Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Lipo-SUCK-tion

Lately, I have been contemplating liposuction. I lost about 60lbs on my own, with nothing but diet and exercise as tools, and have kept it off for over five years. I'd like to lose at least 20lbs more, but I can't seem to without going to ridiculous lengths (like 800 calories a day and three or more hours at the gym every day...trust me, I have tried all the "normal," and, "healthy," ways to do this, but they don't seem to work; and no, I will not give into the "it's glandular" jive). I have yo-yo'd the same 10lbs on and off for about two years because I get tired of said ridiculous lengths necessary to succeed.

Yet, the second I utter the word, "lipo," a maelstrom of critics seeks to drown me with what they pretend are positive affirmations.

I am criticized for taking the easy way out (although it's actually really fucking hard to maintain my current weight, chunky though it may appear).
I am criticized for thinking that changing my body is a good thing.
I am criticized for not knowing the danger in which I'm directly placing myself.
I am criticized for not being confident enough (because that helps a gals' self worth).
I am criticized for caring too much about how others see me.
I am criticized for not having a good body image.
I am criticized for even having the idea since it "won't help," unless I do whatever everyone else wants me to do first.

Wait, I thought all that mattered was how *I* thought of myself? Apparently not.

Conversely, until the precise moment that word escapes my lips, I am criticized for my body. Most of my life I've been made fun of, judged, and rejected for my body by a number of attackers so high, I doubt I could even count to it. However, this four letter word seems to ignite and offend folks more than, "FUCK," could ever fantasize!

After the word escapes my lips (the number of attackers is the same, but the legion moves from people who are being knowingly hurtful to people pretending to be helpful), and after the criticism of my thoughts is received, another strange thing happens. A word that has seldom been used to describe me in any other situation becomes suddenly en vogue.

"Beautiful."

Oh, I'm "beautiful" now? I had no idea since no one bothered to let me know this until I verbalized the decision to take charge of my body and change it in a way that I see fit.

I wonder if it's akin to how people suddenly become kind, loving, generous, philanthropic, gentle souls the second they die, but were total assholes before that moment?

Actually, it's deeper than that. It seems a woman's self proclaimed image, be it positive or negative is wrong. Why? Once again, the culprit is society's longing to control the female mind. A woman is not allowed to claim herself to be anything without society's permission and approval.

If you call yourself, "A fatass," people tell you the many ways in which you are wrong, even if you are morbidly obese. You are told you, "just need to learn to love herself (an idea that is never noted for its utter absurdity)," and that you, "just shouldn't say that." Of course, they always wait for you to label youself, even though they've all labeled you the same thing the second you turn your orange-peeled ass to them.

On a side note, telling people NOT to state how they feel or that what they feel is wrong: WORST IDEA EVER. First of all, shutting them up doesn't make them feel better; it will just make them either think they're crazy or think that you think they're crazy. They'll still think what they think, but they just won't tell you about it. AND, since they feel they can't trust you with their true thoughts because you're directly telling them they're wrong and crazy and that you don't want to hear it, they'll tell you less and less until they just plain don't speak to you anymore. Plus, I can tell you from firsthand experience that feeling shitty is bad enough without being made to feel shitty about feeling shitty. That's a bunch of dead, decaying, double Dutch fudgy dumplings that even Paula Deen couldn't make delectable.

Conversely, if a woman calls herself, "A smokin'-hot, fiery goddess with dangerous curves," people can't wait to knock her off her self-appointed pedestal, lest she get the idea that her body is worthy of her or anyone else's love...at least not without Hugh Hefner's personal approval.

Still worse, when you wait for someone to criticize herself before offering praise, you're showing just how little affection, attention, positive affirmation, and love you've shown her in the past. You had to be prompted to say something positive, and even then it appears to be solely out of guilt; you never bothered to do it of your own volition.

It reminds me of an article by one of my favorite bloggers/columnists, Yashar Ali, when he explains that it might not always be a good idea to compliment someone on her weightloss. When you rush to tell a woman how "beautiful" she is naturally ONLY when she explains her desire to change her looks, you're sending the message that you never really noticed, valued, or cared about her until you had the opportunity to control her mind in some way.

Sadly, if you're the one looking to change, just like in Yashar's article, the inevitable will happen if you do go through with the surgery. People who never told you that you mattered in any way will suddenly notice you and care about you, making you realize how unimportant you were before you were a part of the Cookie Cutter Commission.

By the way, look out for folks who think they're clever and try retroactively absolve themselves of being shitty friends by saying things like, "Well...I always thought you were gorgeous, even before you lost weight." Funny how they never mentioned it when you were a fatass. Somehow you're not supposed to notice that, or even if you do, all debts are supposed to be suddenly forgiven.

Worse, because you know everyone wants you to do things THEIR way, you'll feel obligated to lie about how you lost weight; or perhaps you'll admit the truth, but will feel awkward and embarrassed because, again, you aren't allowed to decide how to feel about your body or how you choose to change it.

When dealing with critics, only three words really come to mind, "How dare you?"

How dare you tell a woman how she should feel about herself?
How dare you try to humiliate her into agreeing with you?
How dare you discourage her from making a decision that she believes is best for herself?
How dare you say one thing when she's in front of you, and something completely different when she's not?
How dare you wait for her self criticism before expressing concern for her?
How dare you criticize her for her self criticism?
How dare you feign interest in her only long enough to berate her choice?

You don't get to control other people's minds and it's despicable that you try...and yes, there is a big difference between presenting another side of an argument and refusing to accept another opinion.

No, what I'm about to say is not a popular perspective, but the one thing on this earth that you truly own is your body. You might think you own a house or a car or some other investment. You don't. If you don't think Uncle Sam can take all of what you think you own away with twitch of his noses if he wants to, you're just plain naive. Since your body is the only thing that's really yours, do whatever you want with it. Tattoo it, pierce it, drug it, poison it, alter it, suck fat out of it, shoot botulism into it, take it to the gym, take it to McDonald's for $2 McRib Tuesdays. If that is what you really want, do it. What happens to it is the only real choice you have in life. I would PREFER if you did healthy things with it (well, if I like you and want you to be around for a while), but I don't get to decide that for you.

If you genuinely want cosmetic surgery (not because you're being bullied into it, and, yes, there is a difference) and you can afford it, get it. Life is too short to hate your body, right? Of course, society makes damn sure that if you don't fit into that incredibly particular handful of cookie cutter images you WILL hate your body (apparently, not only does society get to choose the cookie cutters, but also the precise method acceptable for making the dough). Do whatever it is you want if you think it will make you happy. It might not work. There are no guarantees in life, but who said dieting and exercising your way slim will have any better effect?

If anyone tries to control your mind (and that IS what they're doing) with the argument that you should, "be happy with what you have naturally," remind them that we are all guilty of constantly attempting to alter people's perceptions of us by doing things that are completely unnatural...makeup, clothes, shoes, hair styles, cologne, bras, jewelry, accessories, piercings, tattoos, private toilets, showers, deodorant, breath mints, Beano, medication, books, home decor, funny photo booths, shopping malls, school, jobs....just about everything "normal" that humans do save eating, sleeping, fucking, and shitting is not "natural" and is an attempt to make us look more interesting and attractive than we are as dictated by our DNA.

Who the hell is anybody to decide where the line is drawn? A woman can have a spray tan, dyed hair, weave, fake nails, fake eyelashes, colored contact lenses, makeup on, Spanx under her clothes, high heels, and that's all acceptable, but if she gets liposuction, then we just might have to lose respect for her because she's "fake," and, "should have had a better body image?"

Fuck that shit. Pin It

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