Yes, I could.
And so, on February 12th, I entered into six hours of nipping, tucking and lifting. The good surgeon removed six inches from my tummy and did a major abdominal repair. My muscles were shortened and pulled back together, and then he sewed a corset between them to keep them in place permanently. He then moved to my chest where he removed a ton of excess skin, lifted them back up and filled them to their normal capacity.
If I had any sense, I would keep this all to myself. And that was my original plan. I told my family and close friends, all of whom gave me their full support. I quietly called my RS president to explain why I would be MIA for awhile and asked her to keep it to herself, which she graciously did. Above all else, I did not want to become the gossip that circulated round and round. I didn't want people judging me or thinking ill of the decisions I made. I was so scared to be cast out for making a decision that, while it felt more than right to me, is a decision that not everyone would make.
And then I got over it.
And that's why I decided to share this chapter of my life. Because it's not about plastic surgery. It's not about being judged. It's not about doing what everyone else would do. This whole thing, from beginning to end, has been about me. My wants and desires and issues. All of it has been 100% about me and that's where the real issues lie.
I think as women, we do everything we can for everyone around us all the time. We sacrifice, sometimes because we want to, others because we feel we have to, every inch of ourselves for the greater good. I do this all the time. My whole life is focussed on what I can do for others and I wouldn't have it any other way. I have chosen to live the way I do and I love it. But this? This was all about me and it made me feel selfish which is something I never want to be. I was so held up on doing something solely for me and even though Brad assured me repeatedly that it was more than okay for me to make a decision for myself, about myself, all by myself, I struggled. I questioned and wondered and tried to make sense of it all. I spent more time in prayer about this one issue than ever before. I couldn't get past the idea of doing something solely for me because I wanted to. Because it was important to me. Because it would affect my life and make me feel better. Isn't that the very definition of selfish? Wouldn't everyone think I was horribly vain and judge me endlessly?
And then, after more than a year of trying to figure it out, I got over that too.
It doesn't matter what other people think. This was a drastic decision, a huge event that would change the rest of my life and I had every right to decide for myself. It's wasn't about anyone else and I learned, the long way, that it's ok. It"s ok to do the things and make the decisions that will have positive impacts on my life, whatever they may be. The reasons don't matter. The judgments that may come are inconsequential. It's not always about other people. Sometimes, every once in awhile, it's just about me and that's ok. I can do things for myself for no other reason than because I want to and it's ok. I can make myself better. I can take control and improve myself in any way that I need. I can even be selfish. For a time, I can ask others for help and focus on myself and it's ok. It doesn't make me a bad wife, mother, friend, or woman. It makes me me and I am more than ok with that.
So that's why I told you. Because I don't want you to doubt your needs, whatever they may be, like I did for so long. I don't want you to feel like you can't do something solely for yourself. I don't want you to get lost in what others may think or feel about what you do or how you live your life. It's your life. It's my life. And all of it is ok.
I am happy to say that I am recovering beautifully thanks to the love and support of so many wonderful people. My husband, my family, my friends are unbelievable and the help I've received and continue to receive is a gift I will never forget.
And all the time I spent wondering if this was right, or if I would be judged, or if I could do what I wanted for a change and still be a good person seems incredibly silly. Because this body? This body that is stitched from hip to hip and bruised and swollen and tender?