Slide 5I love irony, specifically this definition by Mirriam-Webster, “a state of affairs or an event that seems deliberately contrary to what one expects and is often amusing as a result.” Except irony is only amusing if you are in on the joke.

See, last week, I received a little known beauty treatment known as “hand rejuvenation,” courtesy of Radiesse by Merz Aesthetics and Dr. Andrea Hui of Bay Area Cosmetic Dermatology.

I was and am under no obligation to write about this treatment. All opinions in this post, just like every other post I write, are my own, Lord help me—but I am happy with the results and I think my readers would be interested.

Leave it to irony then that I’m sitting here with this post to write about a cosmetic procedure while yesterday’s social media pandemonium was over Renee Zellweger’s new appearance. It seemed that every online news outlet carried the same screaming headline:

What the Hell Happened to Renee Zellweger’s face?

Pundits on every side of the beauty aisle lined up to debate Renee’s face as though she were a piece of meat.

Which is something every woman in the world wants, a picture of herself at 22 plastered all over the internet next to a picture of herself at 45 while the entire world publicly debates when she was the prettier.

Here’s me at five and then at fifty. Have at it.

five and fifty

Then Facebook and Twitter lit up with every Sally, Sue, and Sam putting in their two cents.

Here’s some quotes from FB that I read yesterday:

“She was so pretty.” [emphasis mine]

“She has not aged well.” (You are being graded. I hope you’ve studied.)

“She’s lost her unique and charming appearance.” (Ouch.)

She’s not herself anymore.” (Because a woman really is just her face.)

“Wow! Shocking. And not in a good way.” (What’s the good way for being shocked?)

“Sad. So sad that you can’t be happy with yourself. I feel sorry for her.”

Let me translate the last quote for all the men in the audience, shall I? When one woman starts calling another woman “sad” that’s womanspeak for “I’m now going to tell you how superior I am to her.” You get extra points if you can pin-point the particular emotional/psychological problem of the woman on the microscope slide, in this case Renee Zellweger’s poor self-esteem and inadequate self-image caused by all the pressure on her by Hollywood. Poor her. Oh, the irony!

The Woman Wars

Spending my entire female life watching women emotionally and socially beat the hell out of each other over breastfeeding, bottlefeeding, spanking, not spanking, attachment parenting, letting ‘em cry it out, homebirth, epidurals, working outside the home, being a fulltime homemaker, being too fat, being too thin, wearing too much make-up, being too sexy, not keeping your man happy by giving him enough sex, getting professional hair styling, donning a pious doily over long, uncut hair, spending time at the gym, not wasting time in selfish pursuits like personal fitness, marital submission, being a feminist, maintaining your hymen until your wedding night, giving away the cow for free, giving head, showing your godliness by turning your head and thinking of England, homeschooling, putting the kids in daycare, staying with him, getting a divorce–and on and on–I find myself unsurprised that ageing is the next unwinnable female competitive sport.

Like everything else under the sun that women jockey for position over, there’s no way any woman can win this competition. (Unless you’re Betty White, Meryl Streep, or Helen Mirren.)

Do anything “unnatural” (except for hair coloring, and maybe wearing Spanx, although I’ve seen women debate who is the better woman over that one, too), and you’re trying too hard. Do nothing, and you’ve let yourself go. Do anything in between and the judge from Germany might give you a 10 (most likely because he can’t tell you’ve done anything, which is the only acceptable anything to do, that which can’t be detected by the human eye), but that Russian hold-out will give you a 1 for being a sad example of 1) trying too hard or 2) letting yourself go.

It could go either way. It just depends on which position will make the woman who’s made herself the judge of another feel better about herself and her own choices in life. And regardless of what you do, or don’t, somebody somewhere will say that you aren’t ageing well. (Unless you are Betty White, Meryl Streep, or Helen Mirren.)

You Can’t Always Get What You Want

Here’s the thing about The Woman Wars: WE CAN’T WIN! They are designed to make us feel bad about ourselves no matter what we do.

For example, stay home to raise your kids and a segment of the population will think you’re a lazy parasite, but go to work, and another segment will think you’re selfish and don’t love your kids. How can anyone win that?

You can’t.

And you can’t win the ageing wars either. So I suggest we all just start doing whatever makes us happy and stop looking for validation outside ourselves for the choices we make in life.

Slide 8

Nothing Replaces Good Skincare

I frequently get comments about my skin, and it is my pleasure to share with others the things I’ve learned over the years. I’ve admitted before to having some cosmetic procedures, but I cannot say often enough that nothing–no fillers, no neuromuscular blockers, no surgery—can ever replace good skincare.

NOTHING.

Good skincare starts with good nutrition, hydration, and sun protection. Cleansing products, moisturizers, and make-up are also important, and, surprisingly, price is not the best indicator of efficacy. Good skincare might also include regular facials from a skilled aestetician–which I get–and retinols–which I’ve used since I was 42.

Nipples Up; Elbows Down

I also adhere to my very own “Nipples Up; Elbows Down” philosophy which is that any products I use on my face I also use on my neck and décolletage (from the nipples up) and arms and hands (from the elbows down).

What is Hand Rejuvenation?

One of the things that happens to ageing skin over time is the loss of subcutaneous fat. This happens to our faces and necks, and also to our hands. My hands in particular are just like my mother’s and grandmother’s, thin and veiny. Washing them multiple times a day in my job as a Labor and Delivery RN hasn’t helped their appearance either.

I’ve used retinols on my hands for years, and protected them with sunscreen just like I do for my face, so I don’t have age spots on them, but I’ll admit that they’ve gotten a little, okay, a lot, Crypt Keeperish over the years.

Read any article about how to tell a woman’s age and every single article will list hands as the unmistakable tell-tale sign. Frankly, I don’t want to be defined by my age. I don’t feel old, and I’m not ready to look old, either.

But what can you do about your hands?

Well, you can get dermal fillers in your hands just like you can in your face. And when Dr. Hui suggested we do that since I’d never had it done before, I was game.

Here’s the video the nurse shot while Dr. Hui was injecting my hands with Radiesse. She slathered on lidocaine cream beforehand, so the procedure was completely painless. If I’d known this was what I was going to have done I would have had a manicure first. Oh well.

In the first few days afterwards, there was a distinctive Mickey Mouse appearance to the backs of my hands, but that has completely subsided now. My hands now look like my own, but without the prominent veins and tendons. I’m exceedingly happy with my results. And the best part? It lasts for two years, and Radiesse stimulates collagen production which will actually slow down further signs of ageing of my hands.

Idle Hands

The true importance of our hands isn’t how they look, but what work we do with them. My hands have been the first to touch hundreds of new human beings, and I’m proud of that. I’m also pretty darned happy when I look at them now, too.

my hands

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The point of blogging for me has always been that I write something true, because, the way I see it, there’s already enough bullshit on the internet that the world certainly doesn’t need me adding more to it. The problem is that I just don’t know if it’s healthy for me to blog anymore; if it ever was.

It’s not that stuff isn’t happening in my life that I wouldn’t love to write about. Oh, my gosh, is stuff happening! Wonderful stuff. Hard stuff. Scary stuff. Exciting stuff. Which leads me to think that if you are living a boring life, you’ve got no one to blame but yourself.

Your-Call.jpg

It’s just that I don’t know if I want to put my truth out here anymore. I’ve been wondering, “How does my blog serve me?” versus “What does it cost me? Emotionally? Financially? Socially?”

Is blogging good for me?

There was a time when I would have answered that question with an unequivocal yes—my original tagline was, “Blogging is cheaper than therapy”–but now I’m just not so sure.

But when I think I’m done with this blargh of mine, I read something someone has written that resonates, and I think, “Dang it! I wanna write like that!” Or I get an email or comment on a post I’ve written that reminds me that being a creative human being is important for the soul.

Kurt-Vonnegut_thumb.jpg

So I sit down to write something true, but end up playing Candy Crush for two hours instead.

Excuses, Excuses

Sometimes I tell myself the reason I’m not writing is because, “They can’t handle the truth.” But the truth is that I’m the one who can’t seem to handle other people’s reaction to my truth. The worst thing in the world is guilelessly laying your truth out here and having people reject you over it. That shit fucking hurts.

I know.

It shouldn’t matter.

Blah. Blah. Blah.

And if I were a full of shit blogger I’d write a bunch of faux enlightened crap about how amazingly self-actualized I am, and how what people think about me doesn’t matter.

Blah, Blah. Blah.

But it does matter to me. The loss of relationships should always matter. Well, to people who aren’t sociopaths, anyway.

So I don’t write. Well, that’s not true. I do write. Draft after draft of my truth that will never see the light to day sits in my draft folder, because, it seems, I’ve developed an aversion to public shaming.

Slide 7

Shame on Me?

For example, I write my truth about my sexual experience in my marriage, and the next thing you know somebody I’ve known for centuries is taking me to task on my Facebook wall about how I’m risking the fiery flames of hell, and dragging poor, unsuspecting GOOD CHRISTIAN WOMEN right along with me, by my crazy, heretical notions that God created us to be blissed out in bed–no holds barred–with the person we’ve vowed to love, honor, and cherish, until death do us part.

Geez Louise! Not just unfriended, but chastised publicly, and privately I might add, for talking about having the most satisfying sex of my life with my lawfully wedded husband of 28 years?!?! How is that in any way, shape, or form unbiblical?

Or I write my truth about my experience caring for pregnant women, and that I have, in fact, delivered a six month old dead baby killed by a botched abortion with my own two hands–which was HORRIBLE, and I never want to happen ever again as long as I live, which is why I’m more pro-contraception than Planned Parenthood–and the next thing I see, I’ve been unfriended by my own brother. Oh, brother!

Fine. Maybe I should just stick with pictures of cats. Or maybe I should just not say anything at all until I can come up with something that will please everyone.

Slide 17

The Sounds of Silence

I’m pretty sure I’m not portraying anything close to my reality on social media.

Case in point?

I recently received a sweet DM on Facebook from a thoughtful individual who is worried about me. She said that my FB posts about being a travel nurse sound “lonely.” She then generously offered to set me up with an opportunity to get into some sort of MLM business venture that’s the answer to my sad, lonely existence.

While I am guessing her heart is in the right place, I laughed when I read it because I don’t think there exists a level of loneliness that would compel me to ever go into business again.

Talk about lonely.

There is nothing on this earth lonelier than finding out that people you love are just using you–under the guise of friendship–for their own financial gain and pseudo-fame.

Besides, I’m not lonely. I’m happy. I just don’t write happy as well as I write agonal.

I also know that nobody wants to read about other people’s happiness. Where’s the self-satisfied sense of superiority to be had in that?

For instance, who wants to read that I’m having the best sex of my entire life, and the reason for this–I’m certain—is that I’ve made a conscious decision to tear down every barrier that I’ve ever allowed to stand between my husband and myself, up to and including forswearing my lady-boner killing imaginary God of vengeance who is always looking for ways to condemn and shame me?

Because that’s what I’d like to write about. And I know from my stats that that’s what you’d like to read about.

But I guess I’m no longer so keen on enduring the public slut-shaming that comes from being real about sex.

Yes, I’ve come to accept that some people think my attitude towards sex makes me a shitty Christian–or no Christian at all–but do I really need to lay my heart out here for miserable, holier-than-thou, nattering nabobs of negativity to publicly pick apart?

Good Things Come to Those Who Work Hard

I’m also making more money than I ever have in my entire life at a job I love, but I can’t really write about that, now can I? Who’s going to read that?

Bloggers want to read stories by and about bloggers who’ve made it big, not bloggers who’ve admitted, “This blogging for dollars is smoke and mirrors, and I’d rather wipe asses for a living than kiss them.”

Nurse Chloe

Travel Nursing is the Best Thing I’ve Ever Done

Far from feeling lonely, I like almost everything about travel nursing. It’s good for me in more ways than I can count, and I don’t think it is coincidental that this is the first autumn in almost 10 years that I haven’t contemplated suicide. Also, my husband and I both think that our unconventional lifestyle is partly why we’re living like two people who’ve just fallen in love instead of the old married couple we really are.

Letting go of blogging for money, and seeking a legitimate trade that actually pays the bills, has been berry berry good to me. Financially, things couldn’t be brighter. Looking at our retirement accounts, I think Jeff and I might actually retire someday in a style somewhere above living in a yurt next to the freeway eating government cheese. (Although, with sex like this who cares where you live, or what you eat?)

Real Life v. Virtual

For the first time since I joined the Sonlight Forums in 1998, I am happier with my real life than my virtual one. This is a huge blessing. And one that deserves to be written about.

If only I could.

But every time I sit down to write about my real life, the critical voices in my head sing their soul-sucking, creativity-killing song, while the dulcet tones of Candy Crush croons out its happy, carefree tune.

Geez, who will unfriend me next, or decide that I need a lecture on my Facebook wall or, even better, a public diatribe on their own wall, about what a shitty human being I am?

Shake it Off

I know in the very pit of my being that this place where I’m at right now is just part and parcel of growing as a woman and as a writer. Writing one’s truth has always come at a high cost, which is why it’s so rare. And it’s also why I think we’re so drawn to honesty and vulnerability when we read it, even if we disagree with it.

Two things that I’ve been doing a lot lately–in lieu of wasting my life chasing money and fame in the fickle fishbowl of Facebook–is listening to music and reading. And while I’m a little old for Taylor Swift, I’ve got to say that she nails it with her song, “Shake it off”. Ultimately, that’s what you have to do if you want to create anything true.

So, here I am.

I’m just shaking it off, baby.

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Who Will Pick Up Your Pieces?

It all began when my car broke down in the middle of the night hundreds of miles from home. For those of you just tuning in, I’m a labor and delivery RN, and for the past year I’ve been working as a traveler. A traveler is a nurse who contracts out to the highest bidder […]

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Dear David Cassidy,

I know it seems a bit silly now, some 40 years after the fact, but once upon a time I had a mad crush on you, and I’ve decided that it is high time I tell you. Why now, you ask? Why have I kept this secret, lo, these past 40 years, that, alone in […]

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Are Bloggers Exploited? Well, that Depends®.

A few weeks ago  I was contacted by Dr. Phil’s people. According to the person who contacted me they were shopping me to see if I’d be a good candidate for an upcoming show about female urinary incontinence. Not that I’m biased or anything, but I know I would be a great guest on this […]

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Youth is a Woman’s Most Important Asset

Geraldo Rivera created a tempest in a teapot when he said during a recent interview on Fox News that women should not agree to short term trial marriages (called beta marriages) because youth is a woman’s most important asset. Here’s what he said: …I think [what] a woman brings to a marriage more than anything […]

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BlogHer 14 Recap. Is this the End of BlogHer?

I just got home from the grandmommy of all blogging conferences, BlogHer14. I could say a million things, but I’ll limit myself to just these few words. I’m $till Standing Unlike years past–Blogher11, BlogHer12, BlogHer13–where I sort of wondered what the hell I was doing going to BlogHer, I absolutely had an agenda this year. […]

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Pulling the Trigger on Inner Kill

In my 20s, I believed that by the time I was in my 50s I’d have my life all figured out. So color me surprised to find myself 52, and not only haven’t I arrived at a destination, I still don’t exactly know where I’m going! Who Hid the Road Signs? I’m not alone in […]

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Bellman, there’s a naked man in the hallway.

 “America has only three cities: New York, San Francisco, and New Orleans. Everywhere else is Cleveland.” -Tennessee Williams, Author Thanks to some accumulated United Airlines frequent flier miles, Jeff and I flew off to New Orleans this past February to celebrate Mardi Gras in style. Mardi Gras literally means ‘Fat Tuesday’ in French, but the party starts […]

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Why I Kicked God Out of My Sex Life

I’m sending this one out to all my Christian sisters. I can hear you already. “That Chloe!” “She’s leading all the nice Christian women astray! Again.” No, I’m not. I’m here to help a sister (and my brothers in Christ) out. I could just as easily have titled this post, “Why I politely asked God […]

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