Until last week, the wonderful world of injectables is a domain I'd only observed from afar (or rather, through a screen).

On Instagram and TikTok, before-and-after videos of "liquid nose jobs," newly sculpted jawlines, and smoothed under-eye bags had me awe-struck at the fact that a few strategically placed pricks of skin-plumping liquid can radically transform one's facial symmetry and balance.

A well-trained injector is a wizard of aesthetics who wields a syringe instead of a wand, and I was ready to get jabbed.

Over the years, I've come to love how I look. Years of relentless middle school bullying and high school angst are now (mostly) behind me.

Still, the "Zoom Effect" is real, as are the powers of gravity. Over the past year, I began noticing slight indentations on my mid-cheek area, right below both of my undereyes. They cast unsightly shadows that, at times, made me look tired and puffy.

Filler, I decided, was a route I would embark on in my quest for cheek and undereye correction. Sorry, Naomi Wolf!

After hours of Googling and consulting with my beauty-conscious friends, I decided to book an appointment with Lynn Wojton of Center Aesthetic & Dermatology in New York City. (To be clear: this is not sponsored content, nor was my treatment comped in any way.)

After a thorough consultation, Wojton told me that the indentations I'd been noticing have a name: malar bags, swollen "saddle bags" that develop below the outside corner of the eye, right above the cheekbone. She explained that filler isn't typically used to correct malar bags — in most cases, dermal fillers are injected too superficially to make much of a difference.

But because my case was mild, Wojton said we could give it a shot. I could expect a twenty percent improvement, she cautioned, explaining that my malar bags wouldn't magically disappear. Additionally, she said there was a slight risk that filler could exacerbate my problem. Filler is formulated with hyaluronic acid, a hydrophilic substance that draws water in and could make my face appear puffier.

I'll admit: I almost decided to call the whole thing off. But Wojton put me at ease and here we are, one syringe of Juvéderm Vollure later.

Needless to say, I'm ecstatic with my results. My malar bags aren't gone, but they're much less noticeable. As an added bonus, my undereye bags are less prominent, too. Both my close friends and my boyfriend have said they notice a difference. "You look refreshed," someone recently told me over FaceTime.

Initially, I wasn't sure I would reveal my decision to go under the syringe to anyone aside from my closest circle. I didn't want to be judged — I'm only 26, after all.

But, as a member of a society that so relentlessly prioritizes beauty, why should I feel ashamed?

It's a question that instantly brings to mind Linda Evangelista, who recently revealed that CoolSculpting, a fat-freezing treatment, permanently disfigured her body. Instead of sympathy, Evangelista was met with a barrage of criticism for undergoing the procedure in the first place. She was shallow and vain, detractors said.

Why are onlookers so quick to judge women who undergo beauty treatments when those procedures are exactly what media, advertising, and pop culture push at them every single day? It's unfair to expect consumers to "rise above" the noise and magically develop off-the-charts self confidence.

In other words: don't hate the player, hate the game.

After all, I'd much rather own my decision to get filler than claim that moisturizer and lots of water is what got me here today.

So there you have it: I got filler, I love it, and yes, I'll talk to you about it.

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