Monday, November 17, 2014

I nearly forgot

This is not Sarah

I believe there is a portion of my brain buried deep in a dark place that is somewhat masochistic.
Okay, maybe not in the literal sense ... but then again ...

Over the past 2 years or so I have paid a very nice, young lady money to inflict pain ... many times ... and I kept returning for more.  Sometimes Pam would go and watch.

If y'all are envisioning a dominatrix leading me off to some dark dungeon with interesting and scary looking gadgets hanging on the wall, you may be a little disappointed.  I'm reminiscing about laser hair removal ... the relaxing, soft music ... the friendly chit-chat ... the mild fragrance of a scented candle (more likely an air freshener) ... ... then the short beep of the laser unit ... the immediate sensation of heat and stinging followed by the unforgettable aroma of singed hair.

Quoted from Wikipedia:
The primary principle behind laser hair removal is selective photothermolysis, the matching of a specific wavelength of light and pulse duration to obtain optimal effect on a targeted tissue with minimal effect on surrounding tissue. Lasers can cause localized damage by selectively heating dark target matter, melanin, in the area that causes hair growth, the follicle, while not heating the rest of the skin.
 Photo - From the Greek word "phos" or "phot" meaning light

Thermolysis - From the Greek word "thermos" meaning hot, and the Greek word "luen" meaning to release.  It is the decomposition of chemical compounds by heat.

Diagram of hair
growth cycles

So you have light generating heat, and heat bringing decomposition of the hair.

But since the objective is to destroy the root of the hair, and the root is far below the surface of the skin, the heat  ... the stinging ... the pain is felt on a very deep level in a way that cannot be easily explained.

One must actually have the root of their hair singed to understand.

I've written about my laser treatments a couple of times.  I know some react badly to laser and others prefer electrolysis.  I am not trying to convince anyone what hair removal is best or most effective ... I'm just talking.

But as long as I'm talking ... if you are in Ventura County in California, I strongly recommend New Image Laser Hair Removal Clinic in Oxnard.  Sarah is incredible.  I din't just run to the first clinic I saw ... I researched and talked to a couple.  I even talked to an electrologist.  She referred me to New Image and I'm so happy she did.

The last laser work on my face was over 9 months ago.  It was a touch up to rid me of a few stray dark hairs.  I have enjoyed these past months with no dark stubble ... unfortunately I still have these ugly white whiskers, but they do not grow very fast and cover much easier with makeup.

I started noticing some dark hairs again a little while back.  They were very noticeable to me, but likely not seen by others.  Pam commented on them ... while she was inches from my face  ... and I hadn't shaved in several days ... ... and I was in direct light. 
Similar to Sarah's
Laser machine
I decided if they were that noticeable it was time for another touch up. I called Sarah and reserved the dungeon.

When the day arrived, I came home from work and washed off my makeup, then washed it again ... if the face is not clean the laser is not effective.  The numbing cream spread on in the usual cool and smooth manner.  The feeling was so familiar ... my excitement level began to rise in anticipation.

What I nearly forgot ... or more accurately, what I remembered too late ... ...  

Eat before the numbing cream is applied ... Damn.  I did manage to eat a sandwich without chewing my lips off or swallowing too much of the lidocaine.

The feeling as the face goes numb is something bizarre ... the face, the lips, the tip of the nose and anywhere I may have accidentally touched.  I numbed my chest once before a treatment ... that was really a different experience as well.

The awkward feeling of lying on the table had also slipped my mind.  Sarah is very good at small talk and helping you feel at ease ... relaxed.  Still, I can't help but feeling like a subject in an experiment as she stares through the magnifying glass at me.

As she started the treatment I was so happy.  There was no pain ... none.

I figured it was going to be easy this time..

Then she worked her way toward the center of the face ... then the chin ... then the upper lip.  

Oh dear lord!  How could I ever have forgotten that feeling?  

There were not nearly as many hairs as in the past, but she upped the setting a wee a bit so what I felt was still intense.

Just me
About 2 years ago
A little photo work
to help hide the beard
What made it worse was the pauses.  She applied the tip to the skin and there was a momentary interruption as the sensor found the hair ... the hesitation caused anticipation and apprehension ... which caused tension delaying my expectation.

"Don't flinch ... don't flinch ... stay calm ..."


I flinched ... maybe even jumped.

"Damn ... again!!"

Milliseconds later the heat ... the sting ... the grunt.

Ummmm ... I grunted, not the laser.

Why do I do this?


Because it makes me feel good ... ... it makes me happy ... ... it makes me ... me
Me 2 months ago
No photo touchup
I had nearly forgotten how much I have been through to get to where I am today ... and how wonderful it feels to have made it this far.

And what does any of this have to do with masochism?

One definition of masochism is gratification gained from pain.

The pain is a necessary and wonderful part of this journey, and I truly enjoy it.  Okay ... I may be stretching my interpretation a bit, but it takes a special mindset  ... a bit of inner strength ... I don't think I ever realized I had what it takes to endure this.