I was sitting in my plastic surgeon’s office yesterday (now, don’t start visualizing images of body dysmorphism, I’ll explain why I was there in a bit…) seeing the results of major sun damage via one of those special cameras that can see beneath the skin’s layers. And let me tell you, the image wasn’t pretty.
Why was I at a plastic surgeon’s office? Well, I actually interviewed Dr. Amiya Prasard a few months ago to get an understanding of his patients’ hopes and desires when it comes to their appearances. Given that he deals with the extreme measures of transformation, I thought he could shed some interesting light on the matter. Indeed he did and I’ll share his insights in a coming post.
Now back to my sun-damaged skin. The doctor was quite astute in showing me these images. He was, in effect, acting as a prophet by letting me know that the skin damage would continually come to the surface in my future. I’m not naive. I know that medicine is a business as well as a calling, and I was a potential customer. But I couldn’t resist: “Can it be reversed?” I asked/prayed. “Yes, it can.” I was hooked. Not only could I prevent more damage or cover it up, I could go back in time and erase it! I was ready to roll.
This notion isn’t new. Skin care companies talk about reversing the signs of aging often. But it struck me at that point that there are very few parts of our lives that we actually CAN reverse. Can I take away the hours slaving away on a pitch instead of spending time with my children? Can I reverse the hurt I caused one of my best friends? No. Now sometimes that’s a good thing because these experiences teach us something. And they force us to see that there are consequences to our actions. But I would still prefer to have done these – and many other – things differently.
Perhaps my eagerness to take immediate action on my skin isn’t just to protect (or reclaim) my youthful looks. Maybe it’s a form of catharsis. It’s a way to erase at least one mistake when I’m powerless to erase all the other, more significant ones.