I am a natural girl.
Mascara and the occasional eyeliner encase my eyes. I have fair pale skin that I have no intention of shellacking with bronzer. I hide my high heels deep in my closet, and excavate them like dinosaur bones on special occasions. I live in flip-flops I bought at Target. I welcome each little wrinkle that nestles itself on the surface of my skin. I love my age and welcome every year with open arms. I bow gracefully to the year behind for ripening my body and spirit and for leaving me with experiences and knowledge.
After 32 years, I can say that I have accepted my body. 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 up mountains, skied down 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 have made love, given birth, breast-fed two babies, miscarried, starved myself, fed myself, hurt myself and healed myself.
I loaded 60 pounds on my petite frame with each of my pregnancies and lost all of the weight with patience, some healthy food and a daily yoga practice.
I love the strength, stamina and resilience of my body. I love my scars, my imbalances, my freckles, my moles. I love that my ears poke out just a little, and my nose has a tiny bump 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 angry comments when 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 all natural gal on the spiritual journey has breast implants.
The woman who helps other women embrace who they are on the inside and accept what’s on the outside, has silicone under her flesh.
Some might call me a walking 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 that time. I made a choice to have implants and I am secure and content with the decision I made.
My father was a plastic and reconstructive surgeon. His work was concentrated in reconstruction of wounds and deformities, including babies born with cleft lips and palates, facial and hand deformities, burns, tumors. You name it, he did it. He removed, reconnected, restored and healed thousands of patients.
I used to go on rounds with him 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 watched as he put people back together like Mr. Potato Head. I was not privy to the world of insecure women who tried to bandage themselves with a little nip and tuck, thinking it would fix the gash in their self-worth and the rift in their marriage.
At 18, I approached my father from a place of pragmatism and maturity. I was skinny. The four years of starvation had taken a toll on my body and I looked like a boy, well not really, but the boob fairy definitely forgot to visit my chest. I was not dysmorphic about my body, yet when I looked in the mirror, what I saw did not match what I felt in my heart. I felt like a powerful, sensual, curvaceous, sexy woman and I wanted that feeling to physically manifest. I loved the idea of a little curve, a little substance to my figure that I could see and feel. 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 said, if there was anything he could do to assist me in feeling as confident as I could, he would help. Who better than the man who created me, to give me what I wanted, breasts.
I knew that proceeding with the surgery meant I would be left with a scar. Cutting into flesh never goes forgotten by the derma, but that is what made my father an artist and master. He sutured with grace.
The scars left by his healing threads were just traceable for the patient to see, so they could always remember what they had healed from. Every moment of life lived, leaves us with a scar whether in our mind or on our body. A scar is a reminder and souvenir of the choices we have made on our path.
In my eyes, 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 away 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 that birthed from a choice we made, a possession we own, 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 of my life, and for that, I embrace them and my choice completely.
The decision itself is a scar upon my true path.
Cosmetic alterations become dangerous to our identity and well-being when they are founded on emptiness and honored as fullness.
If a woman has a facelift and is kind, generous, accepts the people around her and lives a life of service and goodness, then a facelift is only a facelift. The facelift is an alteration, like hemming the fabric of her skirt to fit her figure.
Another woman may have the same procedure, but she does not love herself. She is not fulfilled with her life, the people in her life, or herself. Nothing satisfies her and therefore, her facelift is detrimental to her well-being. She was depending on the facelift to bring her happiness, but it never will because she is empty on the inside. She will bring her skirt to be hemmed, but be unsatisfied with the work done because she is discontented and unaccepting of her being.
There is an epidemic of addiction to cosmetic surgery today. There are people who are obsessed with altering their outside. There is a thought process that leads to a belief, the “if I only changed____, I would be happy” belief.
It does not work.
People will stuff and tighten themselves to an unrecognizable state, and the result is suffering and misery. When we are full on the inside, everything fills us on the outside too.
When I was 18, I fell in the middle on the contentment spectrum when it came to my body. I now know that the voluptuous woman I was yearning for on the outside needed to be filled inside first. My spirit was crying out to be heard and acknowledged.
So, I experimented with different methods of giving her attention. I used my breasts to get attention. In college, I flashed them on spring break in Mexico. I squeezed them into little tops as a bull’s eye to a man’s libido, and 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, something was lacking. I didn’t like myself, so I lived outside myself for a while, and then I remembered the mature 18 year old that had approached her father about her outside. I addressed myself the same way. I reminded myself that my breasts were just an enhancement to my body. I told myself the work needed to be done to enhance my spirit. Sure, I did it backwards, but that was my journey. 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 has no bearing on my depth and the goodness that resides within me. Now, I bare my soul not my breasts.
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. The fact is, I did it and I have implants. A couple of years ago, I had to have a replacement operation. It was necessary. I did consider removing them and not replacing them, but they became a part of my body like a pet does when it is adopted into a family. They became part of my structure. I had formed a thin layer of scar tissue around them. My body had healed around them as if hugging them into place. I wanted to keep them.
In reflection, I acknowledge they assisted me in the acceptance of my body. 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, and living with implants is like living in that new house day after day, year after year. I still notice and appreciate the painting I hung that first day, but my awareness has shifted to how good 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 and it is now a happy 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 the happiness from the inside permeating on the outside. I smile because my breasts remind me of how far I have come—how I grew from a flat chested spirit to a voluptuous spirit. Not to mention, I really love my curves.
By Rebecca Lammersen
Editor: Brianna Bemel