills, california, but i’ve never considered a laser peel before. dr CENSORED tells me that periorbital laser resurfacing will make a difference to the area around my eyes without having to go under the knife. the only problem is that i need 4 consecutive  days off of work and at the moment i am working all the time.

i mention this to the production manager at work and she finally works out the schedule so that i have friday through monday off. only problem is that i’ve already signed up to run a 10k on the saturday morning and have a fire performance i’ve agreed to do saturday night for a friend, wanda shuenyane of vwv so i decide not to do it. wednesday i wake up with the worst sore throat and realize that i have the flu. i’m so bummed because it means i won’t be able to run my 10k. i’ve been preparing for so long and i can’t wait to get it behind me. i realize though that this frees me up to get the laser procedure. i call up dr. CENSORED and he agrees to keep the office open late on thursday evening to accommodate my schedule.

i get there around 5.30p.m. after i finish at the studio. it’s all happening so fast. i’m given some numbing cream to put around my eyes while i wait in the very stylish waiting room. when i go in to consult with dr. CENSORED, we decide to laser my whole face, but do more intensive treatment around my eyes. it’s all happened so fast that i’ve forgotten to bring my glasses even though i’d thought about it the night before. i remove my contact lenses and next thing i’m on the table. i have no idea what to expect. the assistant places some black-out lenses in my eyes in order to protect them from the laser and all goes dark.

CENSORED informs me that he’s going to give me a number of injections in order to numb my face. there are 8 in total and they hurt like a mother. little do i know what’s coming.

CENSORED fires up the laser and i can’t believe how painful it is. i ask him how much of this i’m supposed to feel and he says it’s normal to feel something. however, this is not just “something”. i feel as if i’m being branded with each pass of the laser. my face is immobilised, my lips feel like sausages, but still i am feeling every second of this procedure. i feel like a zombie – one of the living dead. like i’m paralyzed, yet i can feel everything. i have a pretty high pain threshold, so i grit my teeth and i bear it. i try yoga-breathing, i visualize melting into the table in order to make me relax, but eventually my body will no longer obey my mind and i start trembling uncontrollably.  they stop the procedure for a few minutes in order to allow me to recover. i only discover afterwards that this is not normal. when we finish, the assistant discovers a few spots which have not been done. the black-out lenses are already out, but we have to go back and do a few more passes.

my face is on fire and i’m barely keeping it together. the assistant is fantastic. she gets me some coffee with sugar and helps me get my lenses back in. apparently the norm is that people have someone bring them to the office and  drive them home. that way they can have a sedative in order to ease the process, but with my time constraints, this wasn’t possible.

i finally get myself together enough to drive home, declining the nursing assistant’s offer to drop me off.on the way home though, i find i cannot blink my eye-lids which means that my lenses constantly blur and i have to reach up and pull my eye-lids down to manually blink my eyes while i drive. i’m miserable.

i manage to get in just enough food in order to take the antibiotic for my flu and the painkillers and 1/2 sleeping tablet from dr. CENSORED. i’m in bed by 9.30 and sleep on a pile of pillows as instructed. i wake at 2a.m. and take the other 1/2 dormicum which keeps me asleep till about 6. my face is puffy and striated like a maori tattoo.

i get in some yoghurt post haste so i can take my meds. i can’t wait for the painkillers to kick in.

i can’t believe i CHOSE to do this!

i’m miserable!

@%$^%  ($%$#  #@%$$&^ $#%$#!!!!!!!!

(to be continued)