The Cold Sore Truth: I'm No Angelina Jolie
There are two kinds of people in this world: those who get cold sores, and those who recoil in horror and shriek, “Oh my GOD! What happened to your lip?!”
A cold sore never lies.
While most people are lucky enough to keep their emotions bottled up inside (where they belong), my feelings will not be suppressed. They’re like the off-Broadway cast of Hair! Naked, pitchy, and protesting the hypocrisy. ON MY FACE.
Do you know how it feels to have a CNN ticker tape instead of a smile? To have your innermost thoughts broadcast to the world in cold-sore subtitles before you can exercise your constitutional right to lie and say you’re fine?
Hey, how’ve you been?
Oh, I’m f — AN EMOTIONAL CESSPOOL! WITH TREMENDOUSLY POOR STRESS MANAGEMENT SKILLS! AND TO TOP IT OFF, MY PERIOD WILL BE COMMENCING SHORTLY. THANK YOU FOR ASKING.
Hey, can you take on one more client?
Absolutely! That would be wonder — FULL! MAYDAY! BRAIN HAS EXCEEDED CAPACITY AND IS TRYING TO ESCAPE FROM FAULT LINE IN LOWER LIP!
How long will your parents be staying with you?
Instead of seeking out ways to reduce my stress, I seek out cold sore medicines with silly names, like Herpadieu and Blisternix. I analyze the campaign promises of each and ultimately decide to go with a dark horse candidate called Ciaosore, reasoning that the directions are in Italian, it costs twice as much, and it comes in a tube no bigger than a Barbie phone, SO IT HAS TO BE GOOD.
When I feel the erratic twitch of a cold sore coming on — like a fly caught in a wee little lampshade inside my chin — I leap out of bed like a ninja, slather on $25 worth of Ciaosore, and pray.
By morning, not only has the cold sore reared its hideous head, but it’s also feeling frisky. I watch in the mirror as it logs in to Match.com and whistles “That’s Amoré.” Within an hour, a boisterous family of fever blisters has leased out my entire lower lip, and I can see it’s time for Plan B: Make the best of a bad situation. On the way to meet a new client for the first time, I convince myself that from a distance the cold sores make my lips look lush and sultry, like Angelina Jolie’s. I flash a dazzling movie star smile in the rearview mirror, which causes one of the blisters to pop. And bleed.
Alas, I am no Angelina.
And a cold sore never lies.
February is American Heart Month, a time to raise awareness for the leading cause of death in American women: heart disease. And perhaps no one will be sporting her red more proudly than 20-year-old Nashvillian Nykia Babb.
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