… can break your heart. Couple it with insecurity, and it can possess you.
I will probably regret this entry. I may remove it… but probably not. I have always endeavored to be honest, to reveal all sides of myself, and I’m not going to stop now.
Without delving into a whole lot of detail about my finances, I will boil it down to this. Once upon a time, I had retirement/emergency savings. Thanks to some money my father left me plus my own frugality, I was pretty well set for the future. I was able to pay my bills with freelance work and I spent little on myself. I could take a distribution each year from my decedent IRA, but I kept those small. I knew I wasn’t going to get married and that I’d have to take care of myself when I got old. That seemed like a doable goal.
Then the economy went to hell a few years ago. Two things happened; my freelance work all but dried up, and my investments lost some of their value. And I started taking bigger distributions, because I had to live on them.
I waited for things to get better. They didn’t. My skills are good, but highly specialized, and nowadays people want employees, even freelance ones, to have way more knowledge and capabilities than I do. I didn’t want to go back to the full-time office grind; it nearly killed me when I was in it. So I kept hoping for the best, and kept taking money out. Everything got more expensive. My medical insurance alone is nearly $1000 a month.
I still have some savings. I am not destitute. But the future is no longer sewn up like it once was.
So what do I want to do? Spend a whole lot of money. On something for my vanity.
I have a fairly youthful body. Some of that is luck; a lot of it is old-fashioned hard work with diet and exercise. But I can’t exercise my face. I see myself in the mirror, in pictures, and my eyes are unwillingly drawn to the hanging flesh under my chin and on my neck. Yes, a wattle. I look like a turkey.
I got my frugal side from my mother, which is why I have very old furniture and old electronics. I don’t wear designer clothes/shoes, I buy drug store cosmetics. I don’t go to expensive shows and plays, I don’t travel. I live simply. I have not one penny of debt. So thank you to Mom for that, for my ability to live that way without wanting, wanting, wanting. But I also got her crippling vanity, her obsession with looks.
In my mother’s lifetime she has had: Breast implants, a nose job, two facelifts, her eyes done twice, at least one laser peel (probably more), and liposuction. Where she got the money for all that, I don’t know. Yes, she looked great.
There is a famous cosmetic surgeon in Los Angeles; I know his name well, I know some of his patients, I’ve seen his ads and local-access programs. He does beautiful, subtle work. Recently, I saw an ad for one of his procedures, called a laser necklift. He had an offer going for a free consultation. Oh, what the hell, I thought. I made an appointment for one.
Last Wednesday, I went to see him. He was a lovely man, talked with me, explained the procedure and what it would entail. Because it was considered a “mini” lift, the cutting would be minimal, and all behind my ears, nothing would show. Unlike a full facelift, it would not require drains, and the recovery time would be short. And as he manipulated my skin with his deft fingers, he showed me in the mirror how I would look. My wattle would be gone and my lower face would be smoothed out. I’d look about 15 years younger.
I was ecstatic… until his assistant told me the cost. I felt sick, and told her there was no way I could touch that. She saw how my face had dropped even further than usual and said, “Let me talk to him and see what I can do,” and she left the room for a few minutes. When she came back, she had gotten the doctor and the anesthesiologist to lower their costs by about a third. It was a substantial discount.
But still very expensive.
And yet, I couldn’t bear to tell her no. I told her I’d think about it. And I did. By the time the day was over, I’d convinced myself this was meant to be, that I wanted this more than anything, and I would take it out of my savings. I’d make it work. What the hell… my life is now, right? What if I get hit by a bus when I’m 60? What’s the point of denying myself every damn thing?
It would be my birthday present to myself, I rationalized.
I got excited… euphoric, even. Every time I looked in the mirror, I’d make a face at that loose flesh and think, “You’re history.” I looked forward to seeing my image in the mirror and in pictures without cringeing.
I’d be pretty again. Not pretty “for my age,” but youthfully pretty. I’d recapture the looks I had in my wasted years, the ones where I was too depressed to feel attractive.
On Friday night, John and I went out to dinner. As we ate our sushi, I told him of my plan. He very calmly said, “You can’t do that. You don’t have the money.”
I got angry. “I do too have it,” I insisted. “I’ll take it out of savings.”
“You’re already living on that savings,” he pointed out. “It’s not a bottomless well. You’re burning through it, you’re out of work, and now you want to spend an additional [ridiculous amount of money]? Can’t you see how that makes no sense?”
He wasn’t unkind. He was sympathetic, non-judgmental, said he understood the desire and if I had the money, he’d encourage me to go for it. But I didn’t have it.
Of course, he was right. And I felt myself crash down into reality. I’m not rich. I’m a middle-aged, unemployed woman with an uncertain future. I can’t afford to do this for myself. I just can’t.
I wish I didn’t want it so damn much. I wish it didn’t mean so much to me.
I sat in the restaurant, tears rolling down my face. I couldn’t stop. John tried his best to cheer me up, to make me feel better. He said maybe I could do this in the future. Maybe I should redouble my efforts to find work. Maybe, maybe, maybe. “I think you’re beautiful,” he said. I know he means that, and I love him for it. But love is blind. He also thinks I look like the T-Mobile girl in the commercials. I look nothing like her, aside from the fact that we’re both brunette.
Saturday, I forgot things temporarily, as John took me out for a lovely dinner and we had champagne. But every time I caught sight of my reflection in the mirror, in the car window, etc., my heart sank. Today, when I was ready to leave for home and knew I’d be alone once again with my thoughts with no distractions, I started to cry again. Dammit. I hate being such a crier. I wonder where it all comes from sometimes; I feel like if I don’t stop, I’ll dry up and blow away.
When my mind is in this negative state, it wanders into other dangerous territory. I started thinking about some scene women I’ve known, the ones who get things given to them. Both femdoms and subs… their rent, new cars, trips, etc. I wrote in my book about some of the stories I heard when I was working in the dungeon. It seemed unfair to me even then, how some women didn’t have to do anything and men just gave them things.
John was seeing a domme, a young and beautiful one, whose primary slave paid her rent and her bills. This guy made a ton of money and gave freely to her. And what did she have to do in return? Not much, except abuse him. She didn’t even have to have sex with him; she saw to it that he wouldn’t have sex with anyone again. Yes, she ruined his manhood, physically. I’ll spare you the details of how. And he let her. When I expressed my shock and disgust to John, he said, “He wanted it. He got off on it.” Yeah, well. He won’t be getting off on anything else.
She once said to John, “I think you should show me your devotion and buy me a new car.” Fortunately, he wasn’t that devoted.
I used to look at those situations and feel contempt and anger. I don’t want someone to pay my rent. I don’t need fancy clothes and jewelry; what would I do with them? My old furniture (that’s so old, someone referred to it as “retro”) is still comfortable. I am not interested in travel. But you know what? If some well-to-do, kind person were to hand me a check and say, “Here, Erica. Go knock 10-15 years off your face, with my blessing,” I’d take it.
I’m not proud of this. But it is what it is.
John held me for a long time before he let me go home today. I know he’s worried about me, feels bad that I’m so down on myself. I’m grateful for him. Because I know others would look at this desire, this need, and think I’m vain and foolish. But I can’t help it.
Why am I writing all this? Because it’s where I’m at. Because keeping it bottled up and secret makes it worse.
If you’ve managed to read through this… thank you.