Why I Got Breast Implants & Why I'm Getting Them Removed
“And now that you don’t have to be perfect, you can be good.”
This is a very wise line from the end of John Steinbeck’s East of Eden that has resonated with me for some time now. Although my take on it is just slightly different. I would say, “And now that you don’t have to be perfect, you can be real.”
Two years ago I made a decision that made me considerably less real, in the pursuit of perfection. Spoiler alert: perfection is a double-edged sword that simultaneously does and doesn’t exist. I’ll get to that later.
The decision that I made was to get breast implants. The decision that I’m making now is to get them removed. This is the story of my reasoning behind both of those decisions, and all of the lessons I learned in between. There may be people out there who are already judging me based on one or both of these choices, or for the photos that accompany this story. This blog post is not for them. This is for any girl or woman who has ever thought she needed to change something about herself to fit a certain ideal image. The first thing I will say to you ladies is this: you are so much more than just your body.
Now let’s get one thing clear, I didn’t just get implants in order to attain the perfect body. No, it went quite a bit deeper than that. I don’t take something as drastic as plastic surgery lightly, and neither should you. The first thing that most people say to me when they find out about this is, “Wow really? That doesn’t seem like you.” And to be honest, they’re right. It’s not me at all. So why did I do it? Well, at the time I had a handful of reasons that I now know weren’t the right ones for me, but at the time they were just convincing enough.
Reason #1: Femininity. I desperately wanted to feel more “feminine.” Growing up with an athletic figure didn’t lend itself to having a fuller chest in my case. Which for the most part I actually didn’t mind. But somewhere along the line, society made me believe that having curves in certain places is what makes you a woman. And that having a “womanly figure” is what makes you more attractive. As I got older and really started to transition more from young girl to young woman, I let this one body part dictate how feminine I felt. What I know now is that femininity is just that – it’s a feeling. A way of being. It’s not some objective qualification to check off a list in order to receive your womanhood card. It’s something that you can decide to embody at any time. Whether I have bigger or smaller boobs, I am still a woman. Whether I am lean and athletic, or softer and curvy, I am still a woman.
Reason #2: Fitness Competitions. As much as I cringe to admit it, fitness competitions were a big factor in my decision to get implants. After a year and a half of being in the bodybuilding world, I was led to believe that having implants would give me the coveted balanced figure that the judges were looking for. I take full responsibility in allowing my mind to be inundated with images of seemingly “perfect” bodies on a daily basis, without reminding myself of the drastic extremes most of these people went to in order to look that way. That’s thing about perfection in the fitness industry – it doesn’t exist. Competitors are never satisfied because they always believe there is someone better and they can always improve their bodies. I know now that not only is this mentality flawed, it’s potentially dangerous. To subject your body to major surgery just to win a plastic trophy is not something I would recommend to anyone out there who is considering it.
Reason #3: Depression. Part of me used this decision as a distraction from the depression and anxiety I was dealing with after a car accident I was in several years ago. I thought changing my body in this way would somehow make me happier (spoiler alert: it didn’t). The depression and anxiety were something that needed to be fully addressed on their own, and having a “perfect” body was never going to be the solution. When those issues finally started to heal, I realized that getting implants wasn’t the right decision for me, because I wasn’t quite myself when I made it. This was another reminder that you can’t ever seek happiness outside of yourself. All of the external things – the money, the job, the house, the clothes, the body – those things are never the source of joy, they simply enhance the feelings you already have.
Self-love. I believed that since I already had done so much work on learning to love myself, that this surgery would just enhance those feelings. I truly didn’t realize until after the fact how backwards that logic is. Self-love can mean a lot of things. It can mean loving yourself in spite of decisions you make that you later regret. It can mean making new decisions that are more in alignment with who you really are, or who you want to be. It can mean letting go of all judgments of yourself along the way. It can mean choosing to love your body no matter what it looks like. For me, self-love is all of this and more. And most importantly, it is learning to make decisions that reflect the highest amount of self-respect and authenticity.
Implants never really felt authentic for me. For a while it was fun to have this new shape, but eventually I got tired of not recognizing my body. I got tired of having foreign objects lodged in my chest. I really started to miss the smaller frame that I had grown up with and only now realized how much I love. I was finally ready to embrace my body as it was born to be.
So next week, when I go under the knife again, I can safely say it will be for the last time. And the scars will be my reminder of my courage to stand up for my belief in natural beauty and self-love.
This is by no means an attack on plastic surgery or anyone who chooses to get it. It is however a call to begin to question the messages you have been taking in. Begin to question the media that you take in, the influencers that you follow on social media, and the messages that you read on a daily basis that may be suggesting you are not good enough exactly as you are. Because the fact of the matter is, you are perfect. This is that double-edged sword that I mentioned. Perfection doesn’t exist as some ideal outside of yourself to be chased. It does however exist within you as the truth of who you already are.
So to any woman, or little girl, or any person at all who is reading this, here is what I hope you take away: you never have to change a single thing about your body to be the most perfect version of yourself. Take it from me, because I’ve now got the scars to prove it.
**Some disclaimers: This is quite possibly the most vulnerable thing I have ever posted. I am sharing this with you because there are women who’ve gone before me with implant removal and whose stories helped give me the courage to make this choice for myself. And now I hope to provide the same solace for other women reading this. I chose to post nude photos to go along with it because writing this story leaves me feeling just as naked and exposed, and they go with the themes of vulnerability, bravery and empowerment. Also – doing this shoot turned out to be incredibly empowering, so that was a fun bonus. Big shout out to my photographer, Jasper Johal (JasperPhoto.com) for these beautiful images.
So keeping in mind that posting this wasn’t easy for me, please keep the comments positive and empowering. And please feel free to ask any questions if you are going through a similar journey! Much love!
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