Mascara and the occasional eyeliner encase my eyes. I have fair pale skin I have no intention of shellacking with bronzer. I hide my high heels deep in my closet excavating them only on special occasions. I live in the $2.99 flip-flops I bought on clearance at Target. I invite each wrinkle that nestles under the surface of my skin. I love my age and welcome each year with open arms. I bow gracefully to the year behind for ripening my body and spirit and leaving me with experiences and knowledge.
I am thankful for the body I have and the way it has gifted me over the years.
I love my body for granting me the freedom to experience life. I have climbed mountains, sailed the seas, traveled across the world, ran hundreds of miles, dove meters under the ocean and danced for hours on end. I can stand on my hands, my head and my feet with ease.
I’ve made love, given birth, breast-fed two babies, miscarried, starved myself, fed myself, hurt myself and healed myself.
I stored 60 pounds on my petite frame with each pregnancy and lost the weight with patience, some healthy food and a daily yoga practice.
I love the strength, stamina and resilience of my body. I embrace my scars, my imbalances, my freckles and my moles. I love my ears — they poke out just a little. I love my nose for the tiny bump it collected from falling on my face when I was four years old.
I am flawed and imperfect. I am all natural. I am all natural, with breast implants. They are a part of my body and have been since I was 18 years old.
Most people are shocked when they find out. I listen to the judgments and snide remarks as a woman walks by with obvious enhancements.
“That is so gross. That is so unnatural. Why would anyone do that to themselves?”
I look up with a little grin and say, “I have them.”
“What? No you don’t! You?”
Yes, the natural gal on the spiritual journey has breast implants.
The woman who helps others accept who they are on the inside and embrace their outside, has silicone under her flesh.
Some might call me a busty oxymoron or a hypocrite: I am not. I made a decision at the age of 18, and as my motto goes, I never regret anything I do or say because I meant to do or say it at the time. I made a choice to have implants and I am secure and content with my decision.
My father was a plastic and reconstructive surgeon. He specialized in the reconstruction of wounds and deformities (babies born with cleft lips and palates, facial and hand deformities, burns and tumors). He removed, reconnected, restored and healed thousands of patients.
I accompanied him on rounds at the hospital, and had the privilege of suiting up in surgical pajamas and headgear to observe his work. I watched as he constructed an ear out of cartilage from rib, placing it beneath the skin on the side of a little boy’s skull. I witnessed as he put people back together like Mr. Potato Head. I was not privy to the world of insecure women who attempted to bandage themselves with a little nip and tuck, in hopes it would fix the gash in their self-worth and the rift in their marriage.
At the age of 18, I approached my father from a place of pragmatism and maturity. I was not body dysmorphic, yet when I looked in the mirror, what I saw did not match what I felt in my heart. I saw a boyish figure on the outside but felt like a powerful, sensual, curvaceous, sexy woman on the inside. I yearned for my eyes and heart to unite, so the idea of adding a little curve, a little substance to my figure felt right.
I knew I did not want my breasts to be my handshake, I wanted them to blend in with the landscape of my body. My dad always told me if he was capable of helping me become more confident, he would. Who better than the man who created me to give me what I wanted: breasts.
(Some may feel it inappropriate for a surgeon to operate on his own child, however we discussed the circumstance at length and determined it was appropriate because of the controlled nature of the operation in the presence of an anesthesiologist, assistant and nurse).
I knew that proceeding with the surgery meant I would be left with a scar. Cutting into flesh is never forgotten by the derma, which is what defined my father an artist and master. He sutured with grace. The scars created by his healing threads were only traceable to the patient’s eyes. However, no matter how refined the stitch, there will always be a scar.
Every moment of life lived, leaves us with a scar whether in our minds or on our bodies. A scar is a reminder and souvenir of the choices we have made on our path.
I think scars are beautiful. We are meant to get cut, scraped and worn from our years of living. Life is one big pumice stone that erodes our newness and replaces it with age, experience, knowledge and wisdom (if we choose to learn from our experiences).
A scar may come in the form of a memory, a scar on our skin, a tattoo, a relationship, a possession, or anything else that leaves a trail or a mark of how we have lived and the choices we make along the way. My breast implants are two scars from a period in my life, and for that, I honor my choice completely.
The decision itself is a scar on my path.
I am not insinuating everyone should alter their body because they don’t like how they look. It is critcal to understand the positive and negative effects of cosmetic surgery.
Cosmetic alterations become destructive to our identity and well-being when they are founded on emptiness and honored as fullness.
If a woman who is kind, generous, accepting of herself, her life and the people around her has a facelift, then the facelift is only a facelift. The facelift is an alteration, like hemming the fabric of her skirt to fit her figure.
If another woman has the same procedure, but she is unfulfilled with herself, her life and the people in it, the facelift is detrimental to her well-being. She is depending on the physical change to bring her happiness. She will send her skirt to be hemmed only to be dissatisfied with the work despite how well it is done, because she is discontented and unaccepting of herself.
Today, there is an epidemic — an addiction to cosmetic surgery. We are obsessed with changing our outsides because we have adopted the belief, “If I only changed____, I will be happy.”
It does not work.
We will stuff and tighten ourselves to an unrecognizable state, and the result will always be suffering and misery.
When I was 18, I fell in the middle on the contentment spectrum. I know now the voluptuous woman I wanted on the outside needed to be filled inside first. My spirit was crying out to be heard. How do I know? After I recovered, the implants weren’t enough. I used my breasts as a tool to get the attention I craved. In college, I flashed them on spring break. I squeezed them into little tops as a bull’s eye to a man’s libido, and it worked– I got attention. I got attention that was vapid and insincere, because I was not being sincere with myself.
What we give ourselves is what we receive from others. I was giving myself nothing. Something was missing; I didn’t love myself. I lived on the outside, until I learned I needed to do the work to enhance my spirit. I stopped baring my breasts and bared my soul instead. I worked from the outside, in.
I honor and love my body for allowing me to live and function healthfully in this world, but it does not define me. Having small breasts or implants does not determine my worth as a person.
I have asked myself, “Would I have the surgery today if I had never had it done before?”
My answer is, I don’t know. A few years ago, I had a replacement operation. It was necessary. I did consider removing them completely, but they became a part of my body and structure. I formed a thin layer of scar tissue around them, hugging them into place. I decided to keep my curves.
In reflection, I recognize that my breasts have assisted me on my path to body acceptance. It looked right, from the moment I removed the bandages 15 years ago. The surgery was like hanging the last painting on the wall after moving into a new house. Years later, I still notice and appreciate the painting I hung that first day, but my awareness has shifted to how I feel living within the warm walls of my home.
We are gifted with the body we have in order to live our lives. We have free will to do with it what we want. We have a choice to take care of it, hurt it, neglect it, honor it, fix it, not fix it, renovate it or keep it the same just as we would our home. Just like any home, it isn’t the home that makes the owner happy, it is the owner that makes the home happy. My body is my home, a loving home.
I know my happiness is not contingent on the size of my breasts, but I do smile when I look in the mirror. I smile at it all. I smile because my body is covered with scars of a life lived. I smile because I’ve lived another day and have wrinkles to show for it. I smile because I can still see stretch marks from my pregnancies and that scar from when I fell from my bike at five years old. I smile because I can see and feel the happiness on the inside permeating out. I smile because my breasts remind me of how far I’ve come — how I grew from a flat chested spirit to a voluptuous one. Not to mention, I love my curves.