"She remembered who she was and the game changed."
I posted that quote recently, and it has been feeling more true lately than ever.
I am officially five months post-explant surgery. And I am still so incredibly happy with my decision, if not even more so than before. It's hard to even begin to describe what this transformation has been like for me, but I am going to try. After the initial healing process I began to strengthen and stretch my body again, and it has been feeling really good lately. It is truly incredible how many different levels I have seen this transformation take place on. From developing an incredibly deeper level of self-love and acceptance, to developing deeper backbends (the pose in the photo above wasn't accessible to me with the implants in because the muscles around my chest were too tight...so that's a fun change!). The impact of the implants didn’t subside overnight though. It has taken time for the effects, both physical and energetic/emotional, to leave my body.
Now that they’re gone, I honestly can’t quite believe I ever got them in the first place. As someone who is incredibly conscious of what I put in my body, of the products I put on my body, and even the quality of all the products I use in my home, I’m surprised I let appearance take priority over my health. But that goes to show how immense the power of society’s pressure on us to look a certain way, and our own insecurities with our body image are. They’re crushing at times. So much so that I forgot who I was.
I’m grateful that I was able to see that the decision to get implants wasn’t truly something I wanted, and that I had the courage and the ability to get them removed. There’s part of me that wants to acknowledge that I of course do not judge anyone who makes the decision to get/keep implants. But another part of me also desperately wants those women to know that they don’t need to. They don’t need to have surgery to change their uniquely precious body. You only get one in this lifetime, and learning to embrace and love it feels so much better than slicing and altering it. That their perceived flaws are precisely what so many people would find beautiful about them. That they’re not alone in how they feel. But that it will get better if they make a conscious decision to rebel against what society says and choose to love themselves unconditionally.
After competing in fitness competitions for two years and working in the health and wellness industry for what feels like a lifetime, I have posted my fair share of “Before & After’s”. This one is without a doubt my favorite. Because this one isn’t what you’d expect. This one isn’t focused on how much weight I lost or muscle I gained, or how I conformed to society’s standards for how a woman should look. This is the opposite of that. This before and after tells the story of how I chose to create my own standards for beauty and self-love. The “before” shows me before I truly realized that I was enough exactly as I was in my God-given body. The “after” represents everything I gained by reclaiming that innocent and perfectly imperfect version of myself, and realizing that I am so much more than just my body.
When I look at these photos side by side, I don't just see the physical changes. Yes, my breasts are smaller. Yes, the shape of my body has actually changed as I've gained strength since my surgery. And yes, I even have more mobility and openness now than I did with the implants in. But beyond all of that, what I see is the transformation that happened internally. In the second photo, the sense of peace and self-acceptance that I am basking in is almost palpable to me now. In that photo I am lighter. I am free. That is the real transformation. I remembered who I was, and the game changed.
Honestly, when I look at pictures now of myself with the implants in and I think back on those two years, I really can’t recognize that girl. I am able to tap back into the emotional struggles I was going through at the time and reconcile why I made that decision, but if I had the chance to do it again, I wouldn’t. I am so grateful for the lessons I learned and the incredible level of empowerment and self-love I gained from this journey. But it definitely wasn’t the easy way to learn those lessons.
The beautiful thing for me is that the love that I have for my body now is something that supersedes how it looks, and that is something I wouldn’t trade for the world. I still come across many people who cannot fathom the thought of not wanting to change their body. I speak to these people with so much compassion, because I was once where they are. So many people have a fear of accepting their body how it is, of learning to be okay with everything about themselves and not needing to change. We think we need to make excuses for why we look the way we do, just so that other people know we are aware of our own “inadequacies” and that we’re attempting to do something about them. As if accepting them would be some kind of crime against humanity. We are constantly apologizing and making excuses for our body, and quite frankly, it’s getting old. Seriously…you were born to be so much more than the size of your thighs or tightness of your waist. You were born to be GREAT and to share your gifts with the world. So stop hiding your one precious and beautiful soul behind the assertion that the body it came in isn’t good enough.
Your ego might currently be protesting to the above statement: “But I have to lose this weight! It’s not healthy!” “I need bigger boobs in order to feel womanly and attract a partner!” “If I accept my body the way it is then it will never change!” And to your ego I say, kindly, go away. Your input is not needed here anymore. If you learn to treat your body with love and respect, I promise you it will settle into a healthy and beautiful state of radiant balance.
So next time you are about to go on a diet or insane cleanse, or get some botox, or even go under the knife for plastic surgery, all I ask is that you stop for a moment. Take a breath and ask yourself where the motivation for doing this is truly coming from. Get uncomfortably real with yourself for a minute, and see if you can choose the more loving path, whatever that may be for you.
As for me, I stand here five months post-explant surgery, happier and more ME than ever before. And so excited to continue to honor what is authentic for me and my body now that I don’t have to compare it to every other body I see. I wish that same freedom for each and every one of you.
With so much love,