“If you live in Los Angeles, California, you would know how difficult it is sometimes to be a woman down here. The plastic surgery culture is loud and clear. You’ll have to squint your eyes to find a woman without a full face of glam makeup at 6:00 a.m., a face without lip fillers, eyebrow lifts, botox. Add in the feed of perfect Barbies on social media to your daily routine. It’s nauseating.
(Not to shame those who do choose to get surgery. We are all just trying our best.)
Growing up, I was fairly comfortable with my looks. I couldn’t call myself ugly, but I never considered myself pretty either. I was just average, nothing to see. Mediocre. I think it was around middle school where I became hyperaware of my body image. Suddenly, girls had boobs and I didn’t. Girls had long legs and I didn’t. Clear skin and, you guessed it, I didn’t. Boys liked certain things, others not. Girls flaunted things I didn’t have. I just couldn’t compare. Suddenly, my image, something I never thought too much about, was the pinnacle of my worth. Everyone decided it best to point out my flaws:
‘Your eyes are too big.’
‘Why do you have teenager bumps on your forehand?’
‘Doesn’t it hurt sitting on such a flat ass? You have NO cushion!’
I’d carry comments like this, and the dozens of others, with me until adolescence and beyond. Unfortunately, low self-esteem is not an easy thing to conquer.
When I met my husband-to-be, though I didn’t know it at the time, he always called me things like ‘beautiful’ and ‘pretty.’ Things moved pretty quickly between us and within a year of dating we moved out to LA to start our life together. I was aware of his consumption of porn and how he idolized women like Kylie Jenner and Kim Kardashian for their beauty, but I never let it bother me. It was just mindless adoration.
Until the comments started.
‘Babe, do you think you would ever get surgery?’
‘Your face would look so cute if your lips were a little more plump. See, like hers.’
I laughed, nervously. At first, I thought he was joking. Until he stared at me in silence, watching my every gesture and awaiting a response. Months would go by and the subject would never come up again. But then, somehow, he would circle back to comments like these. At one point, this man had me contemplating breast implants. He knew it was something I had already considered in the past on and off again and I believe he was using it to his advantage. Then, again, the subject died down. I told him I absolutely DID NOT want them and that was my final choice.
We got married, changed apartments, talked about our biggest fears, traumas, and our future goals. He was the perfect guy, or so it seemed. Then my 27th birthday happened. He took me into the storage closet of our tiny LA apartment. ‘Surprise!’ he said. He pulled out a white envelope, the words ‘I love you!’ etched in ink across the top. I was surprised, and really didn’t know what it could be, other than a cute card. ‘Open it,’ he said, gesturing towards the envelope. So, I did. Inside I found cold, hard cash. Literally hundreds of dollars.
‘I saved it. For your new boobs!’ I literally felt rage take over my body. He looked at me, puzzled. ‘What? You’re really not going to get breast implants for me? After all I’ve done for you?!’ And just like that, my marriage was dead. Done. Those few words were all it took.
Of course it didn’t happen immediately. But that was the moment I decided I didn’t want to be with a man who pressured me to change my image for him. I love and care about myself too much to do that. Funny thing is that on the way out of our apartment after my last goodbye, his choice of words were REALLY telling:
‘Come back. You could just get lip fillers instead!’ I literally laughed, rolled my suitcase to the LA International Airport, cried to my mom, got over it, and am now thriving. With ‘small’ boobs, might I add.
Ladies, never surgically alter your appearance for a man’s affection. You’re beautiful the way you are!!! And if you do choose to get surgery, that is okay too. Just make sure that it’s YOUR decision.”
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