I used to have a very strong opinion on cosmetic surgery (which doesn't really mean anything, I suppose, since I have a very strong opinion on just about everything). This very strong opinion included lots of judgments and assumptions.
Fast forward a few years, two babies, and lots of life experiences.
Let's just say that my opinion is no longer that strong.
Okay, let me come clean: today I had an appointment with a cosmetic surgeon. A "free consultation." Yeah. One of those. Me. Ha. Ain't it funny how life has a way of slappin' you around just for kicks?
No, it wasn't the boobs (we have a very good relationship still).
It wasn't the tummy.
It wasn't for lipo.
It was...ya' ready for this?...the neck. Yep. 38 frickin' years old, always having had body and weight issues, two kids later, and I'm seeking out a free consultation about my frickin' neck. All those years I spent obsessing about all the parts of me that were messed up from the neck down, and it turned out that was the part that's really betrayed me.
The infamous thighs that were pointed out as "fat" in kindergarten by the dirty-blond-haired freckled boy who sat next to me? Nope, those are holdin' out pretty good after a decade of running and weight training. The postpartum belly pooch that was literally torn open in an emergency c-section and sewed back together lopsided? Healed, flattened, and barely noticeable. The hips that were, quite literally, my cross to bear during my teen years and the subject of much discussion in the dressing room during shopping trips with my mother? So over those. It ended up being the skin on my neck that finally broke me.
There I was: sitting in the waiting room of a cosmetic surgeon. Me. The girl who swore she'd never...(insert peals of raucous "I-told-you-so" laughter from all the friends and family who'd heard my soapbox dissertation on plastic surgery many years ago and warned me)! The discomfort was probably palpable. I pretended to be totally okay with this...I filled out the information forms like I visited plastic surgeons all the time. I noticed that every time I opened my mouth to respond to one of the incredibly wrinkle-free and expression-less receptionists, my Thank you's and Yes's all came out high pitched and overly cheerful.
In addition to the senior citizen receptionists with the non-existent crows' feet, I also noticed that the waiting room was unlike any "regular" doctor's waiting room I've ever visited. The lighting was dim. The music was sultry and slow and made me want to have a cocktail on a yacht. The furniture was plush and actually matched. And the magazines...oh the magazines! No wrinkled Parenting, tattered Cosmo, and outdated National Geographic. No, here you could sit back on the high-priced couch and peruse the high fashion pages of the latest issues of W or Elle or the recently launched local Bal Harbour. As I sat there, glad I had opted for a summery dress and heels rather than my at least-once-a-week uniform of teacher polo and jeans, I wasn't sure if the surroundings made me feel more at ease with the idea of cutting myself open for vanity or more pressured that the whole idea was vain and unnecessary.
I was called in to "consult" with the doctor almost immediately (apparently, when you are willing to shell out thousands of dollars for reconstructive anything, they are very timely with your appointments...hello?...non-cosmetic medical world?...you can stand to learn a thing or two here!). After a 10-minute conversation, I was basically told the following:
1. Flappy thing under my neck? Everyone has at least a small version of one "in order to allow your head to turn".... Well, if you refer to my last post, I am not able to turn my head these days anyways, so can we just chop that sucker right off?
2. I am "way too young" for "any kind" of surgical lift/tuck/cut in that area.
3. For a mere $2000-$3000 I can have a laser thing-a-majig that will improve the "texture" of my skin.
4. For a measly $600 I can buy lots of prescription products that will improve the "texture" of my skin.
5. Neither of these two incredibly affordable options will give me "dramatic results" of any kind.
Well, then. Thanks, doc. Really glad about the whole free-consult-thing.
I left not knowing if I was relieved that I really had no options, or discouraged. On one hand, it was pretty evident the doctor did not think my case was any sort of a big deal. He validated ("I mean, I do see what you are saying, Elizabeth. I do see the slight loose-ness."), but almost made me question whether I really had been making a bigger deal of this than I should have. I suppose feeling slightly sheepish is a good thing at a cosmetic surgeon's office? I mean, who wants to go in there and have the doctor gasp and nod with immediate understanding: "Oh yes, yes! I see that turkey neck! Unfortunately, there isn't much we can do for you. Have you considered a scarf?"
But still, maybe a little non-surgical magic cream? A laser that would've zapped some tightness in there? A little placebo pill to trick me into thinking I was doing something about it?
"I'm too perfect for surgery." That's what I jokingly told Hubby and my friend when they asked how it went. Ha.
It's just amazing how you go through life thinking you've got all the answers. You know exactly what you would do in a given situation. You sit and pass judgment on others who pull and tuck and cut. And then...well, then...you wake up one morning and realize you have no frickin' clue and you're just gonna figure it out as you go along and do the best you can and you learn that if you stand with your chin jutted out just a teeny bit, everything stretches out on its own.