Shawn L. Bird

Original poetry, commentary, and fiction. All copyrights reserved.

Nip and Tuck your self-esteem December 30, 2010

Filed under: Commentary — Shawn L. Bird @ 3:52 am
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Beauty — be not caused — It Is —
Chase it, and it ceases —
Chase it not, and it abides —

Overtake the Creases

In the Meadow — when the Wind
Runs his fingers thro’ it —
Deity will see to it
That You never do it –

-Emily Dickinson

Think about Michael Jackson and what are the first things that come to mind? Well, there’s all that great music, of course, but right up there is going to be ‘plastic surgery.’ When you talk about Michael’s plastic surgery, you’re not thinking, “Wow, he had surgery and he looked so great!” Nope. You think how attractive he was before he got onto the surgery cycle, and you wonder what he was thinking to have started in the first place.  Right?

Have you heard about friends or acquaintances who are considering cosmetic surgery, wrinkled your eyebrows and asked, “Why?” You don’t see anything wrong with the part that your friend obsesses about. You’re right. There isn’t anything really wrong, it’s all in the friend’s head. Time for you to tell her how beautiful she is just as she is. You’ll probably talk until you’re blue and all she’ll do is sigh and tell you how her (absolutely perfect) breasts are too small, or her (perfectly fine) belly is too thick, or her (completely normal) nose is too wide. Everyone else can see that the issue is not in the part, but in the artificial perception about that part.

Poor Michael, despite all his talent and riches, he had serious self-esteem issues relating to his physical appearance. Look at the final Michael and the young man back in the Off the Wall days, for example. He was a much nicer looking young man before all those surgeries. (Here’s a visual guide to the sad slide).   Jackson chased an idea of beauty and his beauty ceased.  He became freakish.   In most situations, cosmetic plastic surgery is not about improving real defects, it’s about fixing self-image issues, and those issues remain after the nips and tucks.

On the TV show Plastic Makes Perfect (a rhinoplasty episode), I heard about a study which showed that while self-image definitely goes up immediately after a cosmetic surgery, within a year, there is no difference any more.    The self-image is back to what it was prior to the surgery.  What happens then? Does the person remember that boost she felt after the last surgery, and so goes for another one, hoping to find that sense satisfaction?  If studies show that the satisfaction is only temporary, we see why so many people end up addicted to plastic surgery and end up looking worse and worse. They’re searching for a feeling that isn’t about what’s in their mirror, it’s about what’s inside their head.  They’re obsessing about someone else’s image of beauty, instead of embracing their own.  They’re chasing after beauty and they can’t catch it, because real beauty isn’t physical.

Artificial breasts, new noses, and fat suction aren’t the way to improve your life. If you think it will be improved by artificial changes, then you have a lot of work to do with your local psycho-therapist. The problem is deeper than the surface thing you want to believe will make a difference.  It simply will not. Your dissatisfaction isn’t really about your nose or breasts; it’s about what you believe about yourself. You need to accept and embrace that you are worthy of admiration and love just as you are. If you think you need to fix some physical attribute, you’re losing yourself to meet someone else’s mold, instead of being the better thing: the real you.

Learn to love and celebrate that very part of you that bothers you. (Yes, there’s a reason I wear a jewel in my nose). Self-acceptance is found in knowing yourself, not by being trimmed to someone else’s image of you (even your own artificial image). Your unique beauty is better than anything that a doctor can craft for you, because your beauty isn’t about physical features, it’s all about your self-confidence. How you wear your weight, your nose, or your breasts is what reflects your sense of self. People respond to that confidence. Believe in your beauty and celebrate it as it is. Be a real you, not a fake Barbie version of someone vaguely like you. Even if people smile and say, “Wow, you look great!” You should know that behind your back they’re thinking, “Wow. How sad that she has so little self-esteem that she needed to do that. Poor thing.” Be someone that they can admire for your obvious confident sense of who you are. Your beauty will overtake the creases, and remain forever.


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