Cosmetic Surgery – it only looks good with clothes on!
(© Jeffrey S. Bowman, all rights reserved, use by permission only)
Having been in the clothes-free world for several years now I marvel at what people have done to their bodies – all for the purpose of looking good.
Before I go any further I must explain that I’m not opposed to cosmetic or plastic surgery. When I was only two years old I had plastic (from the Greek word plasticos = to mold or shape, not a reference to hard “plastic”) surgery on my right lip and nasal area. I was born with a cleft pallet and hare (not hair) lip that required surgery to correct. Also, my wife Judy is a breast cancer survivor and has had a wonderful breast reconstruction that allows her to be symmetrical and wear feminine clothes. So please do not take my musings in a strictly negative way – I’m thankful for doctors who specialize in plastic surgery.
My concern is the growth of the reality shows and “Extreme Makeovers” that feature cosmetic surgery as a way to “look good.” Frequently what is communicated is that the person was a “dud” and needed to have the makeover to boost their self-image. Every thing from breast implants / augmentation to liposuction are glamorously shown on TV as the way to go for beauty. The problem is that such surgery leaves scars, often BIG scars, upon the body. A “tummy tuck” which sounds somewhat simple with the word “tuck”, leaves scars from hip to hip and a repositioned belly button. Breast implants make the natural un-bra-ed breast stick straight out in a very unnatural way. Such surgeries are not kind to the body. They must leave marks, scars and unnatural changes in order to do their job – making the clothed body look better.
Those who opt for cosmetic surgery often do it to make themselves feel better and have greater self-esteem. This is OK but I’d like to suggest another way to feel better and increase self-esteem: experience a clothing-optional context. We as a society have been brainwashed by the media that says you will only be beautiful if you lose 15 pounds, firm up that stomach, and remove the wrinkles. Is that so? What is beauty, and whose definition are we using? In a clothing-optional context the whole body is seen as a thing of beauty. From the wrinkle-free skin of young people to the life-worn wrinkles of the aged, the human form is ALWAYS beautiful – how can it not be, it is the image of God.
In the search to “looking better” I fear that those who use such extreme surgeries will have regrets when they look in the mirror and see themselves naked. What was once a scar-less but fatty stomach now has a scar from hip to hip. Breasts that once hung with the grace of design now stick out unnaturally like headlights on a car. My conclusion: such surgeries only look good with clothes on!
People in our society talk about the lack of self-acceptance or self-esteem that is caused by having a body that is “not pretty.” As one who has had a scar on my face ALL my life, I felt the pain of mockery when I was a child. I know the curious stares during my adulthood. No one likes to be looked at in a “freakish” fashion. But where is the problem? Typically it comes not from the outside, but the inside – from our own hearts. I learned that it wasn’t others views of me that mattered. It was God’s. He loves me “warts and all, scars and all, even fat and all.” Our view of ourselves is like the cartoonist who exaggerates features in the creation of the caricature – so we often feel that we are that blemish, flaw or fat that we have. How sad that we define ourselves this way. It is possible that mental health can be found in cosmetic surgery. But don’t forget that often it only looks good with clothes on and you still have to see yourself in the mirror after the shower…nude.
Carefully consider this simple prayer: “Dear Lord, thank you for my body. Thank you that it is in your image. Thank you for the strong points and Lord, thank you for its weak points too!” Then ask yourself if you really need cosmetic surgery.
I was prompted to write this article after having a guest at our spa that was still ashamed of her body, even after the cosmetic surgery. It didn’t help her with self-esteem it just shifted it from the fat to the scars. But do you know what did? She saw “normal” people just like her in a clothes-free environment. She left our place understanding that every body is beautiful, even hers with its scars from cosmetic surgery.
Only a fraction of our population has a body that “looks good” in our media’s eyes. In reality, the media has influenced our thoughts and perception only to sell us their products and surgeries. Think about it.