I had a facelift three months ago. Actually, I had a Mini Face Lift, Neck Lift and Upper Eye Blasmaphasomething. I always said I would never have surgery. I, DeAnne Spicer Todd, Feminist and Goddess here on Earth, was going to age gracefully and wasn’t going to buy in to the Patriarchy’s idea of youth and beauty.
I pictured myself as an old woman with long gray hair in a flowing caftan, proud of every wrinkle and sagging jowl, still a doula catching babies from the women laboring outdoors in my perfect garden that I planted and tended. I would practically float from vagina to vagina as the babies popped into my hands. Each new mother would say, “I want to be just like you when I am older.” I would pluck a perfect ripe tomato from a nearby plant hand it to her and say, “Eat, eat of the fruit from the The Garden of the Crone.“ Then she would say, “We are naming the baby DeAnne.”
Cut to present day. I stopped being a doula because I hated being on call and babies take for fucking ever to be born. I quit planting a garden because it was too much work and I hate to cook anyway. I have had gray hair since my twenties, been dying it red ever since and find no compelling reason to stop now. I do have some beautiful flowing caftans but I find they are better suited as cover ups for when I sit by the pool.
Let’s face facts: those of you that know me know that I’m vain. Not in an obnoxious way but in a lazy kind of charming way. My face was falling off my cheek bones, and every time I looked at myself I would pull my skin back and say, “There you are.” Don’t get me wrong — I knew I was still pretty. I’m not an idiot. I have a mirror. I didn’t want to look different, I just wanted things put back where they were.
I had not been thinking about surgery, because I was afraid to look weird. I really didn’t want my face to look like I was someone caught in a wind storm after being told Donald Trump was President. Or, like, always surprised. Then, last December I saw a friend of mine who’d had her eyes done, and she looked amazing. You couldn’t tell she’d had anything done until she showed me the “before” picture. She said her eye guy’s brother was a face guy and I should check him out. Okay…
Now, I know you’re supposed to interview at least three doctors, but that is not how I shop. I just went where my friend went. If you’re looking for a car and the first one you see is what you want, just drive it off the lot. I mean, pay first. Or have someone pay. I’m not totally sure how it works. I went to see the doctors on December 18 for a consultation. Dr. Christopher Zoumalan does only eyes. He is so warm, and charming. Because he had to look me straight in the eyes to assess me, all the while smiling and chatting, I was pretty sure he was falling madly in love with me. His brother, Dr. Richard Zoumalan, only does facelifts and rhinoplasty. He is also a portrait artist and looks at you as if you are a canvas where he can create the most beautiful face you have ever seen. I loved these guys. I scheduled my procedures for January 18. I guess I had decided to have plastic surgery. Why overthink things?
I had a lot of soul searching to do in those four weeks, and since most of it was taken up with Christmas and a vacation to Florida, I really couldn’t think about it much. No, that’s a lie. I thought about it constantly. I wasn’t afraid of the surgery. In fact, I was looking forward to the drugs. I was mourning the loss of being confident enough to age naturally. I was judging myself, and I didn’t particularly like that I wanted to do it. But I was also really excited that I could fix an issue that really bothered me. The latter thought won.
I consider myself a Feminist; I have often been an Activist. How do I reconcile those things with having facial surgery? It seems as women that you are damned if you do and damned if you don’t: people judge you for aging, and people judge you if you have surgery. I finally decided to do it when I realized the surgery would change how I looked on the outside but not who I was on the inside. I was still a libtard, a snowflake, and I would still be fighting the good fight — just with a tighter jawline. Besides, a lot of the sun damage to my face was done when I went door-to-door stumping for Obama. Thanks a lot, Democratic Party.
On January 17, I checked into a “surgery recovery center” that catered to my every need and offered a discreet back door entrance in case I was a movie star or something. In the early morning of January 18, under the cloak of pre-dawn darkness, I was driven to the surgery center. I was early, and I had to sit on the floor outside the door, waiting, where I took this last picture of my old face.
After they arrived, I was taken into a room and given a stylish gown, paper hat, and booties. At this point I had told practically no one I was doing this. Then I saw myself in the full length mirror in the room and started doing ballet (as one does). I noticed how great my pointed feet looked even in those awful booties. This I had to share. So I snapped a few pictures, chose the best one and posted it on Facebook with the caption, “Off to my facelift.” Some friends replied, “Why?” Dancer friends replied, “Nice feet.”
If I was having any second thoughts or nervousness at this time it was completely gone when I walked into the operating room. Pictures of my face from every angle were covering the walls. I took one look at them, jumped on the table and said, “Let’s do this thing.”
Seven hours later I woke up looking as if I had been hit by a bus and my face was wrapped like I was playing a nun in The Sound of Music. It wasn’t painful at all until the drugs wore off, but luckily they give you Percocet. The Percocet helped but it mostly made me sleepy and really wasn’t doing much for the pain. At one point I said to the nurse, “You don’t understand. I am an alcoholic. What ever dosage they said to give me, double it!” Still, it’s remarkable how little pain there actually is, considering they cut my face off and sewed it back on.
Here’s the thing. If you are having surgery because you hate yourself and think that will change — it won’t. If you are having surgery because you are depressed, and think looking younger will make you happy — it won’t. But, if you are having surgery to get rid of your jowls, turkey neck, and droopy eyelids —do it! Or not. Jowls and droopy eyelids are fine too. Which brings me to how I reconciled Feminism with a Facelift. It’s a choice. A personal choice about my body. Isn’t that the number one tenet of Feminism? Choice?
I was still in the “recovery center” on the Saturday that the March for Gun Reform was happening. The irony of me lying propped up in a bed in Beverly Hills being brought drugs and applesauce watching it on television instead of marching was not lost on me. After watching for five minutes or so, I think I yelled, “Go Kids!” at the TV, and then the drugs kicked in and I passed out.
So, have surgery, don’t have surgery, you decide what is right for you. As women we must support each other in freedom of choice. We are living in a time that appears to be the last dying gasp of the white man in power. One of the ways they have remained in power is to pit women against each other. Divide and conquer! We can’t let that happen anymore. We must be ready to lead! See? I’m still in here.
Just kidding. That’s my headshot from 1985