One of the things I love most about reading other people’s stories is getting a little inside their heads. It’s kind of easy to do this with someone who thinks just like you. But to me it’s even more interesting to get into someone’s head who has a completely different experience than mine. It kind of blows my mind.
Which is why, after a number of posts and comments here at Segullah addressing the subject of cosmetic surgery–particularly that of the enhancement type–I wanted to go out and solicit a guest post from someone who’s had it done. I wanted to understand why.
Unfortunately, I’m either really oblivious or I must live on the wrong side of town because I don’t know a whole lot of surgically enhanced women.
So I did the next best thing. I talked to the one person I know in all my circle of friends who has had breast augmentation surgery.
I told her about some of the rather heated conversations here at Segullah and I invited her to tell me about her own experience. It’s understood that her story is her own and her reasons may not be the same as those of others, but because this was a topic about which I myself have strong feelings, I wanted to try to understand…at least from her perspective. And, as is usually the case when you try to look at someone’s situation through their own eyes, I came away with a greater understanding and a little more compassion.
I never knew her before she had her surgery. In fact, had she not confided in me several years ago, I never would have guessed she’d had it done. She appears completely natural to me–so natural that it’s not uncommon for some of our mutual friends to discuss or even make fun of breast augmentation in her presence without having any clue. Perhaps that’s one more proof of the wisdom behind “moderation in all things.”
So we had a frank talk about her experience and this is what she said…
Actually, we did have frank discussion about her experience. But out of respect for her privacy, I’m not going to tell you here what she said. (I’m still holding out for a guest post, but only if everyone promises to play nice.) I will tell you, however, that I love and respect this woman. She is my sister and my friend. And even though her reasons didn’t change my mind, I will not judge her. Who’s to say that in her shoes I might not have made the same choice she did?
What I really wanted to write about today was something one of her doctors told her that really struck me. He made the observation to her that women–particularly Mormon women–seem to be under an awful lot of pressure. I asked her what he meant by that and she told me he explained how in our community there is so much pressure to be perfect: be the perfect person–especially the perfect mom–the perfect wife, the perfect saint. And to have the perfect house, the perfect family, the perfect body and the perfect life. As an admitted non-perfectionist, I honestly had never really given this much thought before. But I could see what he meant.
I don’t usually let it get to me, but I’ve seen it weigh heavily on people I love. And, I’ll admit there have been moments and days in recent years when I can feel it trying to press down on me. That pressure to be perfect. In my younger years we used to blame it on the church. But I do not believe it is the church that preaches perfection in this life–the gospel simply requires faith, repentance…more stuff…a continual aspiration for goodness…more stuff…and enduring to the end.
The way I see it perfection now is something our society, our culture–maybe even mostly we ourselves–demand of us.
Do you feel the pressure to be perfect?
In what ways?
Do you ever wonder if you inadvertently put pressure on others–or on your children?
How do we stop that?
What do you do to help yourself cope?