Author Topic: Trying to come back to MMM...you are going to smack me for this.  (Read 4564 times)

jeninco

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Re: Trying to come back to MMM...you are going to smack me for this.
« Reply #50 on: May 07, 2019, 10:23:45 PM »
So sorry Sol, if you think it is "gross". There are a number of men who think by saying they are not a fan of makeup, high heels, expensive clothes, botox think they are being somehow supportive of females, when it is just another judgemental and paternalistic twist on what should women do, and not do. It's like the virtuous woman versus the fallen women deal.

You've grossly misinterpreted my post.

I think that's probably fine, and that I shouldn't correct you.

Sol, FWIW, I don't think I misinterpreted  -- I've found you to be generally supportive and sensible all over the forums. (I know I'm not partgypsy)

However, as Parizade pointed out, if after some careful thought, this is something that the OP finds is reasonably a professional cost with expected professional benefits, it's a rational decision. Even if you, I, and even the OP find it to be supporting sexist expectations for female appearances -- because none of us can choose to fight every battle, ever time. Sometimes you just want to let one or two go by, so you can get your stuff done (and/or keep your powder dry for the big fights), you know?

In this case, I feel like questions around "why do you think this is important enough to spend $ and time on it" are completely fair. "Gross", directed at a woman over XX years, who's trying to maintain a professional personna, is .... personal and gendered, and reads harsher then you probably meant. I think you didn't mean it to be a comment about someone else's appearance, but it's easy to read that way.

In fact, in my interpretation, you intended it to be a comment on societal expectations toward female attractiveness, in which case I wholeheartedly agree!  But everyone has to decide where she stands with respect to being willing to stick out none, some, or all of the time. If the OP wants to make a splash by being an awesome psychotherapist, perhaps she doesn't want the initial impression of her to be "oh, she seems really old." In my experience (also watching my mother, and grandmother) it's a lot easier to be a professional "older" woman in a lot of fields if you look some nebulous but un-memorable version of "mature."

I also wanted to add that I read a lot more then I comment, and I really appreciate your insight and compassion and egalitarianism, especially when discussions take ugly turns.

psychomoustache

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Re: Trying to come back to MMM...you are going to smack me for this.
« Reply #51 on: May 08, 2019, 06:55:11 AM »
Again, your thoughtful comments - agreeing and disagreeing and face-punchy or whatever - are fine with me.

Let me get back to the issue with "the doctor who has more right to her own ageing". Yes, this is pretty awful - and I hate that I feel this way. However, I'm not an MD so possibly if I were I'd still want the damn Botox - I don't know.

OK bear with me again - if Botox is a sort of narcissistic add-on (it would seem that I view it this way) then my logic, if I examine it honestly, is that the letters MD after one's name would be a sufficient narcissistic add-on to replace the Botox. Yes, this is not a healthy way to maintain one's ego integrity, but guess what, your friendly neighborhood shrinks are probably not the most intact people psychologically speaking (oh I am sorry to disillusion you! but I'm sure you knew this!)

This is not necessarily an impediment to doing good work if said shrink remains as honest as she can be.

The way the world seems to work (and this is only MO) is women are seen as interesting beings either when they are young, or when they have achieved above and beyond what other beings have managed. Someday I would love to feel badass enough to have an FU-and-your-opinion face full of wrinkles and sagginess. For now, I am badass enough to admit that I have a problem with feeling a tad inferior to my doctor friend and that I regret I couldn't deal with math and biochemistry enough to go to med school.

In any case, I love it here on this forum - and though I have trouble with my competitive streak (and poor narcissistic resources) I can still take and appreciate your criticism.

Malkynn

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Re: Trying to come back to MMM...you are going to smack me for this.
« Reply #52 on: May 08, 2019, 08:05:28 AM »
Again, your thoughtful comments - agreeing and disagreeing and face-punchy or whatever - are fine with me.

Let me get back to the issue with "the doctor who has more right to her own ageing". Yes, this is pretty awful - and I hate that I feel this way. However, I'm not an MD so possibly if I were I'd still want the damn Botox - I don't know.

OK bear with me again - if Botox is a sort of narcissistic add-on (it would seem that I view it this way) then my logic, if I examine it honestly, is that the letters MD after one's name would be a sufficient narcissistic add-on to replace the Botox. Yes, this is not a healthy way to maintain one's ego integrity, but guess what, your friendly neighborhood shrinks are probably not the most intact people psychologically speaking (oh I am sorry to disillusion you! but I'm sure you knew this!)

This is not necessarily an impediment to doing good work if said shrink remains as honest as she can be.

The way the world seems to work (and this is only MO) is women are seen as interesting beings either when they are young, or when they have achieved above and beyond what other beings have managed. Someday I would love to feel badass enough to have an FU-and-your-opinion face full of wrinkles and sagginess. For now, I am badass enough to admit that I have a problem with feeling a tad inferior to my doctor friend and that I regret I couldn't deal with math and biochemistry enough to go to med school.

In any case, I love it here on this forum - and though I have trouble with my competitive streak (and poor narcissistic resources) I can still take and appreciate your criticism.

I'm sure you are aware that female MDs experience just as much insecurity as any other females. Those two little letters don't do anything in and of themselves to protect anyone's self esteem. I just spent a weekend with a female surgeon, who is a normal woman with normal insecurities just like the rest of us.

The pit of trying to obtain self worth through vanity is never ever full. There is no level of outside approval that can make anyone feel even remotely good about themselves if internally they do not believe their own intrinsic worth.

The women I know who feel good in their own skin don't feel so because they have something that makes them interesting to other people. These women feel comfortable because they feel satisfied with who they are as human beings and how *they feel* about what they've done in this world. They're too busy with focus elsewhere on things that give them a sense of life satisfaction to be concerned with what others think of the appearance of their skin.

This isn't necessarily limited to people with great recognition and accomplishments either. Some of these brilliantly self actualized women are hyper focused on pretty pedestrian loves like gardening, coaching their kids gymnastics, or a friend who dedicates herself to caring for her mother who had a major stroke. These aren't world-class accomplishments that garner attention or approval, but they are rich lives filled with deep satisfaction .

I've also gone out of my way as a medical professional to cultivate an appearance that sends a very strong message of "I'm not here for your gaze." I used to have big, wavy, waist-length blond hair, and after a few years of practice, I chopped it all off to about 1 inch and dyed it black. Well, my patients had some OPINIONS on that. Countless men gave me their unsolicited opinions about my hair. Even worse, they often dictated to me that I should switch it back, as if they had some say over my body.

I experienced this day in and day out for nearly a year until I switched jobs and it was such a relief to no longer have to have multiple conversations daily about the sexual preferences of my male patients, because that's exactly what it was. They were dictating to me that I should return to a state that they found more sexually desirable. It really got to me.

So, at my new job, I ditched all of my flattering "professional" wear, high heels, makeup, underwire bra, etc and switched to an entirely functional and comfortable uniform of sports bra, merino wool athletic gear, and running shoes with orthotics in them, and no makeup. I endeavor to be basically as nondescript as possible, and I have actually found that I really prefer the way patients treat me. The level of respect is actually higher in many ways, and they don't see me as unprofessional, they just assume I'm really really outdoorsy.

Maybe you truly do need to look a certain way, but maybe you've also adapted yourself to practice in a particular way that benefits from looking that way? Maybe it's all self fulfilling? I know I used to think that looking "polished" was a key part of my professional identity since I work in a very fancy clinic, and it was easy to find evidence to support that because I was generating a professional identity that was tied to that appearance. Once I changed the appearance, I adapted the professional identity and no longer needed to look a certain way, because I was no longer generating the expectation that I should.

[ETA: Not saying you should do what I did, I'm suggesting you examine critically how much of the pressure to look a certain way professionally is coming from behaviours that self-perpetuate the need to look a certain way, vs actual objective pressure on all female professionals. Added thanks to kris's comment.]

You have openly discussed a lot of distressing internal scripts you have, probably largely influenced by your mother, which is really sad.

I'm genuinely sad for you that you see yourself through this lens, where you devalue your professional validity compared to others of different credentials (not better, different), and where you feel shamed by one of your closest loved ones for natural and unavoidable changes in your body that don't in any way affect your health.

Your mom should be so proud of you. You should be so proud of you.
The appearance of your neck in a photo should have no influence over either of your perspectives on your self worth.

You could quit the botox and fillers, get in an accident, lose a limb and have burn scars across your face, have your hair fall out, and you would still be worth exactly what you are today, perhaps more, because you would have to be pretty badass to survive all of that.

What you do with your appearance is how you choose to express yourself externally, but it does not and cannot determine anything about your value.
« Last Edit: May 08, 2019, 08:17:26 AM by Malkynn »

Kris

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Re: Trying to come back to MMM...you are going to smack me for this.
« Reply #53 on: May 08, 2019, 08:11:22 AM »
Itís also worth pointing out that OP lives and works in France, which in my experience is both more and less/differently restrictive culturally around concepts of femininity and female professionalism.


AnswerIs42

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Re: Trying to come back to MMM...you are going to smack me for this.
« Reply #54 on: May 08, 2019, 08:26:42 AM »
Respect to the OP for being so honest and open to discussion on this topic. While it seems a bit crazy to me, everything I want to say has already been said by others on this thread, so I won't take the discussion in circles and pile on the OP any further. Except for one thing:

For now, I am badass enough to admit that I have a problem with feeling a tad inferior to my doctor friend and that I regret I couldn't deal with math and biochemistry enough to go to med school.

There will always be someone "better" to compare yourself with if you go looking. You've probably achieved more than most.

partgypsy

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Re: Trying to come back to MMM...you are going to smack me for this.
« Reply #55 on: May 08, 2019, 09:49:26 AM »
Thanks Malkynn. I really appreciate your posts.

I think all women, go through this process having this onslaught of expectations, and then filtering those inner and outer expectations. I realize in retrospect much of my life, whether it was in high school, college, and jobs afterwards, I would dress in overly loose "unsexy" clothes because I was not comfortable with the male gaze and being leered and judged at (even though there is no way to completely avoid it). My first real job I had a job in a medical office. The rule when the male doctor was in attendance, all females who worked there were required to wear skirt or dress and hose and flats or heels. And so I literally picked cheapest skirts and dresses I could find at some dress barn type place, because while I fulfilled the requirement I thought it was a stupid rule, and while I would be willing to spend some money on a pair of nice wool blend trousers, wasn't going to spend some serious money so a doctor could view my legs with a prettier frame. 

And in general afterwards, dressing the opposite of sexy, because I felt for my jobs the focus should be on my competence, not my youth or appearance. 

I think I went so far that way, that I kind of missed some of the fun of dressing up and being feminine, and am trying to reclaim it. But overall part of the benefits of being female getting older, is getting over these kind of hang ups and brainwashing that takes both a life to take up and a lifetime to get over till you get to a balance that works for you. 

pachnik

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Re: Trying to come back to MMM...you are going to smack me for this.
« Reply #56 on: May 08, 2019, 10:22:16 AM »
Hi Psychomoustache,
I remember you from before - some years ago?  Nice to 'see' you again. 

I don't have much to add but thought i'd share my experience with dying my hair.  It is similar to using botox. 

I coloured my hair dark brown for about 20 years starting in my early 30's when the first few greys began coming in.  About 4 or 5 years ago, the grey hairs were coming in more plentifully. and there was quite a silver patch right at the top of my head.   So three weeks after a hair appt, the roots were already very obvious - silver hair against dark brown. 

Around my 50th birthday, I got fed up.  I would be looking at my hair line in the mirror and feeling very self-conscious about it.  So I got the idea to give myself the gift of not colouring my hair anymore for my 50th birthday.  I grew it out with low lights for the first year or so and about 2 years ago, stopping doing any colouring.  It has been very freeing.  No more looking in my mirror and feeling badly about the regrowth line. 

I get compliments from people about how nice the silvery bits look.   A few people even asked if they were highlights which I found quite funny. 

One thing i did to sort of get used to the idea of having silvery/grey in my hair was to look at other people - especially women - with grey hair.  I would look at them and to me it looked okay.  So, my thought process was 'if they look okay so will I". 

But the choice is of course yours.  It has been an interesting discussion here.  :)   

Parizade

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Re: Trying to come back to MMM...you are going to smack me for this.
« Reply #57 on: May 08, 2019, 11:03:14 AM »
Someday I would love to feel badass enough to have an FU-and-your-opinion face full of wrinkles and sagginess.

I'm curious, what would it take for you to feel this badass? Can you imagine or describe a future scenario where your "ego integrity" is strong and healthy without botox injections? If yes, what is the best path to get there from where you are now?

simonsez

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Re: Trying to come back to MMM...you are going to smack me for this.
« Reply #58 on: May 08, 2019, 11:31:41 AM »
Good thread, appreciate the honesty and my perspective on botox in general has changed somewhat.  I can't relate directly to botox but there is definitely something to be said for being comfortable with your appearance (and for some, even gaining confidence by crafting "a look" that can become a part of their identity).  My dad was completely bald at 32, which is my age now.  I'm not quite there in terms of hair loss but have accepted this coming baldness and have come to enjoy maintaining a clean shaved head with a well-manicured beard look the last few years after I noticed my hair receding/thinning.  I had always been frugal with my hair (hadn't paid for a haircut since soph yr of high school) but it was generally a non-descript shorter-on-the-sides-gradually-longer-on-top.  I never gave it much thought nor did I care - it was just something I did every ~6 weeks.  The funny thing is now that I don't have nearly as much hair, I like my "hair" style a lot more and take pride in the grooming - and to be honest, there is some kind of stress release from shaving my head.

It feels good to feel good^, however we get to that point*.

^ Yes, there are ways to reprogram how you define this for better or worse.
* Though it generally tends to be more expensive for women.

OP - as for the MD thing, I am inclined to think you only think that because the grass seems greener.  If you were a MD then you wouldn't be comparing yourself to who you are now but some other arbitrary group held in high esteem by MDs - heck, you might even feel a GREATER pressure to dote on your appearance.  I noticed you mention the 57 year old looks great (if they looked awful, do you think that would alter how you think about aging or about being a MD?), so that tells me the appearance would still matter a great deal with your perception of greater career prestige.

mm1970

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Re: Trying to come back to MMM...you are going to smack me for this.
« Reply #59 on: May 08, 2019, 11:42:25 AM »
Quote
However, as Parizade pointed out, if after some careful thought, this is something that the OP finds is reasonably a professional cost with expected professional benefits, it's a rational decision. Even if you, I, and even the OP find it to be supporting sexist expectations for female appearances -- because none of us can choose to fight every battle, ever time. Sometimes you just want to let one or two go by, so you can get your stuff done (and/or keep your powder dry for the big fights), you know?

This is a fantastic way of putting it.

Quote
This isn't necessarily limited to people with great recognition and accomplishments either. Some of these brilliantly self actualized women are hyper focused on pretty pedestrian loves like gardening, coaching their kids gymnastics, or a friend who dedicates herself to caring for her mother who had a major stroke. These aren't world-class accomplishments that garner attention or approval, but they are rich lives filled with deep satisfaction .

I've also gone out of my way as a medical professional to cultivate an appearance that sends a very strong message of "I'm not here for your gaze." I used to have big, wavy, waist-length blond hair, and after a few years of practice, I chopped it all off to about 1 inch and dyed it black. Well, my patients had some OPINIONS on that. Countless men gave me their unsolicited opinions about my hair. Even worse, they often dictated to me that I should switch it back, as if they had some say over my body.

I experienced this day in and day out for nearly a year until I switched jobs and it was such a relief to no longer have to have multiple conversations daily about the sexual preferences of my male patients, because that's exactly what it was. They were dictating to me that I should return to a state that they found more sexually desirable. It really got to me.

So, at my new job, I ditched all of my flattering "professional" wear, high heels, makeup, underwire bra, etc and switched to an entirely functional and comfortable uniform of sports bra, merino wool athletic gear, and running shoes with orthotics in them, and no makeup. I endeavor to be basically as nondescript as possible, and I have actually found that I really prefer the way patients treat me. The level of respect is actually higher in many ways, and they don't see me as unprofessional, they just assume I'm really really outdoorsy.

The whole post was fantastic, as usual, but all of this stood out to me.  And reminds me of college, which my then-boyfriend told me how much he loved my hair.  At the time, it was dark blond, and was getting long (below the shoulders a bit, which is long for me).  I immediately went out and chopped it off.  As in, a bob where they used the clippers on the back.  You see, his ex-girlfriend had hair down to her butt.  Um...well, I really did love that short hair.  I think about doing it now.  Mostly I keep it bob/ ponytail length, for the ease.  But the last few months I've noticed a lot of dryness and split ends, and wonder if I should chop it even more.

jeninco

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Re: Trying to come back to MMM...you are going to smack me for this.
« Reply #60 on: May 08, 2019, 12:40:32 PM »

<snip>

The whole post was fantastic, as usual, but all of this stood out to me.  And reminds me of college, which my then-boyfriend told me how much he loved my hair.  At the time, it was dark blond, and was getting long (below the shoulders a bit, which is long for me).  I immediately went out and chopped it off.  As in, a bob where they used the clippers on the back.  You see, his ex-girlfriend had hair down to her butt.  Um...well, I really did love that short hair.  I think about doing it now.  Mostly I keep it bob/ ponytail length, for the ease.  But the last few months I've noticed a lot of dryness and split ends, and wonder if I should chop it even more.

This cracked me up, partly because it's absolutely something I would've done at that age, too.

I absolutely loved having really short hair, except that mine is super thick and grows really quickly and required an expensive cut every 4-6 weeks to keep looking great. Right now I have rather long hair (which I trim myself, using the "pull it into a ponytail" method) because of inertia, mostly.

MaybeBabyMustache

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Re: Trying to come back to MMM...you are going to smack me for this.
« Reply #61 on: May 08, 2019, 02:55:58 PM »
Really can relate to both the struggle, OP, as well as the thoughtful dialogue.

Here's my story, for what it's worth. I'm 43, grew up with a mom who was *very* insecure about aging. She's had a face lift, and keeps her hair very long, and shops at stores that cater to a very young demographic. She used to repeatedly make well intentioned remarks about my appearance. (For the record, I absolutely adore my mom & she's an amazing woman. I feel sad that her own insecurities have had such an impact on her life.)

My mom & I had a major falling out shortly after I had kids. She had a lot of ideas & inputs, that led me to have a (non facial) cosmetic surgery that I have wished I could undue so, so, so, SO many times. Instead, I consider that a tremendous & expensive life lesson that I don't want to repeat. Every time I see that scar, I ask myself if it was worth it. Short story, it wasn't. It didn't make me any happier. It didn't change my life in any positive way & in fact had knock on effects I wasn't expecting, that I think have made me look worse in the long term.

I like to think I'm no longer (goodbye post baby hormones) the kind of person who is so swayed by looks. That said, I am bothered that my hair has finally gone visibly gray. Or, that I have a lot of wrinkles. I've taken medicine for increases the impact of sun exposure, and while I've tried to be careful. . . . you can tell.

I work in Silicon Valley. The dress code is casual. The lack of makeup & designer clothes is noticeable. But, no one has stopped noticing how people look. There is way less of an emphasis on how you look here, and much more of an emphasis on what I can accomplish. But, I still want to look polished, put together, & confident. I'm working every day on that balance.

psychomoustache

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Re: Trying to come back to MMM...you are going to smack me for this.
« Reply #62 on: May 09, 2019, 06:52:44 AM »
Quote from: psychomoustache link=topic=104885.msg2368019#msg2368019 date=1557320111
[/quote

I'm sure you are aware that female MDs experience just as much insecurity as any other females. Those two little letters don't do anything in and of themselves to protect anyone's self esteem. I just spent a weekend with a female surgeon, who is a normal woman with normal insecurities just like the rest of us.

The pit of trying to obtain self worth through vanity is never ever full. There is no level of outside approval that can make anyone feel even remotely good about themselves if internally they do not believe their own intrinsic worth.

The women I know who feel good in their own skin don't feel so because they have something that makes them interesting to other people. These women feel comfortable because they feel satisfied with who they are as human beings and how *they feel* about what they've done in this world. They're too busy with focus elsewhere on things that give them a sense of life satisfaction to be concerned with what others think of the appearance of their skin.

This isn't necessarily limited to people with great recognition and accomplishments either. Some of these brilliantly self actualized women are hyper focused on pretty pedestrian loves like gardening, coaching their kids gymnastics, or a friend who dedicates herself to caring for her mother who had a major stroke. These aren't world-class accomplishments that garner attention or approval, but they are rich lives filled with deep satisfaction .

I've also gone out of my way as a medical professional to cultivate an appearance that sends a very strong message of "I'm not here for your gaze." I used to have big, wavy, waist-length blond hair, and after a few years of practice, I chopped it all off to about 1 inch and dyed it black. Well, my patients had some OPINIONS on that. Countless men gave me their unsolicited opinions about my hair. Even worse, they often dictated to me that I should switch it back, as if they had some say over my body.

I experienced this day in and day out for nearly a year until I switched jobs and it was such a relief to no longer have to have multiple conversations daily about the sexual preferences of my male patients, because that's exactly what it was. They were dictating to me that I should return to a state that they found more sexually desirable. It really got to me.

So, at my new job, I ditched all of my flattering "professional" wear, high heels, makeup, underwire bra, etc and switched to an entirely functional and comfortable uniform of sports bra, merino wool athletic gear, and running shoes with orthotics in them, and no makeup. I endeavor to be basically as nondescript as possible, and I have actually found that I really prefer the way patients treat me. The level of respect is actually higher in many ways, and they don't see me as unprofessional, they just assume I'm really really outdoorsy.

Maybe you truly do need to look a certain way, but maybe you've also adapted yourself to practice in a particular way that benefits from looking that way? Maybe it's all self fulfilling? I know I used to think that looking "polished" was a key part of my professional identity since I work in a very fancy clinic, and it was easy to find evidence to support that because I was generating a professional identity that was tied to that appearance. Once I changed the appearance, I adapted the professional identity and no longer needed to look a certain way, because I was no longer generating the expectation that I should.

[ETA: Not saying you should do what I did, I'm suggesting you examine critically how much of the pressure to look a certain way professionally is coming from behaviours that self-perpetuate the need to look a certain way, vs actual objective pressure on all female professionals. Added thanks to kris's comment.]

You have openly discussed a lot of distressing internal scripts you have, probably largely influenced by your mother, which is really sad.

I'm genuinely sad for you that you see yourself through this lens, where you devalue your professional validity compared to others of different credentials (not better, different), and where you feel shamed by one of your closest loved ones for natural and unavoidable changes in your body that don't in any way affect your health.

Your mom should be so proud of you. You should be so proud of you.
The appearance of your neck in a photo should have no influence over either of your perspectives on your self worth.

You could quit the botox and fillers, get in an accident, lose a limb and have burn scars across your face, have your hair fall out, and you would still be worth exactly what you are today, perhaps more, because you would have to be pretty badass to survive all of that.

What you do with your appearance is how you choose to express yourself externally, but it does not and cannot determine anything about your value.

Whew!
Well I suppose that I asked for some of this - given that I opened up my Pandoraís box of insecurities here on an internet forum.

I am glad for you that you are very secure in your appearance. I am glad that you are who you are.  .

I wasnít asking for opinions on my insecurities - I know they suck, believe me. Like most people, human beings, I am that clichťd ę work in progress Ľ.

So - I do femininity and life differently from some of you, and I was also probably a bit naÔve to overshare my inner struggles. Iím not going to argue who does it better, and I donít feel sad for people who come to see me with struggles similar or different to my own. Feelings are feelings... I donít feel the need to argue over their validity, or be upset at someone elseís struggles.

Thank you to those who shared honestly about their own struggles, and thank you for hearing me out.

Malkynn

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Re: Trying to come back to MMM...you are going to smack me for this.
« Reply #63 on: May 09, 2019, 07:28:10 AM »

Whew!
Well I suppose that I asked for some of this - given that I opened up my Pandoraís box of insecurities here on an internet forum.

I am glad for you that you are very secure in your appearance. I am glad that you are who you are.  .

I wasnít asking for opinions on my insecurities - I know they suck, believe me. Like most people, human beings, I am that clichťd ę work in progress Ľ.

So - I do femininity and life differently from some of you, and I was also probably a bit naÔve to overshare my inner struggles. Iím not going to argue who does it better, and I donít feel sad for people who come to see me with struggles similar or different to my own. Feelings are feelings... I donít feel the need to argue over their validity, or be upset at someone elseís struggles.

Thank you to those who shared honestly about their own struggles, and thank you for hearing me out.

I'm in no way criticizing you, and in no way saying that my perspective or approach is any better than yours.
I shared my personal experience as a female clinician and how I handle it. I even added that I wasn't trying to say that you should do what I did, but that I learned a lot from my experience and thought I would share.

Of course insecurity sucks, we all have insecurities.
Of course your insecurities are valid, everyone's are.

I'm not judging you, I'm upset for you.
I'm upset that the most influential woman in your life has been a factor in you not feeling comfortable in your own skin.
I'm upset for you for any pressure you have to appear a certain way despite your skills having nothing to do with your appearance.
I'm upset for you that you are an accomplished professional and that you feel inferior to MDs, even though the care you provide is just as important and valid (I may be a little biased here since I always wanted to be a therapist and if I had to go back and change careers I would choose counselling a thousand times over medicine)

I'm upset for you, not at you, not by you.

You are 100% entitled to do femininity differently than I do. That said, in my personal life I'm very feminine: makeup, heels, dresses, hair products, etc. No judgement from me on that front. I take no issue with vanity and self expression through aesthetics. You rock whatever look makes you feel amazing. In no way was I saying that you shouldn't.

I shared my *personal anecdote* of my personal experience with getting really frustrated with comments on my appearance from male patients and how that pushed me to completely change my style at work. From that, I learned that *I* was in fact generating a lot of the pressure that I was feeling to look a certain way. I was sharing it in case it may be relevant to you. If it isn't, then it isn't.

It's a struggle to age as a woman.
It's not easy and I don't have it perfected either. I have days where I look at my skin and body and sigh and remember how it used to look and feel sad that this is the best it will be moving forward. It's hard. It's bloody hard sometimes.
Handling appearance as a woman, with all of the competing pressures is incredibly hard.
Of course it's 100% okay to be insecure, and saying that you have no reason not to be is not the same as saying that you aren't allowed to be.


StarBright

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Re: Trying to come back to MMM...you are going to smack me for this.
« Reply #64 on: May 09, 2019, 08:06:31 AM »
This is such a wonderful discussion and I think one worth having every now and then. Thanks OP for putting it out there.

I agree with others that it is okay to choose what is important to you while also periodically reconsidering.

I'm 37 and somewhere between 30-40% gray (the entire top layer of my head is white/silver) and I stopped coloring when I was 32. People often think I'm my own children's grandmother.

When I decided to stop coloring I did decide to put more effort into my skin. I use pricey products (they last forever) and I do notice a difference.

Aging as a woman is so weird (probably weird as a man too) and I'm very ambivalent about it. I don't like when people think I am 15 years older than I am, but conversely, I like how I look. I've always felt guilty for really liking my own face (it isn't perfect, but it is a happy face). But I do find myself not liking my hair sometimes. So about a month of the year I dream of coloring my hair again, and then I remember that I don't have the time to get it colored every 4-6 weeks and I get over it. I do have the time to put products on my face every night, so I do that instead.

Regarding mothers: I think this is a generational thing, yes? My mom was the "pretty one" in a family of 6 girls. Her "value" was always her looks and she definitely married up and out of the neighborhood based on those looks (and a very sweet personality - my mom is like the Jane Bennet of lower middle class Indiana). I've always felt a push/pull with her on looks vs. capabilities and I sometimes think she feels that my more natural aging is a judgment of her.

sol

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Re: Trying to come back to MMM...you are going to smack me for this.
« Reply #65 on: May 09, 2019, 09:15:26 AM »
Aging as a woman is so weird (probably weird as a man too)

This thread is very much targeted at and filled with women and their perspectives, but just as an aside I can assure you that it is also weird for men.  Particularly if you're the type of person who bases his self worth on attributes that you are destined to lose as you age, such as your strength or fitness, ability to endure hardships, mental acuity, family responsibilities, or respected professional skills.  Men are just as vulnerable to changing physical appearances as women are, though arguably less bothered as a group by that loss, but they are more prone to losing other traits that made them feel valuable when they were younger.



G-dog

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Re: Trying to come back to MMM...you are going to smack me for this.
« Reply #66 on: May 09, 2019, 10:45:50 AM »
Aging as a woman is so weird (probably weird as a man too)

This thread is very much targeted at and filled with women and their perspectives, but just as an aside I can assure you that it is also weird for men.  Particularly if you're the type of person who bases his self worth on attributes that you are destined to lose as you age, such as your strength or fitness, ability to endure hardships, mental acuity, family responsibilities, or respected professional skills.  Men are just as vulnerable to changing physical appearances as women are, though arguably less bothered as a group by that loss, but they are more prone to losing other traits that made them feel valuable when they were younger.

This is off the top of my head - but I think there are signs of aging that can enhance a manís standing in society (viewed as more wise, mature, or experienced), and I canít think of examples of the same for women (after puberty anyway).

sol

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Re: Trying to come back to MMM...you are going to smack me for this.
« Reply #67 on: May 09, 2019, 11:01:19 AM »
I think there are signs of aging that can enhance a manís standing in society (viewed as more wise, mature, or experienced), and I canít think of examples of the same for women (after puberty anyway).

I agree that men have more alternative stereotypes they can adopt in old age that confer social status than women have, if they are wealthy and successful.  That doesn't mean they haven't lost their prior standing, especially if their masculinity was defined by something like lumberjacking or construction that they can no longer do after their bodies are used up and worn out by decades of hard labor.

And at least in my (former) professional circles, women with gray hair were conferred the same stereotype as were men with gray hair, and it's almost easier for them to fall into the matronly grandmother stereotype.  The difference, I think, is that men seem to be much more accepting of transitioning into that "wisened elder" role than women are.  For example, I have long looked forward to the day when my hair goes fully gray and I can just wholly embrace the retired guy stereotype.  I have no illusion that I will ever be as strong or vigorous as I once was, and I accept that as a normal consequence of aging, along with all of the associated male-only aging problems I expect are coming my way eventually, like male pattern baldness and erectile dysfunction.  What could be more emasculating than literally losing the use of your penis?  I'd much rather have wrinkles, thanks.
« Last Edit: May 09, 2019, 11:18:11 AM by sol »

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Re: Trying to come back to MMM...you are going to smack me for this.
« Reply #68 on: May 09, 2019, 11:10:32 AM »
My mom was very beautiful at every age but did hate getting old. I never understood  it but I sure do now. I am 65 and aging sucks but beats the alternative. I still color my hair but rarely wear makeup. Despite staying active you have aches and pain, less strength, stamina, balance not as good. In the past 4 years I have fallen and got a concussion, and broke my right wrist and one time my little finger.  I still work part time from home by choice but definitely my memory is not as good. I am trying to take it in stride but certainly donít love it.

pachnik

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Re: Trying to come back to MMM...you are going to smack me for this.
« Reply #69 on: May 09, 2019, 11:20:18 AM »
This is such a wonderful discussion and I think one worth having every now and then. Thanks OP for putting it out there.

I agree with others that it is okay to choose what is important to you while also periodically reconsidering.

Regarding mothers: I think this is a generational thing, yes? My mom was the "pretty one" in a family of 6 girls. Her "value" was always her looks and she definitely married up and out of the neighborhood based on those looks (and a very sweet personality - my mom is like the Jane Bennet of lower middle class Indiana). I've always felt a push/pull with her on looks vs. capabilities and I sometimes think she feels that my more natural aging is a judgment of her.

Love the description of your mom as Jane Bennett.  :)   

I agree with "choosing what is important to you while also periodically reconsidering".   That's a good way of putting it. 

I have chosen to try to stay in good physical condition by exercising, practicing yoga, walking.  Earlier this year, my doctor recommended doing weight training - it is good for post-menopausal women.  I'm 54 and soon to be 55.  So I've been focusing more on that at the gym. 

I use some makeup to go to work - concealer + a bit of kohl pencil.  I am also thinking of buying some translucent powder for evening out my skin tone.   As I wrote above, I reconsidered dying my hair and am much happier letting it go grey/silver.   It was too much maintenance to keep colouring it. 

It has been interesting reading other people's thoughts about this. 

J Boogie

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Re: Trying to come back to MMM...you are going to smack me for this.
« Reply #70 on: May 09, 2019, 11:58:24 AM »
I think there are signs of aging that can enhance a manís standing in society (viewed as more wise, mature, or experienced), and I canít think of examples of the same for women (after puberty anyway).
The difference, I think, is that men seem to be much more accepting of transitioning into that "wisened elder" role than women are.  For example, I have long looked forward to the day when my hair goes fully gray and I can just wholly embrace the retired guy stereotype. 

There is a certain view that a woman's primary value to the opposite sex is her beauty, while a man's primary value to the opposite sex is his wealth. You see tons of young pretty girls with older rich guys. You don't see many young ripped dudes with older rich women.

Viewed in this way, men become more attractive to the opposite sex as they age while women become less attractive to the opposite sex. Sucks for women, huh?

Of course, no one here would ever think that way because none of us are that superficial :) But knowing this is sort of the default, lowest common denominator view of society, the best way for a guy to relate would be to imagine we are constantly getting poorer - that all of our investments are tanking, that everywhere we go our cards are getting declined, that our clothes are out of style and wearing thin, etc. If you can embrace that, you should teach meditation classes because that's Taoist monk detachment level.




Parizade

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Re: Trying to come back to MMM...you are going to smack me for this.
« Reply #71 on: May 09, 2019, 12:00:47 PM »
There is a certain view that a woman's primary value to the opposite sex is her beauty, while a man's primary value to the opposite sex is his wealth. You see tons of young pretty girls with older rich guys. You don't see many young ripped dudes with older rich women.

Viewed in this way, men become more attractive to the opposite sex as they age while women become less attractive to the opposite sex. Sucks for women, huh?

Of course, no one here would ever think that way because none of us are that superficial :) But knowing this is sort of the default, lowest common denominator view of society, the best way for a guy to relate would be to imagine we are constantly getting poorer - that all of our investments are tanking, that everywhere we go our cards are getting declined, that our clothes are out of style and wearing thin, etc. If you can embrace that, you should teach meditation classes because that's Taoist monk detachment level.

That was quite brilliant J Boogie, I'm impressed!

Linea_Norway

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Re: Trying to come back to MMM...you are going to smack me for this.
« Reply #72 on: May 09, 2019, 12:19:31 PM »
OP, I think that for each enhancement you do on your looks, you should really consider whether it would make you unhappy if you didn't do it. Also consider the transition to not using it. You say that you think Botox could have a positive effect for 10 years. So you would probably quit after that. Then your face will look shockingly different from what it does now. A gradual degredation might be preferable. Same for colouring hair.

I personally find it freeing to not use high heels and makeup anymore. I am now also showing my first grey hairs, as the only women in my department at work. I just don't need to spend time and efford of these things. I also have long hair and seldom need a haircut. Having short hair used to he a hassle for me. I haven't grown out of the habit of having shaved armputs, legs and bikini line whenever these body parts are flashed in public. I find it stressful to never be able to wear a skirt spontaneously as long as I haven't shaved my legs.

I do take a medicine for my skin. It is not particularly healthy and it costs money, but it makes me deeply unhappy when my skin is in it's natural state. Therefore it is a well funded and deliberate choice that I think is worth it.

My mother (68) did an eyelid job some years ago, because her hanging eyelids bothered her. I presume that I might get these as well. We'll see whether I want to fix them. Only if they are bothersome and unpractical, I guess. If my mother would suggest I would have an operation because of what it looks, I might deliberately not do it, out of protest.
« Last Edit: May 13, 2019, 01:27:41 AM by Linea_Norway »

GuitarStv

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Re: Trying to come back to MMM...you are going to smack me for this.
« Reply #73 on: May 09, 2019, 12:22:35 PM »
I think there are signs of aging that can enhance a manís standing in society (viewed as more wise, mature, or experienced), and I canít think of examples of the same for women (after puberty anyway).
The difference, I think, is that men seem to be much more accepting of transitioning into that "wisened elder" role than women are.  For example, I have long looked forward to the day when my hair goes fully gray and I can just wholly embrace the retired guy stereotype. 

There is a certain view that a woman's primary value to the opposite sex is her beauty, while a man's primary value to the opposite sex is his wealth. You see tons of young pretty girls with older rich guys. You don't see many young ripped dudes with older rich women.

Viewed in this way, men become more attractive to the opposite sex as they age while women become less attractive to the opposite sex. Sucks for women, huh?

Of course, no one here would ever think that way because none of us are that superficial :) But knowing this is sort of the default, lowest common denominator view of society, the best way for a guy to relate would be to imagine we are constantly getting poorer - that all of our investments are tanking, that everywhere we go our cards are getting declined, that our clothes are out of style and wearing thin, etc. If you can embrace that, you should teach meditation classes because that's Taoist monk detachment level.

By this logic, wouldn't FIREd men be extremely unattractive?  The goal is kinda to learn to live with less so that you don't have to keep working/amassing money.

G-dog

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Re: Trying to come back to MMM...you are going to smack me for this.
« Reply #74 on: May 09, 2019, 12:29:33 PM »
I think there are signs of aging that can enhance a manís standing in society (viewed as more wise, mature, or experienced), and I canít think of examples of the same for women (after puberty anyway).

I agree that men have more alternative stereotypes they can adopt in old age that confer social status than women have, if they are wealthy and successful.  That doesn't mean they haven't lost their prior standing, especially if their masculinity was defined by something like lumberjacking or construction that they can no longer do after their bodies are used up and worn out by decades of hard labor.

And at least in my (former) professional circles, women with gray hair were conferred the same stereotype as were men with gray hair, and it's almost easier for them to fall into the matronly grandmother stereotype.  The difference, I think, is that men seem to be much more accepting of transitioning into that "wisened elder" role than women are.  For example, I have long looked forward to the day when my hair goes fully gray and I can just wholly embrace the retired guy stereotype.  I have no illusion that I will ever be as strong or vigorous as I once was, and I accept that as a normal consequence of aging, along with all of the associated male-only aging problems I expect are coming my way eventually, like male pattern baldness and erectile dysfunction.  What could be more emasculating than literally losing the use of your penis?  I'd much rather have wrinkles, thanks.

Of course (generic) you is more ďacceptingĒ of gaining a status boost - thatís plain old Pavlovian positive reinforcement.  Good points about the different professions and demographics. And Iím glad that visible maturity was valued in your professional circles regardless of gender. 

MonkeyJenga

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Re: Trying to come back to MMM...you are going to smack me for this.
« Reply #75 on: May 09, 2019, 12:30:54 PM »
I think there are signs of aging that can enhance a manís standing in society (viewed as more wise, mature, or experienced), and I canít think of examples of the same for women (after puberty anyway).
The difference, I think, is that men seem to be much more accepting of transitioning into that "wisened elder" role than women are.  For example, I have long looked forward to the day when my hair goes fully gray and I can just wholly embrace the retired guy stereotype. 

There is a certain view that a woman's primary value to the opposite sex is her beauty, while a man's primary value to the opposite sex is his wealth. You see tons of young pretty girls with older rich guys. You don't see many young ripped dudes with older rich women.

Viewed in this way, men become more attractive to the opposite sex as they age while women become less attractive to the opposite sex. Sucks for women, huh?

Of course, no one here would ever think that way because none of us are that superficial :) But knowing this is sort of the default, lowest common denominator view of society, the best way for a guy to relate would be to imagine we are constantly getting poorer - that all of our investments are tanking, that everywhere we go our cards are getting declined, that our clothes are out of style and wearing thin, etc. If you can embrace that, you should teach meditation classes because that's Taoist monk detachment level.

By this logic, wouldn't FIREd men be extremely unattractive?  The goal is kinda to learn to live with less so that you don't have to keep working/amassing money.

Straight, single FIRE'd guys can run into issues dating if they're on the LeanFIRE side. You can make the argument that it filters out people who are poor matches anyway, and better attracts the right kind of wierdos. But it does limit or at least change the dating pool.

BicycleB

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Re: Trying to come back to MMM...you are going to smack me for this.
« Reply #76 on: May 09, 2019, 02:03:10 PM »
^Definitely agree.

FIRE by its nature implies financial strength; that's not the example J Boogie was giving in his excellent comment. He was discussing the possibility that because of collapsing markets or some other hypothetical factor, the formerly FIREd man was instead suffering an ongoing stash reduction. The similarity isn't to FIRE, it's to losing FIRE.

Imagine you were born prosperous, and with every passing year, your stash magically grows until at 18, you're thoroughly FIREd. You're free, you're proud, you're popular, filled with some immeasurable power that almost everyone desires. But starting at 25, your stash shrinks every year for the rest of your life. Your family starts asking if maybe you should get a job, and doubles down the worried remarks at 29. In your 30s, most of your many FIRE buddies disappear, abandoning you as your stash's shrinkage accelerates. By 40, your family asks if you are homeless yet and nearly everyone else ignores you, with the exception of a few crooks who want to empty the remains of your flaccid bank account before it disappears entirely.

Then someone offers you a job at minimum wage, something called "Botox packer" or "hair dye tester". Would it be wrong to take it?
« Last Edit: May 09, 2019, 02:04:49 PM by BicycleB »

sol

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Re: Trying to come back to MMM...you are going to smack me for this.
« Reply #77 on: May 09, 2019, 02:31:12 PM »
There is a certain view that a woman's primary value to the opposite sex is her beauty, while a man's primary value to the opposite sex is his wealth. You see tons of young pretty girls with older rich guys. You don't see many young ripped dudes with older rich women.

Viewed in this way, men become more attractive to the opposite sex as they age while women become less attractive to the opposite sex. Sucks for women, huh?

The underlying sexism in this example is the assumption that anyone should care about what the opposite sex thinks. 

Sure, if you start from the perspective that your value is determined by your ability to get laid, then I agree that wealth and power are valued in men (at any age) and that youth and beauty are valued in women.  But that's some grade A patriarchy bullshit right there, framing the entire discussion in terms of sexual attraction, and it's just as brutal to men as it is to women.  It's reductionist and offensive and absurd all at once.  Your self worth should have virtually nothing to do with how many people want to fuck you.  Your value to society is not measured by how many children you have.  You have to recognize and accept other sources of value within yourself, and embrace those roles as the meaningful developments they really are. 

If you make everything about sex, you end up with some seriously fucked up rules.

J Boogie

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Re: Trying to come back to MMM...you are going to smack me for this.
« Reply #78 on: May 09, 2019, 03:21:58 PM »
There is a certain view that a woman's primary value to the opposite sex is her beauty, while a man's primary value to the opposite sex is his wealth. You see tons of young pretty girls with older rich guys. You don't see many young ripped dudes with older rich women.

Viewed in this way, men become more attractive to the opposite sex as they age while women become less attractive to the opposite sex. Sucks for women, huh?

The underlying sexism in this example is the assumption that anyone should care about what the opposite sex thinks. 
Your self worth should have virtually nothing to do with how many people want to fuck you.

You have unrealistic expectations of humans. You have the advice of a therapist with the delivery of a drill instructor.

I don't disagree, but I also don't think it's easy to simply shake off the desire to be attractive to the opposite sex.

You are wealthy enough not to work anymore, and from the post you created about interrupting a burglary, sounds like you're tall too. It's no secret women like wealth and height. Good for you, but it's just too damn easy for someone who is traditionally attractive to tell someone who isn't to that it doesn't even matter.


BicycleB

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Re: Trying to come back to MMM...you are going to smack me for this.
« Reply #79 on: May 09, 2019, 03:49:26 PM »
Your self worth should have virtually nothing to do with how many people want to fuck you. 

Maybe so. And maybe there shouldn't be societal patterns where men dismiss women's thoughts.  Maybe sexual desirablity shouldn't have a whole bunch of sexist side effects. But until society consistently agrees, women will have pressures about their appearance, and men should make an effort to understand a woman's viewpoint when she expresses it.

Parizade

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Re: Trying to come back to MMM...you are going to smack me for this.
« Reply #80 on: May 09, 2019, 07:02:14 PM »
I don't disagree, but I also don't think it's easy to simply shake off the desire to be attractive to the opposite sex.

Particularly when being attractive gives you an advantage in being hired (or not being fired). That's not so important when you are already FI, but when you are still trying to get there it can matter very much.

jeninco

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Re: Trying to come back to MMM...you are going to smack me for this.
« Reply #81 on: May 09, 2019, 09:41:29 PM »
There is a certain view that a woman's primary value to the opposite sex is her beauty, while a man's primary value to the opposite sex is his wealth. You see tons of young pretty girls with older rich guys. You don't see many young ripped dudes with older rich women.

Viewed in this way, men become more attractive to the opposite sex as they age while women become less attractive to the opposite sex. Sucks for women, huh?

The underlying sexism in this example is the assumption that anyone should care about what the opposite sex thinks. 
Your self worth should have virtually nothing to do with how many people want to fuck you.

You have unrealistic expectations of humans. You have the advice of a therapist with the delivery of a drill instructor.

I don't disagree, but I also don't think it's easy to simply shake off the desire to be attractive to the opposite sex.
<snip>

This is cracking me up, you guys.

However, it's missing the point that the original conversation isn't directly or indirectly about getting laid, it's about being professional visible. Because one thing that happens as a "lady of a certain age" is that you become oddly invisible, or (at best) visible as only a member of the category "older lady" rather than as an individual.

It's not something that everyone does, and it doesn't happen all the time, but it occurs enough that women (and, sure, some aging guys) at least think about it, and consider taking steps to counteract being lumped into a category of "older women" instead of having people deal with them as a unique individual. Doing what you can to not exactly fit the stereotype is one way of pushing back.

Recognizing that this is a situation in real life is just being realistic.  And weighing the (mental and financial) cost of dealing with the situation, versus the costs of pretending it doesn't (or shouldn't) exist is a good exercise. (And balancing how your feelings about the subject affect your perceptions of what's going on.)

I'm a pale lady, but I'd guess this is also the reason why some minority parents are careful to have their kids not dress in a way that might read "hoodlum", and probably why the kids with the best manners around here are Latino. If you're in a category that's likely to make you invisible as an individual (because "all XXX's look alike"), you do whatever you can to not necessarily get lumped in with the rest of the group, at least when that lumping doesn't serve you.

Also, as @Parizade points out, there's the "attractive people earn more" thing... (And, yes, tall people as well...)

ElleFiji

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Re: Trying to come back to MMM...you are going to smack me for this.
« Reply #82 on: May 10, 2019, 06:19:24 AM »
In my healthcare role there is definitely a financial benefit to looking put together. My guess is that our patients are subconsciously choosing practitioners who they want to be like. When it comes to aging, I've seen successful practitioners in their 50s who choose to go the sleek professional route (and probably have Botox) and those who go the aging hippie in a glam way route (with or without work done). Both gr‚ce and Frankie put a lot of work into their appearance.

I don't know which way I'll go.

I think that if you are going to discontinue your treatments, talk to your doctorabout  the transition, and look at women in your field who you admire and see if they've found ways to embrace aging

sol

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Re: Trying to come back to MMM...you are going to smack me for this.
« Reply #83 on: May 10, 2019, 08:57:51 AM »
You have the advice of a therapist with the delivery of a drill instructor.

That's...  that's the nicest thing anyone has ever said about me.  I might cry a little.

J Boogie

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Re: Trying to come back to MMM...you are going to smack me for this.
« Reply #84 on: May 10, 2019, 10:06:47 AM »
You have the advice of a therapist with the delivery of a drill instructor.

That's...  that's the nicest thing anyone has ever said about me.  I might cry a little.

:)


G-dog

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Re: Trying to come back to MMM...you are going to smack me for this.
« Reply #85 on: May 10, 2019, 10:24:47 AM »
You have the advice of a therapist with the delivery of a drill instructor.

That's...  that's the nicest thing anyone has ever said about me.  I might cry a little.

Hahaha! Thereís your new calling (business) card! Or you sig line. Or I can make a cross stitch of this for you.

jeninco

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Re: Trying to come back to MMM...you are going to smack me for this.
« Reply #86 on: May 10, 2019, 10:59:38 AM »
You have the advice of a therapist with the delivery of a drill instructor.

That's...  that's the nicest thing anyone has ever said about me.  I might cry a little.

Hahaha! Thereís your new calling (business) card! Or you sig line. Or I can make a cross stitch of this for you.

I vote for sig line. Although I see the benefits of having it on a lovely throw pillow...