Am I Pretty Enough? I thought so.

Gayle Kirschenbaum
Human Parts
Published in
4 min readJul 17, 2021

Selfie — copyright Gayle Kirschenbaum

I haven’t lived life looking into the mirror much — usually just a passing glance now and then and then a more careful study when I’m trying on clothing to see what fits well together. That’s when I use the full-length mirror. As I mostly don’t wear any makeup only occasionally when I’m out on a dinner date when I paint my lips with my natural glittering gloss, I don’t see my face close up. I’m not leaning against the medicine cabinet mirror or a magnifier and carefully lining my eyes and extending my lashes with makeup.

Since the pandemic, like everyone else, I have found myself staring into a computer screen looking at others and myself during a Zoom meeting. What I didn’t see for years is now a full-frontal view. My crepey neck — I had no idea I even had one, never mind how bad it is — my lined forehead, my growing jowls and my hooded eyes confront me in each Zoom event. I don’t dare take off my huge Parisian spectacles as they do a fairly decent job of hiding my aging eyes, which now are so folded that the tears are leaking out of the sides creating a crustiness I find myself constantly wiping off.

I never considered any sort of cosmetic treatments including surgery, injections and laser before and quite honestly am still not. Firstly, I’m terrified of letting anyone do anything to my face. After all, I fought off my mother for decades as she campaigned for me to have a nose job ever since I was 14. However, I’d be lying if I didn’t say that decision is becoming more of a challenge with each Zoom.

While using Zoom for my professional presentations, I’ve learned how to adjust the height and position of my computer and seat along with creating the proper lighting as I sit in front of a French countryside virtual background. I also have figured out the perfect hairstyle and outfit to wear. These talks are recorded and put out to the world so I take an extra step.

However, I can’t keep up that kind of preparation for all the other meetings I run or participate in. I’m wondering as we have been stationed and cordoned off at our homes for over a year, and have found ourselves unexpectedly staring at our faces, have people taken to cosmetically changing them? Is plastic surgery and everything related to it booming, now that the country has opened?

Gayle Kirschenbaum
Human Parts

Emmy award winning filmmaker, TV producer, TED speaker, writer, photographer with a wanderlust. Teach forgiveness as seen in my film LOOK AT US NOW, MOTHER!