I am not an elephant! I am not an animal! I am a human being! I am a woman!

elephant manThe elephant (wo)man. Or that’s how the last few days have felt at least. Yes, I’m a drama queen but seriously, one facial burn and suddenly I’m having all kinds of empathy for Joseph Merrick.

I’m used to people looking confused when I talk to them, but that’s typically due to my bizarre hybrid accent. This is something totally different. This is women who talk to my ear, checkout counter ladies who gaze off to the next customer while addressing me, the dude at Rite aid just stood with his mouth open and at Whole Foods, a women had an entire conversation with my shoes.

NOTE TO SELF: Wear awesome shoes for the next week until facial abnormality heals.

There’s no awesome, kick ass story to accompany my current ‘bag on the head’ status. Just some wax, a chick in a salon and my upper lip. You know that space ladies.. the one from your nose to your upper lip. Where, in my case, down grows abundantly. And since I’m heading off to a huge conference with media, press, 3,000 customers and hundreds of executives, I decided to smarten myself up a bit. Defeat the down.

1 bad decision and 2 minutes later, 3 Korean ladies were jabbering madly to each other (I mention Korean because I had no idea what they were saying) and rubbing neosporin on my face in a frenzy. The lady with the wax just looked at her feet (something I’m now seeing as a trend) while the salon owner poked me with her finger and accused me of using Retin A.

‘You Retin A?’

Ummm… yes?’ (but not on my upper lip?)

‘You not wax with Retin A’

‘Ummm. Ok (but I’ve been doing it for years??? And not on my upper lip. Do you KNOW how much Retin A costs?)

‘You put spoon in freezer when you get home. Spoon on lip. All night’

At which point I was thinking this is a slight overreaction and glanced in the mirror. To see a massive red welt across my upper lip. Glowing furiously. Not only is it a huge stripe across the middle of my face, I also look as though I’m auditioning for the part of ‘angry Hitler’. Its practically carved into my skin.

3 days later. Hundreds of Google searches. Aloe, frozen spoons, bags of peas, Neosporin (on my second tube) and even Saran wrap. The best I can say is that my Hitler mustache is now brown. What’s worse is the scar has healed into a hard plastic-like shell that sits atop my lip like a large tan fake mustache that hurts to move. Dour is the best I can manage.

But its my colleagues I feel bad for. My work mates have oh -so-politely rushed over from a distance ‘oh my god…what’s wrong?’ and then seeing my scar, retreated to ‘Oh you looked stressed’ before scurrying off to debate what happened to my face. My boss has my eternal gratitude for being the only person in 3 days to look me in the eye… which I can only put down to his military background or extreme short sightedness.   Either way, I could have hugged him for ignoring my Nazi impersonation.

On the plus side, no one has ever taken more notice of my shoes. And I have a whole new empathy for anyone who’s not 100% average looking.

To those skin condition suffers, large mole wearers and strawberry birthmarkers.. I commend you for holding your head up and ploughing through life while people talk to your ear , your shoulder or your shoes.

Me.. I can only hope that my conference has dim lighting.

One thought on “I am not an elephant! I am not an animal! I am a human being! I am a woman!”

  1. John. It’s John Merrick. Or am I missing the point of the article? 😉

    Welcome back. We’ve missed you. I hope it all heals up and leaves you with an amusing girls’ night story rather than a permanent reminder of the perils of labial deforestation.

    If it doesn’t work out, at least the farmers markets of SF will allow you ample opportunity to find a locally sourced, artisan-crafted, sustainably-grown hemp bag.

    Do let us know how the Brazilian goes….

    M

    Like

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