Have you ever felt like a fraud in what you do for a living?
I do. Right now.
Three days ago I had surgery to remove my breast implants that I got when I was 22 years old. I made this decision because I believe they were causing various health problems I’ve been experiencing, and autoimmune issues I’ve been having in the past few years.
Leading up to the surgery I had nothing but positive thoughts. I knew that this was what needed to be done to regain my health. I had visions of how I would feel better, look better, and be completely confident after my surgery… I boasted about how much I’ve changed since the young age of 22, and how now I was so comfortable in my skin, and I loved myself so much, I would never consider getting them in the first place if I were presented with the option today.
I was wrong. So naively wrong.
No, I’m not considering getting implants again… I do 100% believe that they are the root cause for my health problems, but I am not the happy, confident “I don’t give a fuck about how I look… I love myself no matter what” person that I thought I was just four days ago.
I am struggling. Big time.
I don’t know that I’ve had this type of body image issues before. I don’t look how I expected to look. To be honest, I probably don’t look that bad… I probably look like a normal 41 year old with saggy boobs…. saggy boobs with scars… but, for me… this is not my normal.
Body image is such a personal topic. We all try to console each other because we don’t see other’s “flaws” the way that they see themselves. To us, we probably don’t even notice, or if we do, it’s not as big of deal as our own perceived “flaws”. We look at others and think “Oh, you think THAT’S bad… Look at THIS.” When we say these things to each other we minimize the feelings of the other person… No, it may not seem like a big deal to us, but to them… it is.
This is what I’m experiencing right now. I’ve shown a few close friends what I look like now, the doctor and nurse have seen me, and all tell me I look good… I look normal. But, to me… It’s not normal.
I am terrified to ever be intimate with a man again. I’ve never felt that way before in my life. Never. I’m dreading going to work on Monday for fear people will be extra observant of the size of my chest because of my announcement that I had my implants removed. I’m afraid I’ll get a sick feeling in my stomach anytime I look in the mirror for the rest of my life.
None of these fears and emotions are normal to me.
I genuinely believed with every fiber of my being that I truly loved myself enough that what I looked like on the outside had no value in my life… but, that’s not true.
For someone who preaches “Your value is not determined by how you look on the outside… Your value is within – who YOU are”… I feel like a fraud.
On top of feeling the emotions I have about how I look now, I’ve been beating myself up all day for having these thoughts in the first place… I “should” be above this.
But, just like I tell my clients, I need to stop.
I may not be able to control how I feel about how I look right at this moment, but I can control the mental beating I’ve been giving myself for being human.
It’s okay for me to not love how I look right now. I just had freaking surgery three days ago! I still have drains protruding from my chest wall. I’m wrapped up like a mummy in an Ace wrap to keep pressure on everything. Today was the first day I could take a full shower and wash my hair. I drove 6 hours round-trip by myself for my follow-up appointment.
That’s pretty fucking amazing.
I may not love how I look at the moment, but I love how strong and independent I am. I may not love how I look at the moment, but I love myself enough to know that I did the right thing by having them removed. I may not love how I look right now, but I love myself enough to care for myself by eating healthy food, asking for help when I do need it, and for being brave enough to confide these thoughts, emotions, and fears to others… being vulnerable about my insecurities, especially when I’m supposed to be a role model for self love, self care, health, etc. is TREMENDOUS growth on my part. The 22 year old girl who got those implants had so many walls of perfectionism up, SHE didn’t know what was real or fake anymore.
No, I am not the same person I was 18 years ago. No, I am not a fraud for feeling the way I feel right now…
Yes, I may have gone into this with some naivety, but that doesn’t make me fake or a fraud by any means. I only knew what I knew at the time, and I made a decision based on that knowledge. Now I know more, because I’m experiencing it… not just assuming I know how I’ll feel.
None of this makes me a fraud.
This makes me human.
This experience will ultimately help me to understand when my clients express these thoughts, emotions, and fears themselves… I know that. Someday I will be grateful for this experience, because like all difficult experiences I’ve had in my life… this will force me to grow. I will eventually overcome these thoughts, emotions, and fears… and I will be content with myself again.
But, man, it’s a bitch to go through right now.