We all have them. Those adorable imperfections we don’t like to talk about, much less believe they exist. Some of us are so far into the denial-that-we’re-less-than-perfect trap, we don’t see that by not accepting our ugly underbelly of what makes us unique, we’re coating an even more unattractive layer of falsehood over ourselves.
At the moment, I live in Orange County and I gotta say, if you’ve ever checked out The Real Housewives of OC, those inflated lipped, overly botoxed Barbie Doll Babes are real and walking among us in the light of day, usually with their toy dogs in tow.
Here’s the part where I struggle to convey that although I have zero judgment (opinions? yes…) with the BDBs of the world, I can’t help but feel that in over-doing the plastic surgery, there’s a part of them that doesn’t want to accept something deeper about themselves that they feel is unappealing.
When I was struggling with an eating disorder in high school, I learned a common phrase used among doctors when referring to anorexia/bulimia: “It’s never about the food.” My 16-year-old brain didn’t quite get it, but it makes total sense to me now. It was about control.
Some of us won the hot mess jackpot in terms of childhood upbringing. We were raised with an emotional deficit under a parental umbrella of dysfunction, which makes it so easy to get lost. We’ll do anything not to be found, but in a strange way, we still want to be heard. It’s the same way with control. We know that we have zero power, so we bleed our boundaries over into self-destructive and sabotaging territory – just to feel in control. Naturally, the outcome of our behavior is a spinning vortex of chaos, and we wonder how the hell our lives got so messy.
Life is nothing if not a continual contradiction of behavior and thought.
I’m no stranger to plastic surgery. Call it occupational education in my stripping days. I was privy to all things boob-job related and within two months of making the decision to get my own pair of fun bags, I was under the knife. My underweight frame welcomed those glorious C cups and I made a ton of cash. By the time I was in my 30s and long after my final spin on the pole, my body settled into womanhood and with a much healthier silhouette, I chose to take my implants out and embrace the curvy bod I didn’t even know I was meant to have. Did I feel in control with my rockin’ stripper bod back in the day? Hell yes. Do I feel comfortable and stabilized with my middle-aged figure now? Minus the body fat I’m working hard on trimming (more on that later), absolutely.
My face is another story.
A few weeks ago, I was at a party in Los Angeles and the subject of my blog came up. I was asked the ever so common “what do you write about?” question. Upon revealing my answer, sharing that I’m working on a book about stripping in my twenties, the dude looked me in the eyes and very matter of fact replied, “really? with that fucked up face?” I was on a first date, and the dude I was with was frozen in shock (he knew my story and sensitivity), and I can’t blame him.
Mr. Charmer continued, pointing to my cheeks, “no, really, what is this from?” After picking up my jaw from the floor, I replied. “I had a skin disease as a kid. Those are scars. Oh look, there’s someone in a wheelchair, you gonna ask about their fucked up legs?” My little quib let the air outta the room and we all shared a laugh. The dude was such a drugged up mess, I knew his question wasn’t meant to hurt my feelings. Besides, I wasn’t about to allow the night to be shot because of one guy’s insensitivity.
I held my shit together enough among company, but when I climbed into bed a few hours later, the amount of tears that flowed was enough to fill the room.
This is never going to stop.
Within the space of one night, and because of one person’s remark about my scars, all my years of therapy and surgeries were suddenly gone. I was Freddy Kruger (high school nick-name) all over again. I felt anything but in control.
After a long sleep and a much-needed therapy discussion, I circled back from self-pity to confident – reminding myself how far I’ve come, and that no matter how many surgeries I have, these scars on my face are permanent, so I better just deal.
Which brings me back to the nature of the beast: acceptance of our flaws.
Of course there are things we can improve with our appearance. Taking care of ourselves goes a long way. Then there are those things we’re born with and need to find a place within our hearts to accept. Too short, too tall, big-boned, petite, curly hair, freckles, pale skin, you name it, someone has it and is bitching about it.
So how do we settle into ourselves and cut the slack so badly needed in order to find our self-worth? For starters, it’s good to remember that every single solitary person in the universe is flawed; even if you don’t see it.
The other night I was talking with a friend and he gently cupped his hands in my face. He knows what a huge deal it is for me to allow anyone but a doctor to go there; but I was comfortable and felt safe. He looked into my eyes and said one of the most profound things I’ve ever heard: “Everybody has scars. Yours just happen to be on the outside.”
There it is. Talked about. No denial to hide behind. The old Christine would’ve been embarrassed, ashamed even. I would’ve tried to break my fear by cracking a silly joke. Instead, I threw him a knowing smile filled with gratitude for his honesty and grace; and then, without skipping a beat and before I could get my big mouth talking – he kissed me.
Allowing myself to be real with someone in the moment – vulnerable and raw – made me realize something. When we embrace our “ugly”, we take away its power over us to make us feel anything less than beautiful - and when you think about it, really – what’s more flawless than that?
Here’s the part where you tell me – what flaws do you have and have learned to accept? Please share in the comment section below.