Several months ago, I made the dangerous decision to get a breast explant–getting my breast implants removed.
I was walking Spunky outside of our condo and stopped to call Mom.
“Mom, I have to remove my implants.” I blurted. She was surprised, definitely, and more so, worried about my health, especially considering the risks associated with having surgery–again–with my genetic blood clotting disorder, Factor V Leiden.
“Do you think you can accept yourself and live with the implants? It’s very dangerous and I’m worried about complications during surgery.”
I had already made up my mind. “I’ve thought about that, but if there’s a safe way that I can get them out, I want to do it. I’ve already set up an appointment with a hematologist.” I’m 100% in or 0%. Never in between.
“I feel them in my body, Mom. When I go for a jog, when I do a pushup. They encumber me and that doesn’t make me happy. I can’t live like this forever.” I explained.
“If I can get them out, I’m going to.” I had said what I’d been thinking for years. I covered my mouth with my free hand. By naming my fear–that I was going to risk surgery again to return back to my original body–I had released it. My final act of rebellion–choosing to return to my perfect body–was no longer a whisper in my body, but it was now alive and real. I had set the whisper free, and with it’s freedom, I too, felt more unlocked. My body had not changed, but my psychology had. I had decided that I was going to be good enough in my original Earth Suit, regardless of what it would look like post surgery. I was return home.
In an instant–just a short call home to Mom–I knew my implants were no longer right for me and my body; the more I had practiced radical self-acceptance over the last three years, the more I could feel my body rejecting them. Pushing them out like a knotted stitch left behind in my skin. Festering. Perpetually irritating.
I stood on the corner and watched sweat drip down my chest, into my big ole knockers, then soaking completely through my black sports bra. The summer heat in Miami was almost as oppressive as the slushy winters in New York City.
“I wonder what it will be like to be me again.” I toed the grass, kicking it lightly with my sneaker. “I’m so excited, Mom. It’s like I’m finally reclaiming Emily.”
When we hung up, I knew the journey ahead would be arduous, especially with my dangerous blood clotting condition. Though with much patience and perseverance, i did it. I did it! Baby step after baby step, appointment after appointment, I had gotten the green light, until it was finally surgery day and I was doing it!
I’m incredibly proud of myself and incredibly grateful to have my husband and family supporting me throughout this journey of reclaiming my original Earth Suit. Going back to how Emily was, before she ever thought she wasn’t enough.
For many years, I had hidden my beautiful, already perfect body behind the curtain of our culture’s idea of what Pretty should look like on women. Thin, big boobs, accentuated curves, plump lips, sharp jawline, glossy grey-free hair. And now, I’m finally out from behind that curtain, radically accepting myself for exactly the way I am. This radical self-acceptance feels like my final act of rebellion, against my tainted ideas of what I thought would make me more beautiful, which was always heavily influenced by culture and media .
What I found by practicing radical self-acceptance–being brave enough to believe that I’m perfect, just the way I am–is that I feel sustainable, like my beauty and worthiness is perfect right now, and I’m always good enough, even when I’ve been conditioned to think otherwise.
What’s dangerous is that our culture’s idea of beauty has no end game. There’s no final solution–no purchase or workout or diet plan– that we can subscribe to in an effort to be good enough, pretty enough. We are conditioned to keep buying products and services, for as long as we’re tucked into our Earth Suits, constantly seeking the next hit of beauty. This insatiable addiction for feeling validated in our culture is a drug.
I’m the happiest I’ve ever been, not because of my size or the operation, but because I’ve allowed myself to be. I’ve released myself from needing to be anything but me. Brave. Emily.
(As you can see, Matt’s extraordinarily happy, too!)
The war is over. Finally, over.
We all have the choice to feel good enough (you can do this right now) and end our lifelong battles with body image. #BePrettyBrave and choose joy. Choose to be worthy right now, even if you’ve been told otherwise. You are a complete miracle, in just the way you are, simply by moving and breathing. Celebrate yourself! You’re one-in-billion!
Our Earth Suits–our bodies–are all perfect in every size, shape, and color. We are strong and we are all Pretty Brave.