November 07, 2014
I Am Gross
I believe I have already blogged about The Case of Dr. Hottie and the Sprained Ankle. In short, upon falling on the ice several years ago and severely spraining my ankle (it took six months to heal), I made sure -- before calling Dr. Hottie and begging him for an "emergency" appointment -- to first shave my leg, so that he wouldn't have to gaze upon my hairiness.
And then I shaved the other one. In case he wanted to do a visual comparison for swollenness or something. All of this whilst in agony and unable to put ANY WEIGHT AT ALL on my hurt ankle.
So, yeah. That was back in the day when my self-standards were much higher. Oh sure, I will make sure to shave my armpits and put on clean undies before I get a massage. And I still like to at least make an attempt at freshening up before going to the gyne. I'm not an animal.
But the line between wench and animal is starting to blur just a bit...
Two weeks ago, my left knee started hurting. Because three weeks ago, I went up and down three flights of stairs carrying heavy things. Multiple times. And I didn't want to admit -- to Dr. Hottie or myself or anyone -- that I am not capable of doing a thing that normal people do every day with ease. So instead of icing my sore knee or in any way allowing it to heal, I did a ton of walking and basically crippled myself.
Wow. Rereading all that, I'm basically telling the world that I am clumsy, vain, hairy, woefully out-of-shape, and just dumb as a piece of driftwood. All in four paragraphs. Woo-hoo! Personal record!
Anyhoo, this is all to say that I hobbled into Dr. Hottie's office on my janky knee, without having shaved my leg first. Like a goddamn baboon. I hadn't even exfoliated and moisturized recently. I am shaking my head slowly in disgust and disbelief.
Never one to do things halfway, my story continues.
Later on that same week, I had my semi-annual appointment with my dermatologist, in which she asks how my rosacea is doing, and I tell her that the current regimen is continuing to keep it as well under control as I had ever hoped, and she renews any prescriptions I am running out of. Bing, bang, boom.
But when she came into the exam room, she said, "Remember we scheduled your full-body exam for this appointment!" As if she were saying, "Remember we have chai tea and almond cookies for you!"
A full-body exam from your dermatologist is exactly what it sounds like. She looks at every inch of your skin to see if there's any potential cancer. EVERY. INCH. With a magnifying glass. It just couldn't be any more nightmarish. Okay, maybe if the magnifying glass were, oh, I don't know, made out of a kitten femur and oozing bile? But even then, if would only be more nightmarish by a hair.
(See what I did there? Tying it all together? With hair?)
Suspecting that I was mere moments away from shredding my dermatologist's retinas with the multitudinous grotesqueries of my fish-belly-white flesh -- and with her retinas, the last remaining crumb of my prestige -- I fumbled through the seven stages of grief.
Shock. "WHAT?! That's TODAY?!"
Denial. "You can't really expect me to have remembered that. I made this appointment six months ago!"
Anger. "It's not like you can make me. I'm paying YOU! You work for ME!"
Bargaining. "Okay, what if we just make this a check-up, and I reschedule the full-body exam?"
Guilt. "I know you're only trying to help. I've had three severe sunburns in my life. I really should let you do your job."
Depression. "I can't believe you're going to see me naked. I'm so fat and hideous. And these lights are so damn bright."
Acceptance. "But hey, you're a skin doctor. I'm sure you've seen all sorts of disgusting things. And at least I'm not covered in pustules!"
So I stripped to my granny panties, and she looked at every speckle and freckle on my pallid hide. Neither of us fainted or hurled. I got a clean bill of health. She got another reason to skip dinner because I hadn't shaved my pits, nor even whore-bathed them with a paper towel, so they remained sweaty from an unusual amount of running around at work that day. Just bleh.
And all this is to say that being 45 (just turned last week!) is a little scary, but also completely fucking magnificent. Because I don't give one good goddamn about impressing anyone with my outward appearance.
When I was little, I used to think it was sad that my Mom wore granny panties and "stretchie pants." That she would sometimes wear a shirt with gravy on it, or a tank top without shaving her pits. I thought it was sad that she had stopped caring what she looked like. Like a hobo.
[Hang in there, Mom. I AM going somewhere good with this.]
In my twenties, I pitied Mom because OBVIOUSLY it was her obnoxious children that kept her from tending to her outward appearance every day. We had killed her will to live! Sucked her soul from her exhausted husk! It was MY fault she sometimes got up from a nap and forgot to brush the back of her hair so that it wasn't sticking up funny! I had DRIVEN her to this!!!
But now? Now I finally know what Mom must've known then. That no one is looking at you as hard as they are looking at themselves. That anyone impressed by a flawless appearance isn't worth impressing. That being invisible to men is SUCH a load off! That there are much better things to spend your time and money and energy on.
Look, Ma! I'm wearing granny panties and stretchie pants! My pits are stubbly, and there's soup on my shirt! I look like crap in a bathing suit, and I'm closer to dead than I am to the day I was born! And I don't give a rolling shit! Ahhhhh ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! Awesome.