People have so many opinions about body alterations. Yours, not theirs. Should you? Shouldn’t you? Are you really that vain? Do you really think it will change your life? Are you crazy? Why do you care what men, women, other people think about your nose, breasts, teeth, thighs, ad infinitum?
And then there are the jokes. What’s that tattoo going to look like when it’s dragging the floor in the nursing home?
My own therapist was concerned when I opted for chin and cheek implants. She was afraid I was doing it in hopes of building my self-esteem from the outside in, through other people’s opinions. And there are certainly people who do try that. Read the recent article about Incels and their rather frantic plastic surgery attempts to look more like a “Chad.” Their self hatred and anger at women prevents them from getting the results they want, and some have more and more surgeries in pursuit of their ideal, never really convinced that they look as good as they thought they would. Or they get angry at the women who then notice them, who didn’t before. It is exactly this that we therapists have concerns about. If you are altering yourself for other people, you are doomed to either be disappointed or to get more, and more, and more alterations.
That wasn’t me. I had the surgery to look more like I actually saw myself. The cheek implants were likely unnecessary, but I don’t regret them. They have forestalled a face lift, if I were inclined to do that. The chin implant made me look more like my beautiful mother than like my father. I’m really good with that. While the implants didn’t make a drastic difference most people could tell, they definitely made me look more like the me I saw in my mind’s eye. As for people noticing, as my former father-in-law said, “Carol gets prettier every time we see her.” I’m good with that, too.
My sister had a nose job, which could be argued she didn’t need. But she did it for her, not for anyone else. My mother had always wanted one and never did it, so more kudos to my sister for following through on hers. We did spark one interesting reaction at a club. I introduced her to a friend of mine. He looked back and forth and said, “You don’t look alike.” Debi quipped, “We have different plastic surgeons.”
There is nothing wrong with looking better on the outside if it matches the way you feel about yourself on the inside.
A version of this post was previously published on medium.com and is republished here with permission from the author.
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Photo credit: Carol Lennox