Plastic Surgery as Self-Expression

2 Mar

I fucking love tattoos.  On other people.  I personally, am terrified of committing to something that will be on my body forever (although I’ve contemplated the same tattoo since I was fifteen). I admired one dudes sleeve outside of some non-douchey bar in Adams Morgan (the only one …possibly) and he, in his drunken stupor, said “You’d be totally hot with a really sick sleeve.”  I appreciated his comment, but fear he is grossly mistaken. A sleeve would totally cover up my kick-ass birthmark in the shape of a running dog!

Besides, like I said — commitment.  It took me 8 years of diligently wearing makeup to commit to wearing red lipstick.  And even then, it comes off. I’m alright with my only body modification being my pierced ears.  I didn’t make the decision lightly.  In fact, I didn’t make the decision at all.  I popped out of my mama, matured a few weeks, and then the nurses at the hospital poked holes in my earlobes.  I’m sure it hurt.  But I’m OK not knowing either way.

In high school, I longed for a boob job. I could definitely commit to that.  I know, I know.  My breasts are already enormous. It has been well documented on the interwebs, and enthusiastically noted by anyone that’s seen me naked.  But, you see, I wanted smaller, perkier bewbs.  Then I heard that when you get any kind of breast surgery, they sever the nerves or glands or whatever that make breast feeding possible— and although I don’t plan on breast feeding anytime soon, I would like to keep that option on the table (it’s good for public health, kids!). Also, anything that messes with my nipples, messes with my sex life. Don’t fuck with that! Alas, I could no longer commit to the boob job.

But I always considered other forms of plastic surgery, a chin reduction, a way to make my nostrils thinner, liposuction, a way to transfer fat molecules from my stomach to my ass, in an effort to achieve a Jennifer Lopez as Selena look (albeit with bigger tits).

Just observe that ass at :55 with those high-waisted white pants! My dream was to wear that outfit.

I’m over the whole plastic surgery thing. Over the years, I’ve learned to stop getting mad at my body for what it doesn’t look like, and enjoy the things it does give me.  I can walk all over DC for a whole day and not get cramped, I can achieve a headstand in my yoga class, with a little bit of practice, my legs can run to a Childish Gambino beat for over 6 miles.  I’m in pretty good shape to successfully survive a Zombie Apocalypse (it’s been proven). I like the way I look without extra piercings or tattoos, and how my genes fit me. If I was stuck looking the way I do at this very moment, for the rest of my life, I’d be OK with it.

Most of the time.

Like maybe 90% of the time.

I can commit to 90%.

I came across a series of photographs on Flavorwire yesterday (NSFW) by photographer Phillip Toledano where he’s photographed people that have spent a lot of time and money in order to be satisfied with their appearance 90% of the time.  In his latest work, A New Kind of Beauty, Toledano explores the idea of what beauty means to us when we take it into our own hands.  Forget about what everyone else thinks is beautiful, or what you’ve been taught to think is beautiful, what do you think is beautiful?  Of course, it’s difficult to think of what beauty would be in our own untouched bubbles.  What would beauty be like if it was nature instead of nurture?  That’s what his series looks at.

Looking at Toledano’s series really makes me think about what the turning point in my life was that made me OK with how I looked.  I didn’t just wake up one morning and go “wow — I’m fucking hot!” — in fact, these are not my sentiments most days.  But I can pinpoint the moment where I didn’t dread being naked. It was a summer after my freshman year in college.  My friend Shira invited me to her parent’s house in Cape Cod, complete with a little boat and a dock, and a private beach.  That weekend, I smoked weed for the first time, and spent all day coming in and out of the water.  It must have been at least 6 girls just hanging that weekend.  All with different, beautiful bodies.  Some where soft, others petite and fit, other’s lean and tall and athletic, small breasts, large breasts, pale, tan, all of us had differently manicured nails and body hair.  After one swim on the beach, we all gathered in a group into the outdoor shower (this is gonna sound really porny, by the way) and just took a big communal shower.  We all looked at each other, and complimented the other on this and that, and joked, and talked, as if we were completely dressed. It was the most non-judgmental naked experience of my life.  I was completely exposed physically, and didn’t care at all.  I realized at that moment, that I wasn’t this grotesque monster.  I’m just a normal girl, with the same body image issues as any other girl.  I’m OK with myself 90% of the time.

I can commit to that.

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