I am generally a very mole-y white person thanks to the great genes handed down from mostly my dad’s side of the family. My grandpa, my dad, and I have all had suspicious moles removed. I get my skin checked every year because a) I will use my health insurance while I have it, and b) I am real scared of skin cancer, especially because I live in Denver. Fun fact: being closer to the sun means there’s a higher risk of skin cancer.
If you’ve known me or met me at any point in my life, you’ve known me with 3 sizable moles on my face. They make a triangle!
When I was a kid, the moles on my face were basically freckles, and three freckles in the shape of a triangle on a little kid was cute. Then I got older, and they got bigger.
I started to really hate them about the time I reached college. For a while I was retouching pictures to hide them, which is obviously stupid because disappearing them from pictures didn’t disappear them from my face.
The first time I asked about getting them removed, I was about 21. I went to a dermatologist who told me they weren’t suspicious, and removing them would be a cosmetic procedure that I would have to pay for out of pocket. That was that. I couldn’t afford that.
So they stayed on my face, and I tried not worry about it. They continued to grow and take on lives of their own. Ever had a pimple ON TOP OF A MOLE? This has happened several times. Once one of them started bleeding, and it took forever to get it to stop. It was quite an embarrassing problem.
About two years ago, I made an appointment with a cosmetic surgeon my dermatologist recommended, and then I cancelled it. I don’t really know why. I think part of it was that I felt guilty about the prospect of spending such a large chunk of money, but I also felt weird about changing my face in a very significant way. I think I felt what I can only describe as shame for wanting to change myself. How dare I do something strictly out of vanity. I mean, most people say they don’t really notice them. It’s just my face. And then there were the people who said they liked them and that it made me unique. As genuine as those comments may have been, I always felt like those people were just trying to make me feel better about something I could not easily change, and it certainly did not lessen my insecurity.
Over the last year or so, that insecurity almost became unbearable. They’re so big, and one of them kind of looks like a nipple. I can’t look at a picture of myself without my eyes being drawn immediately to the left side of my nose.
So like a band-aid or a protruding facial mole, I ripped it off. I paid in advance, so I couldn’t back out and go through the same song and dance again. They’re gone. I’m stitched up, and what an incredible sense of relief and a weight lifted.
I’ve heard it all, and I’m sure I’ll continue to hear it. I’m sorry if you’ll miss them or if you liked my face before. I’m sorry if you disagree with my vanity. Trust me, I have worked really hard to have a positive relationship with my body and my appearance. I love my size 12 body because it’s strong and healthy and allows me to do so many things I love, and I’ve grown to appreciate the wrinkles that continue to deepen on my face. There are very few things about my appearance I would go out of my way to change.
But here’s the thing… If you’ve never popped a pimple on top of a mole that is on your face, had a mole gush blood with no sign of stopping, or worried so intensely about whether people notice that you have an inflamed mass on your face, it’s not something I expect you to understand.
Do the things that make you feel happy and confident. If you think it’s the right decision, but you’re worried about what other people will think, it’s probably the right decision.
Pardon me while I go change my Steri-strips.