YES, GOOD ENOUGH.
I am in the wrong business, I thought as I sat in the plastic surgeon’s office waiting for my appointment. People- women, actually, ALL women, waiting, coming in, going out, being called in for some appointment to sculpt, inject, shape, change, consult, buff, and whatever else is offered at this very busy place as I waited for my second check up since my last and hopefully final surgery. Were they all here for the same thing I was? Doubtful. I tried to surmise why each of the ten women who happened to be there around the 10:40 am time slot would be there. Frankly I have no idea. But what I do know is that there was no way the majority was there for the same reason I was. First off, the wonderful consultant my Dr. has employed to walk through the details of the reconstruction part of the mastectomy surgery was on vacation. There were signs everywhere for the multiple services, hydra this, injection of this, smoothing of this, freezing of that, sculpting, prodding, poking all for that fountain of youth.
The irony does not go unnoticed. I fully understand that I too make my living in the beauty business, but my methods and messaging has always come from the place that we are all good enough. This busy enclave of an office with a handsome male doctor at the helm and female nurses and assistants by his side changes the message. It says, you are not good enough as you are, your aging face is not good enough, your sagging breasts and fat deposited hips and protruding abdomen could be better, younger, firmer, tighter, and therefore happier. This has never been my message. I like to think that I have messaged the notion that we can bring out the better, but only if you feel good already. I don’t capitalize on a weak spot or inject an idea that the expectation about aging should be anything less than what it is –normal. We get old. We get lines and wrinkles. We get puffy and loose. Our decisions in our youth have made themselves known in our fifties and sixties and seventies. They will continue to make themselves known and we can make corrections in how we eat and move, but ultimately there is a part of us that is supposed to gain self acceptance as we age. That is the glory of aging, the self acceptance and self love of ourselves when we look in the mirror.
I know it is easy for me to say this, I have a rocking new upper rack that is a force to be reckoned with, I have freshly liposuctioned hips that (maybe) will be kick ass someday (frankly they are a bruised bumpy mess right now and it is hard to imagine smooth prettiness ever again) all because of that pesky and annoying we caught it early twice double dose of breast cancer. Lumps, bumps, uneven nipples and bizarre sensations in my entire upper body affirm that all of the plastic body improving surgery we women partake in whether voluntary or involuntary is no match for the natural aging process. If I could do it all over again and not have the diagnosis, I would love my body more than I do now, surely. We age. We sag. We have earned the right to be easy on ourselves and pass the torch to all of the young women who take our place. We cannot be that again. Potions and lotions can brighten and gleam and this is enough. The knife, the suction tools and contraptions, the needles are no match for Nature’s pull. Often downward.
We women forget our unique power.
We are the carriers of life. We are the warriors of love and family. Our intuitive place on the planet is power. We are not prone to war, but we are warriors, we get to think and strategize with the essence of peace as our backdrop. It is our nature and yet we sit in these offices thinking that we are not good enough to move through our world in the shape we are in. We tend to bumps and bruises in our children, we care for our aging parents, we are roll up our sleeves and get shit done entrepreneurs. We handle life coming at us with a ready for battle stance without the need for weapons, but with the innate force that we can handle just about anything. Why do we weaken when we look at ourselves in the mirror and feel like we should be younger looking when we know we are filled with immense wisdom and power? This astounds me as I sat in the office looking at these women who feel weak in their beauty. How is this possible? How did we get here? What examples are we setting for our sons as they watch our insecurities unfold every time they watch us watch ourselves. What examples are we setting for the next in line aging women? Our daughters and granddaughters? Maybe none of this is our responsibility; maybe they are supposed to figure the aging process out in their own time like we are. I know that when I am looking at myself in the mirror and there is one more hair sprouting from some place other than my eyelashes, brows or head, or another brown spot shows seemingly overnight, I am good enough. I know when I look at a picture of myself and see how much my hair has whitened since the last picture I saw of myself or there are lines around my eyes and I am not even smiling, I am good enough. Perfection is bullshit and unattainable. That perfect body goal went out the door when I had my first lumpectomy and my upper shape was left disfigured and highly sensitized. In many ways, it was liberating. The mastectomy and reconstruction was like taking the cape off and giving myself a break from the unattainable hope that one more workout or one less brownie would give me the satisfaction I was looking for at the image staring back at me. What satisfies me these days is the leniency I have bestowed upon myself by replacing my rigid rules about food and living with a less Type A mentality. Clearly I am a work in progress and this is good enough. October is Breast cancer Awareness Month so I am running for the hills because this pink everywhere makes me want to puke. I don’t need awareness and I surely don’t need one more pink ribbon thrown at me every corner I turn. I am highly aware every time I look at my naked reflection.
I just read an article by Joel Kahn (https://journal.thriveglobal.com/breast-cancer-prevention-month-green-not-pink-b1d05f0c4cfb) called Breast Cancer Prevention Month: Green not Pink. The best article I have read thus far on the point of pink ribbons. Let’s make them green ribbons instead. Let’s change the language to Breast Cancer Prevention Month instead of Breast Cancer Awareness. Let’s talk prevention, let’s talk nutrition for a damn change when we are going for our yearly mammograms. There is science behind prevention these days even for genetic mutations. My breast doctor who is completely evolved was the only person who talked nutrition with me at my first post negative mammogram consult. Eating crap, drinking too much and not exercising is a trifecta for breast cancer, but this question is NEVER and I MEAN NEVER asked at a mammogram consult. It is shameful. Until these things change, I want no part of the pink bullshit that has become part of our consumerism life like the Apple logo. I hope that the women I get to witness every day and the women I cross paths with at the Plastic surgeon’s office know how good enough they are before they get an unfortunate diagnosis. Lumpectomies and radiation and mastectomies and reconstruction and liposuction all suck. I talk lightly about the “fun” part of all of this because what choice do I have but to look at this situation for what it is- I am alive and I am good enough.