Plastic Surgery, Love and the Shadow

December 6, 2011

You are beautiful, exactly as you are. Photograph: ER Productions/© ER Productions/CORBIS

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.

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7 Responses to “Plastic Surgery, Love and the Shadow”

  1. Zia said

    REALLY GOOD TOPIC MICHELLE!

    You know when i was little the #1 thing I couldn’t wait for was for my boobs to grow. I thought a monthly period how dreadful, but boobs soooo cool! (lol you have to laugh) My mom had double D or bigger, my aunts on my dad’s side double d or bigger, and I couldn’t wait for the experience myself.

    I am someone who can honestly say, “I feel jipped, that the universe didn’t give me boobs, especially since huge knockers run in my family.” That being said, I think it’s completely genius that if I saved up enough money, I could buy myself a pair.

    Not because I want men to find me more attractive, (I already get plenty of male attention). Not because i feel I’m trying to fit any ideal of beauty, but because I really want the experience of having boobs. (and no my a+/b- cup boobs don’t count as “having boobs”)….

    I think you’re judgements about people who get implants are completely understandable. Honestly I look at some girls and know they get them because of insecurity…and I honestly believe that a lot of the things I do, stem from insecurity to beautify myself, but this would not be one decision that stemmed from that place.

    I want boobs, and someone invented a way to have them. How freakin awesome. Ha ha

    Ce La Vie

    • lunasealife said

      Hi love! I always meant to reply to this comment – what do you think the experience of having big boobs would give you? You must think it would improve your life/make you happier, otherwise you wouldn’t want it…

  2. @Zia – Yeah but doesn’t back pain also come with having big boobs? I love being able to go bra-less.

    My Mother and I were just talking about this. There are two very successful spiritual teachers who have had plastic surgery. I guess money and fame do not buy self worth. Apparently, regardless of class status,
    that forever remains an inside job.

    That Jung quote is great. I agree with you about self care. When I’m health conscious my skin quality is much better. Vanity is part of why I’m drug free (no joke).

    I wish this world would stop being so youth obsessed. Btw, that quote by Jung is fantastic!

  3. Wizzpizz said

    I just saw Barbara Ann Brennan on the net she is apparently very spiritual. Seeing auras and healing the energy field and looking like Michael Jackson. But he changed his looks with the power of his mind.

  4. Carleen said

    Yes, I feel the same way about spiritual leaders getting face-lifts etc. I totally respect people like Sean Corn who won’t even ware make-up when she’s getting interviewed, because it isn’t authentic. It’s hard to accept aging and all that comes with it, but accepting it makes us more fully human from my perspective and I look up to and trust people who are willing to be vulnerable and authentic, especially when they are leaders, rather than people who need to “keep up appearances”, act glossy or just plain not own shadow (or the less desireable parts of life). Aging is a natural part of human life, denying that is denying a huge part of our human process, and like so much of our superficial world, focusing on image rather than anything of substance.

    • lunasealife said

      Beautifully said Carleen! I love that Sean Corn doesn’t wear makeup because it isn’t authentic. That’s awesome.

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