Authenticity and Integrity have always been a heart centered way for me to walk my walk in truth. Today I am throwing in some vulnerability in an up close real way. Life is messy sometimes and I am bearing a piece of my soul and life that has gotten messy.
This morning I had surgery to have an explant of my breast implants.
5 1/2 years ago, before I was working as a massage therapist and before I became a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner and a Holistic Health Coach, I got breast implants.
I got implants because I was feeling that to fit into the culture of beauty around me, my own breasts that had fed my children for so many years, were less than. They didn’t measure up to the world’s view of beauty and therefore I didn’t measure up to the worlds view of beauty in my own mind. I felt that If I had better breasts, I would love myself more, value myself more, and finally stop the critical mean girl in my mind. And guess what? That mean girl didn’t go away. She stayed despite having “better boobs” and she found other things to criticize and be dissatisfied within her. I had beautiful breasts but didn’t feel the way I thought I would. Isn’t that sometimes the case in life. We get something we want, only to find that the thing we wanted wasn’t fulfilling at all. It made me take a good hard look at the “elephant in the room” that many women see and feel but don’t talk about. This body hate that is perpetuated by the media and ourselves to be what the world says is beautiful. This outside view of beauty that I grew up with that says to be physically beautiful is to be valued. Beauty that is based on a body that is skinny, toned, firm, flat abs and the “right” number on the scale or jeans size. Crazy right! But true. I began to notice the mean girl showing up more and more in my mind. I clearly remember my husband saying to me one night “I am so sorry that your mind is so hard on itself!” And he was right. The transformation to LOVE my body and myself would NEVER come from changing the outside. It would only happen by changing my thoughts, and having compassion for the mean girl who wanted to be valued, loved and accepted as a beautiful woman.
And so I began my own personal growth journey, to love the skin I am in.
No matter what my belly looks like, or the stretch marks from having birthed 3 amazing children, or the extra weight that creeped up over the years, or the lines around my eyes, or the silver in my hair or the double chin. What I REALLY wanted wasn’t “better boobs, or a better body,” What I wanted was to fully and truly love me; the whole amazing, messy, striving me.
I went back to school to study nutritional therapy as a way to learn how food affects our emotions and our minds as well as our bodies, and transformational health coaching as a way to uncover the belief systems we hold that creates our view of the world. A way to not only heal myself and uncover the belief systems that said I was “less than and needed to be more,” but to help inspire and empower other women to heal themselves too. To help us all see our value in terms of health in our body, minds, emotions and spirits. An inner power and value based on who we are, as we are, in ALL of our messiness. I learned first hand that measuring up physically to the worlds idea of beauty, does NOT create a healthy mind or healthy emotions or a joyful spirit. It actually fueled my inner mean girl.
Then the irony and serendipity of life occurred. Just when I had these “better boobs” paid off, I found out that I needed to get them removed. My body did NOT want them. The body is amazing at healing itself, and it decided that these implants needed to be walled off and encapsulated. Stage 3 encapsulation is what they call it. I did have the option of having them replaced, but decided against it for several reasons. First, I was having problems in other areas of my body that I didn’t even know could be attributed to breast implants. My eyesight had started getting much worse; I started having a hard time remembering conversations; my muscles began to hurt and began causing lack of mobility in my shoulders, so much so that it was affecting my workouts and my job as a massage therapist. I need my shoulders and mobility. In looking back over the timeline, all of this dysfunction started to happen AFTER I had the implants put in. A friend of mine here in Charlotte, had gone through her own issues with her implants and recommended that I do some research into breast implant sickness. In doing that research I was shocked to see a familiarity in many of my symptoms. Breast Implant sickness is a real thing and I never knew.
But more importantly, I decided against replacing my implants because I am in a different place in my own mind and journey of loving myself and loving the skin I am in. ALL OF ME. Soft saggy boobs, mama belly and all. I have the opportunity to really walk my walk. To be real and authentic and stand in my truth to accept and heal those parts that I rejected earlier in life.
This is my $10,000 lesson. $7,000 to get implants put in, and $3,000 to get them taken out. A $10,000 transformation in body and mind.
I am grateful for this gift that God has woven into my life, to look at myself with compassion and to lean into love. To become empowered and radiant in the knowledge that I am loved and valued. To take my discovery and healing and use it as a way to encourage and inspire other women who struggle right along with me with this culture of needing to be too thin, but never quite good enough. This mentality is the “elephant in the room.” We feel it and strive to overcome it, but rarely admit it.
I am a healer. Of myself and others in redefining our relationship with our bodies. The mentality that keeps us hating our bodies needs to change. The “diet” mentality that keeps women striving to be thinner to find their value is a billion dollar industry and feeds off our insecurities. It’s an illusion and I know it well. I have lived in it for too many years.
My purpose and passion has always been one of nourishing others. Whether that comes in the form of education in eating real whole foods so that we can live healthy energetic lives, or cooking classes to put the power of what we put into our bodies back into our own hands, through stress management, self care, massage therapy, or helping woman live from a sense of fullness rather than depletion in our “too fast, keep going” world. This personal challenge of mine is fuel for that purpose. To encourage women from a place of knowing what it feels like when the mean girl voice shows up. And to choose a different voice to listen to.
Today begins my first day of healing in my body, but healing will continue in my mind, my emotions, my spirit and draw me closer to loving myself more fully each day. I know many women are thinking some of the same things, but are afraid to say them out loud. It needs to be said. To be spoken. Because in owning our stories, our trials, our gifts, we become transformed and the process allows transformation to create a ripple to effect others. I hope to be one of those ripples.