This story features a few personal, anecdotal experiences and should not substitute medical advice. If you're having health concerns of any kind, we urge you to speak to a healthcare professional.
I've been presumed at least a decade younger than my actual age for my entire adult life. In my 20s, that manifested when I was cast as a teen in commercial modeling work. Now in my mid-40s, with the tail end of modeling about twelve years in my rearview mirror, I’m content to get a look of surprise when I disclose my age to someone who asks.
While I value and acknowledge wrinkles and gray hair look beautiful, allowing both to exist for me personally is a ledge I’ve been hesitant to jump off of. My hair is orchid-purple, my clothes are mostly torn up, and my tattoos number in the dozens. I'm not fully prepared to grow up yet, let alone older.
The signs of aging came on suddenly in 2020. When things reopened, I put on makeup for the first time in ages, only to discover it sunk into wrinkles brought on by a year of nonstop stress. When I discussed this with a friend, I told her I 'hated the way injectables look'—and she corrected me. She said she knew what I meant was that I hated the way obviously done injectables look, and chances are I'm not aware of them most of the time.
After that conversation, she sufficiently altered my view on injectables. I decided to get fillers under my eyes to finish the work PRP began. Once I committed to the concept, I opted to do them everywhere possible. I hoped to be pleased with the results, but I didn't anticipate I'd be downright ecstatic.
Rather than hiding I did this, which is common in our society, I've been shouting it from the treetops. I've found myself compelled to reframe the conversation and break down the judgments we hold around anti-aging. We should view injectable treatments as something that can be emotionally fulfilling, not an act conducted out of fear or ageism.
Judgments We Hold Around Anti-Aging Practices
The way we treat aging in our society can be conflicting and confusing. We've perpetuated so many simultaneous truths and fallacies that distilling them into our value system can be cumbersome at best—and impossible at worst. These are the topline most troublesome judgments I've encountered by existing in our society.
There's Only One Way to Grow Old "Gracefully"
Society gives us so many incongruous messages about aging, and it can feel impossible to know the "right" way to age. We revere the elderly as beacons of wisdom, but we also cart them off to nursing homes to die alone. Women who let their hair go gray are both praised for their bravery and vilified for "letting themselves go." Tabloids share photos of celebrities without makeup, decrying how bad they look. They also share photos of celebs with "too much" plastic surgery, citing they look even worse. Their actions send the message that perfection is a moving target.
Anti-Aging Treatments Are "Shallow"
We judge people who get injectables as vapid, shallow, and narcissistic. There’s a collective idea that injectables look fake because, as my friend pointed out, the only people we notice with them are the obvious ones. About 10 million dermal injections are administered in the U.S. annually. Do we really think that many people have no depth of character?
Wellness Professionals Should Only Rely on "Natural Remedies"
I can't count how many times I've been accused of being a "bad" example of wellness because I have tattoos and dyed hair. I do what I do because I think of life as a pick-your-battles situation, and I'd rather take a lot of supplements than never have exciting rainbow hair. Wellness professionals are judged extra harshly when we do anything "unnatural" to hinder the aging process because we're expected to be beacons of holistic living. That's an unrealistic ideal for anyone.
My Fulfilling Dermal Filler Experience
We care so strongly about what others think of us in our youth, but I know I did this completely for myself.
I'm not someone generally accused of being shallow. I've shared countless personal stories about my self-growth, from how half a decade of chronic illness made me a better person to how evolving partnerships rendered me unable to label my sexuality. I'm a highly sensitive person and someone who moves through life guided by her intuition. And in my opinion, getting "work" done can be downright spiritual.
It's been over a month since I got three vials of two different types of Restylane poked into my face. The experience was hours long and not a pleasant one. I was sore for a day or two afterward. I received the fillers under my eyes, in the tops of my cheeks, in my nasal-labial folds, and around my laugh lines. For over a month now, I have yet to look in the mirror and not be taken aback. The face I see in the mirror now is what I imagine I'd have looked like without the half-decade of chronic illness, the years in abusive relationships, or the ups and downs of long-term freelance life. I'm grateful to have experienced everything I have in life, but I'm thrilled my face no longer displays it.
Thanks to dermal fillers, I have more confidence and feel more youthful. Having always had dark circles under my eyes, this is the first time I feel attractive without a stitch of makeup in my adult life. I can honestly say I'm happier looking in the mirror now than I was in my 20s. Back then, I didn't have the same kind of perspective, and I'd certainly never seen a tired and fine-lined face looking back at me. I have the gift of appreciation now, which sadly is a rarity in youth, and I'm far more secure in my body than I was when younger. We care so strongly about what others think of us in our youth, but I know I did this completely for myself.
The most amazing element of this experience is that my practitioner could fully honor my desire for the work not to be obvious. No one can tell I did this before I let them know; the main comment I get is that I look like I got "the best night's sleep ever."
All people deserve to feel happy looking at themselves in the mirror—whatever that means to you. Years ago, I shifted my method of nutrition guidance from telling people what to eat based on their health conditions to helping them get in touch with what their bodies wanted. In turn, my clients experienced far more success on their wellness journeys. I think we'd be better served by treating anti-aging as intuitively as nutrition professionals now treat eating. We need to embrace it as a journey and live moment to moment in the most joyful way possible.