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The water was choppy and colder than I was used to, but on this triple-digit day there was no debate.

“It’s too hot”

“Right!?” He was faced-down on his towel, but the beads of sweat on his back agreed.

“I’m going in.”

I stood up, brushed the sand from my palms and pranced my completely naked, out-of-shape ass in front of everyone on the nude beach and walked.

As my body floated with the current, my belly and me had a moment. I laced my fingertips across my navel and exhaled with determination to get back into stripper shape. Fine – as close to stripper shape as a middle-aged broad can get.

“You just have to get all the way in, then it’s awesome!” I was thirteen again, bragging about how I had the balls to brave the cold (it only took the afternoon to submerge myself completely).

Once I was swimming, my eyes surveyed the people along the shore. It didn’t matter that my body wasn’t perfect. That a crowd of strangers saw my cellulite and buddha belly in motion. I was comfortable in my skin. I wasn’t happy with my body at the moment – but holy fuck – I was happy.

A swell lifted my body – and the water mirrored my breath – sighing with me in the realization of just how far I’ve come.

Christine Macdonald

Mirror Mirror

Do you remember looking in the mirror as a child pretending you were a star? Your hairbrush and bath towel transformed into a microphone and luxurious locks. You belted out the soundtrack to Grease and flipped that terry cloth hairdo giving Farrah Fawcett a run for her money. Or maybe that’s just me.

Whatever your story – there was a time in your young life – before braces and acne, crushes and hormones, you simply felt beautiful.

When we’re young, our feeling of beauty isn’t so much based on the external things we see, but it’s rather equated with how we feel. Beauty is nothing we stop to even think about, much less donate precious play-date time to obsessing over whether we measure up.

As we age, our hearts expand beyond an affinity for birthday hats and jungle gyms, and something happens with our perception of beauty. Our eyes jump off the pages and Hollywood screens on to our mirrors – and what was once seen as perfectly acceptable becomes a sorry ass imitation of what is actually real. We see flaws as nothing but eyesores and hideous differences between them and us.

There’s something utterly delicious about our flaws. We look at a scar on someone’s body and can appreciate their pain left in its wake. We feel the anguish in their eyes and want to convince them – it’s what makes them unique – who they are – even more beautiful.

One of the biggest gifts we can give ourselves is the ability to shift our perception of what we see as flawed.

Flaws are real, honest. They don’t have to carry the hurt we give them. They can exist as reminders of how badass we are, for having survived the meat grinder of ridicule and backlash from the assholes who choose to point them out as “ugly.”

And let’s take a look at the word UGLY.

There’s nothing more unattractive than a mean-spirited heart. And that has nothing to do with your nose, scars, teeth, hair, skin, freckles, body fat, height, eyes, lips.

After nine surgeries on my face, and although they are a bit softer, I still have (and will always have) deep scars from a skin disease I was born with.

Is there a struggle with my perception of beauty at times? You betcha. But that’s when I remind myself of one of the most profound beauty lessons as the result of so much pain: the flaws are the best part.

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Post-surgery photo Early 20s. 4th of nine.

For more photos, check out my website.
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Christine Macdonald

Skin deep: My interview with KirstyTV and the surgery I had because of it

It’s been a few weeks since watching my interview with Kirsty Spraggon of KirstyTV. I’ve had some time to adjust to the reality of how I look on video (it’s much different from what we see in the mirror – have you noticed?). But here’s my initial reaction:

Me: Holy shit. I’m getting that fat under my chin sucked out immediately.

Kirsty: Don’t be silly, you are beautiful.

Me: Thanks, but I’ve had this extra fat under my chin – even when I was little.

Kirsty: Well, I support you with whatever decision you make, but think you’re beautiful just as you are.

Me: Thanks. But I’m doing it.

It’s silly, I know – with all the surgeries on my skin (I’ve had nine total) to help with the scarring on my face (from Stage IV Acne Vulgaris), to obsess about some excess fat under my chin. But that’s what I saw. And that’s what I had sucked out about a month ago.

I’m very proud of my interview with Kirsty (pronounced “thirsty”) – and not ashamed at all to share what my initial reaction was. But it brings up an interesting point about “beauty.”

As adults (and parents, for some of us), we want to instil the values in ourselves and children that beauty comes from within – that a beautiful heart will shine through, and each one of us is a work of art. But does this mean we can’t (or shouldn’t) do our best to look and feel our most beautiful?

Here’s me, day one after my chin lipo surgery (on my way to work!):

PostOp

And here I am last week getting dolled up for a night out:

After

I’m still a bit swollen, but so happy with my results.

Do I think I’m a Supermodel now? Nope. Did this little procedure change my issues about feeling beautiful? A little. Because I took care of something that has bothered me my entire life. And it feels good.

It’s why we get our hair done, go to the nail salon, hit up the treadmil and (try to) eat healthy. To look good is to feel good – to feel good (not to mention be a good person) is to exude a type of beauty you can’t describe, because it comes from your heart.

Look it – feel it. Feel it – look it. It’s a catch-beauty-two.

Now that the superficial and shallow stuff is out of the way – let’s get to the interview.

It was an emotional day, and still hard for me to wrap my head around my story, but I’m so grateful to Kirsty for giving me a *voice.

Still want to see it? I was hoping you would.

~

*If you or anyone you know has been effected by abuse, please reach out to RAINN (1-800-656-HOPE).

If you want to reach out to me – you can do that too. You are never alone.

Christine Macdonald