View from the Hill
LOS ANGELES—I’m sick of women who spend hours putting on makeup, coloring their hair and squeezing themselves into industrial-strength undergarments, only to turn around and rail against cosmetic surgery because, really, we should love ourselves and our bodies just as they are.
A few years ago, after losing all the weight I’d gained while pregnant with twin sons, getting into shape, and yet still causing psychological damage whenever I put on a bathing suit, I signed up for a tummy tuck and breast reduction. This angered my feminist friends and hate mail multiplied.
I had the surgery anyway.
Carefully researching doctors, picking the best one, and letting him work his magic was simple. Afterwards, I took some time off and allowed my body to heal. Recuperation isn’t easy, but cosmetic surgery is self-inflicted pain, so I went easy on the calls for sympathy.
I followed doctor’s orders and stayed in bed for the better part of two weeks trying not to sneeze. Patients can’t shower or move around too much. Boredom and its effects on Type A personalities made the experience interesting. I said some things I never thought I would.
There was so much I missed about being healthy and active.
But I didn’t miss the flab.
During my follow-up appointment, the assistant unwrapped my top and mumbled, “She’s alive. Alive!” I kept my eyes on the ceiling because I didn’t want to see a bruised and battered body that cost more than five European vacations put together. The assistant told me to take a deep breath and count to 10 before pulling at least five yards of tubing from my abdomen.
I finally looked down and almost cried. I resembled one of those Uganda victims from the '70s, except my legs and arms weren’t sewn on backwards. I smiled, though. Perky with a flat stomach, I could look past the bruises and actually see the floor.
I was thrilled.
Since then, I’ve felt buyer’s remorse a few times. My friends buy new cars and jewelry, and I have to remind myself that I am the new car and jewelry. But ultimately, the I relief I feel every day while putting on clothes that don’t require girdles is worth about a hundred BMWs and bracelets.
Physically-fit women, who cringe every time they get out of the shower, shouldn’t let anyone make them feel bad about fixing their body. After almost four years, I’m happy to report that my tummy is still flat, my breasts are still perky, and fellow beachgoers no longer bleed out the eyes.
That counts for a lot.
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