Plastic Surgery, Love and the Shadow
December 6, 2011
Today I tweeted:
It REALLY bothers me when spiritual teachers have had a lot of plastic surgery. Shadow check: my own unaccepted vanity and insecurity.
I’ve been reading a lot of Jung’s writing about the Shadow lately. Ie: “Whatever is wrong in the world is in yourself, and if you only learn to deal with your own shadow you have done something real for the world.”
As I started pondering how much plastic surgery bothers me and feeling into it, my eyes filled with tears. I felt the pain and fear of people aging and feeling like they needed to have SURGERY, to be CUT with KNIVES and stuck with NEEDLES to look younger and more attractive. For what? Because they think people will love them more. How tragic is that? Can you feel the fear of loss, of rejection, of loneliness that drives people to have plastic surgery? The sad belief that causes them to choose to perpetuate violence on themselves, and PAY for it, because they think if they have a few wrinkles, people will love them less, or not love them at all? I can feel those fears and that pain, because I have them too, though I have never acted on them. I too have that pain and fear of aging, the fear of not being enough, of not being loved.
I have always harshly judged women who’ve gotten breast implants, and both men and women who have gone under the knife to adjust their faces and bodies to fit the mold we are sold in advertisements and television and film. But then, part of me has never completely accepted my own nose. Part of me has always wanted to scrape a bit of it away so that I would be more “traditionally” beautiful. As I age, I see my eyelids begin to get crepey and droopy; I see lines etching into my forehead and lips.* I see my skin changing. I realize that I’m only 32, and though I hope to never get plastic surgery, who knows how I’ll feel when I’m 50? I hope to never be tempted to inject botulism into my face, millimeters from my brain, but how can I be sure of the decisions I’ll make in 20 years?
And then I look at the people I love. I think they’re beautiful, every one of them. I don’t care if they have lines around their mouths. I don’t care if they have acne scars. I don’t care if their teeth aren’t blindingly white. I don’t care if they have grey hairs. I could give a fuck about any of those things. There is nothing any of those people could do to their bodies that would make me love them a fraction more than I do.
I wish that everyone who’s ever gotten plastic surgery would realize that they’re loved, and are worthy of love, regardless of their physical appearance. And I wish that for myself too.
*Through experimentation, I’ve found that when I’m doing things that make my body happy, my skin looks noticeably happier. Things that do not make my body happy and make lines/wrinkles much more visible: eating sugar and acidic foods, smoking, drinking and stress.