I am going for my pre-op appt today. I’m having a tummy tuck done. It’s weird because I’m the type of person who doesn’t keep secrets and doesn’t hide anything. If I don’t tell you something, its because the subject just hasn’t come up yet. (therefore there’s a standing offer in perpetuity to AMA)
But I’ve been reticent to talk about this thing that is going to happen. Not because I’m scared (I am) but because, much like getting on disability, I feel an enormous guilt and shame about doing this. I feel I must justify this decision. Now the really weird part is that I struggled to even make this blog post today. Why? Because in explaining why I feel shy about discussing it, I’m afraid it comes off as defensive as well. I promised myself a long time ago I would never be defensive about a decision I make. I can explain my mindset, lay out my arguments that i had leading up to my choice or recognize that I made a mistake. Being defensive to me always seemed counter to the whole attitude of “I keep no secrets because I am not ashamed”
Lemme tell you, living your life without any shame at all is actually really hard.
I’m not sure if its social pressure to conform that creates this pervasive feeling of “I must have validation for everything I do” or if its some kind of evolutionary thing or if its just ME.
Yes, I know I set ridiculously high standards for myself. That’s me and I’m okay with that. I do my best not to beat myself up for being human but my friends know that a little mea culpa is important to my personal well-being. If I don’t recognize some error I have made at least once a month then I’m getting too stagnant with my life.
In any case, trying to be true to my vow of “no lies, no secrets” hasn’t been easy but that’s okay too. What bothers me is this surprising shame I feel about this one issue. I know I’ve made choices that net me social disapproval and I may not like that but I take my lumps and move on. This surgery, however, is something I can really be “okay” with in a social sense. I know after I get it done and I heal I’ll probably be so pleased that I’ll run around showing it off and telling somewhat grotesque medical stories that make my loved ones wish I wasn’t quite so non-secretive about everything. I am told it is an endearing quality most of the time.
When I was going through the hell that was the disability trials (I will most likely write that all out at some point in the near future) I felt shame and guilt sometimes depending upon who I was talking with but I was continually surprised at how often people were more than just supportive of what I was doing they were enthusiastic. More than one loved one told me “I don’t know why you waited so long to apply” So that ended up being a situation that strengthened my commitment to truth and transparency. For the rest of my life I have one story about how people can surprise you with their validation so it is always worth it to try. Many a LGBTQ person can attest to that. Yes we have people who turn us away and family who cast us out but in the end, the support is out there somewhere and we’re always surprised. The point is that its better to be yourself and find out who is okay with you than to go around lying through life just to please everyone else. That whole “please everyone else” thing never ends well. Trust me, I know.
So today is the beginning of this awkward journey. I hadn’t expected such a “small” intensely personal decision would test my values so much but there you are; lessons come from the oddest places.
So that is also why I am not going to explain whatsoever why I am getting plastic surgery. It was something I wanted and my husband has been nothing but supportive and we came to a place whereby I can do this. SO I am. Like people who get tattoos, piercings, gender correction or a myriad of other body modifications, this is what I want and there shouldn’t be any reason for me to feel anything but fine about it. I wish I did already but I guess its something I’m going to have to make peace with later. I’m getting there.