Lunch, Wine and a Spot of Cosmetic Surgery?

I know what you’re thinking, that sounds like a perfect Saturday with my girlfriends.  I’m ashamed to say that I agree, who wouldn’t want to have a fun meal with friends and return home completely different?  However, that isn’t the exact activity that I am talking about.  I’m talking about the elephant in the room, has she had her boobs done?  I’m sure her nose looked different the last time she was home.  Isn’t it sad?
When did we become so obsessed with becoming perfect and yet so judgemental that we spy for it in anyone that we haven’t seen for a few months?  Weekly columns devoted to potential before and after pictures of celebrities appear in most popular magazines that are aimed at young, vulnerable women.  Trust me, I’m one of them.
Recently it’s become apparent to me that there’s an abundance of people disappearing off Facebook for four to six weeks and returning so confident that I’ve seen every angle of selfie that they could manage.  Well, until the selfie stick appeared in our lives then I saw even more, it shocks me that I could probably identify people I hardly know on Facebook…yes, that’s definitely Mel, she has a heart-shaped mole on her right cheek and a small birthmark on the tip of her left shoulder.  Her last name?  Erm…
Growing up the only person I knew who had plastic surgery was Dolly Parton.  I think it was still such a taboo subject as it was viewed as an extreme show of a vein personality, which wasn’t attractive.  Now, however, it is something that is so prevalent within our society that I am waiting to see it on the McDonalds drive thru menu.  Big baps anyone?
Leafing through a booklet sent to me by a cosmetic surgery clinic it became glaringly obvious why people are choosing to change their image rather than accept it.  By the end of the booklet, I had mentally racked up a bill for close to £20,000 and the chance of looking like a real-life Barbie doll.  I’ll happily admit that my view of cosmetic surgery has changed over the years.  In my early twenties, I would challenge anyone who would appear to be interested in surgery, opting to call them cowards rather than asking them why they believed they needed it.  To me, it was an escape from real life and the euphoric feeling after seeing the results would only last a matter of months before you realise that it hasn’t changed your life.
Now, I genuinely believe surgery could change my life.  I have always disliked my breasts, to the point of hiding them whenever I was intimate with a man and I would never get changed in front of a girlfriend.  They had grown quickly and I was a tomboy who didn’t understand the importance of a well-fitted bra.  Due to my naivety I have been left with sagging breasts with every inch covered in stretch marks.  In all honesty, a large proportion of my body is made of silver roads heading to the next junction, something that made me hide under high-neck, long-sleeved shirts for most of my teenage years.  Until I realised that it was too damn hot to care and shockingly I wasn’t chased by a clan of angry villagers with torches chanting ogre.
Then there is the embarrassing issue that I have only recently broached with my closest friends in a comedic manner to see their reactions.  I call it my fat fanny, not sophisticated or classy, but it is what it is.  I jovially told my friends that it had ruined my chances of ever pulling off a bandage dress without looking like I was hiding a well-endowed secret in my lacy knickers.  Both the girls looked completely lost, I awaited the awkward look towards my crotch and again no screaming or running, just confusion about my issue that they apparently couldn’t see.  To me, this stopped me enjoying so much.  I would look at the exercise photos in magazines of a woman lying on her back and pushing her crotch into the air, a flat crotch.  One boyfriend once named it my ‘Mound’, how wonderful.  I have been asked what I am hiding down there by an extremely interested young man in my early years at high school and asked why there was a bulge protruding from my tight maxi dress.  All of which added to my huge insecurity that I wasn’t normal, yet who are you supposed to ask, Google?  ‘Why do I have a vagina mound?’ or better still, ‘Why have I been cursed with a fat fanny?’  If you are ever at a loose end have a search, the results are entertaining and in all honesty, mostly porn.  Another image for me to compare to was porn, I watched it not for the excitement, but so that I could compare my vagina to theirs.  It wasn’t normal and I was terrified of anyone ever seeing it, whether it be having sex with a new guy or it making an unwelcomed appearance in a dress.
So there I was, deformed breasts and a fanny that made me look like I was constantly hiding a tennis ball in my underwear.  It ruined me and to a certain point still does.  I can’t wear leggings as it is too tight and the material too thin to hide my mound.  I can’t wear tight dresses or skirts, all of my jeans are stretched at the zip, and the thought of a bikini makes me sweat uncontrollably.  Sex just makes me want to become celibate than have to show my body that I am so ashamed of.
Is that really any way to live?  No is the simple answer, I have tried to accept the way I am, I’ve had moments of screaming why wasn’t I formed like a normal girl.  The latter episode tends to spiral into a pit of depression scrutinising every part of my body until I am head first into my local shops freezer digging out the most luxurious ice cream to tend my wounds.  It never helps though and I just push to the back of my mind until I notice it again or someone else mentions it.  What a great way to survive the anguish of my teenage years and the definitive twenties.  Did I mention that the mound also doubles as a very realistic camel toe?  My breasts also have a fond look of puppy dog ears when I bend over with no bra on, delightful.
Yet when I researched people’s stories about their different surgeries I had a sudden change of heart.  Yes, I am not happy about my mound but when the hell am I going to be whipping that out unnecessarily?  Ironically my boyfriend complimented me on my nether regions on the first reveal, not the first time obviously, no one looks the first time…right?  Anyway, he loved the way it looked.  Apparently it was neat and tidy, who knew men were looking for such tidiness when my boyfriend can never even find the towel rail after a shower?  I had never mentioned my insecurities to him as I believed that I should portray a persona of a confident woman who loved every inch of her body.  The poor guy has now realised that I will shove my crotch in his face when trying outfits to see if I have tamed the mound sufficiently, ruining my fake confidence.  He, however, does appreciate my honesty about how I feel, he will tell me that I am being obsessed if I am and I appreciate that.  If any of my friends acted psycho over food like I have done in the past, I would be forced to smear their faces in doughnuts, tough love works I’m sure.  When it comes to myself however I will never treat myself in such a kind way and tend to just eat the doughnuts and eat, and eat, and eat.  With this revelation, I have decided to broach my insecurities in a new, loving way like I would with my best friend or my boyfriend.  I won’t lie to myself as I don’t particularly want to form a stomach so large that I have a permanent bib to catch my falling crumbs.  Instead, I will tell myself that I have been unhealthy and should really put the fifth slice of pizza back in the box and maybe go for a walk.
This isn’t about how I look, this is about my attitude.  Looking at my boyfriend I see nothing but a hot man, yet he thinks he is fat and now believes that he is forming a muffin top, but I don’t see these things.  These are personal to each person and, for the most part, aren’t even noticed by the people around you, so who are you really having surgery for, yourself or for the people you walk past and never see again?  People will have surgery due to their view of themselves and yes, it can be a necessity when accidents have happened or birth defects.  Have the rest of us been programmed to thinking that to live a perfect life that we must ourselves look perfect?  We are continuously exposed to advertisements for dieting, fitness and fashion brands such as American Apparel that provide an unhealthy view of what a woman should look like.  Is this what is forcing cosmetic surgery patients to rise by 17% in 2014 as reported by Baaps (British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons)?  Breast augmentation was the most popular sort after surgery while eyelid surgery came in second.  What struck me about the list is that we are living in a time where padded bras, chicken fillets and other devices are readily available to buy from nearly every fashion store.  So why is it that we are putting ourselves through potentially dangerous surgeries to achieve something that we can get for four quid at Primark?  Do people realise that there is a large chance that they will have to have more surgery as implants only tend to last for about ten years give or take.  I personally have large breasts, hence the puppy ear look, and I have had plenty of back issues, stretch marks and permanent strap marks scarring my shoulders.  And you’re going to pay six grand to impose that on yourself?
I’m not going to say that one day I wouldn’t partake in a little Pam Anderson surgery, well, maybe not to that extreme.  Yet we need to remember the people who have undertaken surgery when there was nothing wrong and then they end up looking like they actually need it, funny how that works, huh?  Heidi Montag was a beautiful, young girl who to a lot of people was pure perfection and look at what she did to herself.  I can’t help but wonder whether it was her surroundings that allowed her to view herself in such a bad light that she decided to undergo ten cosmetic procedures in just one day in 2009.  The most disturbing spin to this story is that Montag believed my theory when around the same time that she underwent the surgery she and her husband Spencer realised a book entitled,  “How to Be Famous: Our Guide to Looking the Part, Playing the Press, and Becoming a Tabloid Fixture”.  Surely this is a red light for unnecessary surgeries, Montag even underwent a breast reduction due to health issues illustrating the dangers of quick decisions to ‘look the part’.
The moral of the story is simple, ask yourself whether this is something that is an absolute necessity or whether it is soleyto be part of the perfect culture.  My new mantra now consists of taking the time to look at myself in the same way that I would look at others, would I tell my mother that she has an abundance of cellulite and enough body fat to keep a small village in food?  Hell no.  So why would I do that to myself? I have spent the best part of fifteen years speaking to myself like a piece of crap, and I can tell you it doesn’t work.  Hurling abuse at myself didn’t give me the motivation to go to the gym five times a week or dispose of the ten pounds of biscuits in my cupboard, it made me eat everything in bed (which I secretly loved more than having a boyfriend at times).  Being cruel to be kind is not an option, I had to be honest and kind, and then I was able to formulate a plan that I liked and didn’t cost me my confidence or ten years’ worth of pastries in surgery.  Accepting who I am and treating myself with some God damn respect seems to be making a dent in the bullying cow within me.  When I feel like telling myself that I’ll never be able to wear a strapless top because of my dreaded back fat or those weird squidgy bits in my armpits (what the hell is that all about by the way?), I stop and take a deep breath and say something positive instead.  I point out my fantastic legs and how they make me feel sexy, or how my bum makes me want to wiggle shamelessly as I walk down the street.  I will not allow my mind to ruin my confidence again, I am pretty sure I should have left those deep-set insecurities with my inflatable chair and Spice Girls CD.  So I will no longer do the self-loathing dance of ‘I hate my body…where is the ice-cream’ unless Aunt Flo is in town and then I will delve in with a big smile, because there’s always lots of cake to be eaten.  If I get to the point where I am so unhappy that it prevents me from being myself, then that is the time to be doing something.  Otherwise I’m going to give myself hell until I have the same respect for myself as I do for my own mother, because quite frankly I think it is a little depressing to be twenty-eight years old and grounded for my attitude.

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