I, Hypocrite

Can we please talk about inclusive body positivity when someone has had plastic surgery?

Someone very close to me had a surgery many years ago. I didn’t agree with it, I still don’t and they know this. I’ve called myself body positive but I realized how hypocritical I am when I say that after realizing that I’ve been berating and bashing them for this choice they made about their own body for almost a decade now.

I am of the camp that one should love themselves as themselves because that’s the body you were born into and why should you change it just be happy with it. It’s a false position to be in given that, should the opportunity present itself, I would very happily become a cyborg (think Maj. Kisaragi Makoto from GitS, folks, not a robot).

It’s really strange to me how I could claim for so long to believe in other people’s right to dress how they want, color their hair (or not), break free from the mainstream (or not) and that that was their business and theirs alone, yet I’m over here policing someone else’s right to feel good about themselves in their own skin using a body mod I don’t particularly agree with.

And that’s what it all boils down to. Plastic surgery is body modification at its most simple, accepted form. I’m usually really great at making bridges between seemingly incompatible ideas, but that has somehow eluded me all this time until today.

I will admit fully that the credit for this epiphany goes to this video by the lovely YouTuber by the name of Peach MilkyTea who makes rather mellow beauty and style vlogs. Some people may look down on these because they’re about things like fashion and makeup, but I find them incredibly enjoyable not just because I care about that sort of thing, but because her positivity has really shone through in most of what she’s done. Her candid discussion of what is considered a taboo–admitting that one has had surgery at all–allowed me the opportunity to have this epiphany and for that I shall be eternally grateful to her. Maybe the above mentioned loved one will too…

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Battle armor

It is nigh impossible to demonstrate to someone how much you have changed when they are bent on seeing you for what you were years—no, that’s the wrong word—decades prior. So you shed that skin, like you do daily and unconsciously in a biological fashion, but with intention, with grace, and in silence. You mourn that little death quietly to yourself and only those who know you most intimately will catch glimpses in your eyes of what was once there being lost. A sliver of innocence stripped from you. Youth slipping away permanently.

You become harder, less forgiving, less pliant…but only just so. You learn to fake it. You play the cynical game everyone else is involved in out of necessity. But inside? Deep inside you’re still mourning. You’re still crying. You’re still pining endlessly and silently. You feel too deeply to do otherwise. You can’t be anything but a mass of emotions presenting itself in perceived, misunderstood aggression.

So you cope. You laugh at jokes you don’t think are funny. You smile at people you’d rather tell to go to hell. You pretend it’s all fine. And you garb yourself in black because it’s the only way to show it without saying a damn thing.

…and each day you do it all over again. No one else any the wiser.

You cope. And you sigh, because in the end unburdening yourself to them just makes it hurt that much more.

And you cope…

—A. B-H