When Bad Botox Happens to Good Yogis

This is a story about bad Botox and good yogis which could only happen to someone who believes that life is often about the Universe’s Plan.

I am a woman of a certain age who happens to own a magnifying mirror, also known as the devil’s handiwork. So lately I am noticing some things, nothing terrible, but just some things that a lifetime of downward facing dog has not erased. However, I am very wary about doctors, needles and parting with any significant money in my checking account.

The next scene is I am in the local pharmacy and the dermatologist has made a mistake on my son’s prescription. It isn’t big, it is just inconvenient. In fact, the doctor made this mistake before so I decide to quit being so yogi about it and say something. And guess what? The doctor apologized!

Then she said, and this is where the Universe comes in, “Would you like a free session of something or other,” and I said yes, because I didn’t even hear what she was offering, all I heard was “free.” And when the Universe offers you something, you should probably accept it. I learned this in yoga.

The next scene is I’m in my doctor’s office with a whole lot of numbing cream on my face and probably also in my brain which contributes to my complete lack of ability to think. In fact, I am speechless so I do not scream “oh mother-f-ing hell” from the pain. I am doing the breathing thing, Ujaii or controlled Pranayama, which I want to be clear: during childbirth or plastic surgery that shit does not work.

My doctor is there along with several other people in white coats. In fact, it was just like childbirth in that everyone looks very busy and no wants to notice that the patient is writhing in agony.  They are staring at my face and being very critical, like, “Oh this line is terrible, and this one will need Botox.”

An hour later I look in the mirror and guess who’s looking back at me — Goldie Hawn! Everyone said, don’t worry, the swelling will go down. And yes, the swelling went down and my face does indeed, look quite amazing even if it’s still my face.

However, there is one side effect which is troubling and that is I cannot use my mouth. Seriously. My lips are not working. I cannot use a straw, I cannot drink from a water bottle, and there is a particular activity that is not possible which has my husband severely depressed (at last, a benefit!). Plus, I must hold my upper lip in place when I eat so food doesn’t fall out of my mouth. And I hold a napkin under my chin when I drink and dribble. All of which detracts from the charm of my new face.

What’s more, I am utterly unable to teach yoga. There are whole consonants I cannot say, such as Ps and Bs and R’s so the words “breath” and “practice” are completely out of the question.

Then it dawns on me, what was the Universe’s intention anyway by giving me this new face that comes with not being able to speak? Maybe it was finally to shut me up! Now that I am a victim of bad Botox, I think I will be more careful about what the Universe has in store for me next. Whatever it is, I just hope it’s free.

Michelle Berman Marchildon is the Yogi Muse. She’s an award-winning journalist, a former corporate executive and a survivor of 50+ years of life. Known as the “Erma Bombeck of the Mat,” Michelle is the author of the memoir “Finding More on the Mat: How I Grew Better, Wiser and Stronger through Yoga,” and a Columnist for Elephant Journal and Origin Magazine.  She is an E-500 RYT with Yoga Alliance and teaches Aligned Vinyasa in Denver, Co. Even though she is uber-fabulous, she is NOT an Ambassador for Lululemon, and has been promised she will never be one. You can take her with you on your computer or I-thing by downloading her classes from www.yogadownload.com.

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