Life Deconstructed: Trying to peel back the age of my face

Maria Jiunta Heck - Life Deconstructed | March 15th, 2017 1:31 pm

I’m so vain.

Not to the degree of considering plastic surgery, although, let’s be honest, if there’s a coupon for a minimally invasive face lift, sign me up.

I just don’t want to sag. That’s all.

And my laugh lines, which were once considered adorable, are now as deep as the Delaware Water Gap and appear to connect my mouth to my cheeks, a la marionette. Not cute anymore. Not even if my name is Charlie McCarthy.

Not cute in the least.

I’ve tried all that’s within my power and that of the world wide web to deliver youth back onto me. I’ve tried creams, serums, retinoids, and even frownies. Frownies are little pieces of triangular adhesives that you literally stick onto your problem areas. When I was done, I looked like an envelope ready to be air-mailed to Thailand.


When my sister, whose husband is a plastic surgeon, asks what I want for my birthday, I always answer: skin that snaps back. I was hoping this would be the year she’d comp me some Botox, but instead she sent me a tiny vial of a Glycolic acid peel.

I rolled my eyes.

This wasn’t even enough to swab the vast facial property known as my forehead but last night, bored and old, I decided to slather it on.

Instructions for application advise to wear gloves and apply with a gauze pad. That’s funny; that’s how I usually apply my Preparation H, too.

I thought gloves were overkill, so I just scooped that magic from my cauldron onto my face and marinated, while reading The Kardashian Chronicles, or Star Magazine.

I knew I was in trouble when my fingers began to singe like I stuck them in my EZ Bake Oven. The intense burning of my chin followed. I tried to ignore it as I scoured the pages of my magazine and perused the Stars without Makeup section. (I sure don’t look like that without makeup. Liars.).

Trying to ignore the deep sting across my cheeks, I began fanning myself with Kim and Kanye the paper versions.

Whew. This was not what I was expecting.

The initial scalding was not as excruciating as kidney stones but as uncomfortable as say, pink eye. By the time I realized the scorch was reaching levels I was equating to childbirth, it was too late.

I washed that stuff off and air dried by frantically running up and down the hallway, screaming: “What in the hell?” I was dotted with large red splotches from forehead to chin and sadly resembled a Republican diorama of the USA. I immediately Googled the crap out of an antidote and all I found was that the raw piece of rib eye that was now my face was “normal” and it will look worse before the problem skin sloughs off.


Like a tree crab? An Amazon Milk Frog? An elephant, man?

I was the Elephant Man.

I thought about calling 911, but here’s how I imagined that going down:

“911. What’s your emergency?”

“Uhhh … an acid peel without doctor’s supervision.”

“That’s not an emergency ma’am.”

“Well, if it looks like someone put a cigarette out on my face, it is!”


The next morning, I want to say I had the face of a meth addict, but I don’t want to insult meth addicts.

It was bad. I cried.

Why wasn’t I good enough the way I was? Why do I keep trying to make myself look younger when I wasn’t that great looking when I was younger?

I just don’t want to look like Grandma Jiunta. But I don’t think Grandma Jiunta ever went to work with a paper bag over her head, either.

“Hello? 911? I need a mental health evaluation.”


Maria Jiunta Heck

Life Deconstructed

Maria Jiunta Heck of West Pittston is a mother of three and a business owner who lives to dissect the minutiae of life. Send Maria an email at