I was awake at 4:30 in the morning. After sleeping almost steady since my breast reduction surgery at 10:30 the previous morning, there was very little sleep left in me.
I lay there in bed, on my back – my least favourite position, but the only position that works when your breasts have road maps of slices across them. My hands moved down to my chest… and I started to cry.
No, it wasn’t the pain – that was mostly managed by the painkillers. Partly the tears were just about the beauty of that moment. For the first time since the day I ballooned out of a wimpy training bra, I was putting my hands on my breasts and feeling small, firm, normal-sized breasts, even under the layers of bandages. Nothing flopped to the side or hung down to my belly-button. They were PERKY!
But there was something deeper behind the tears. A release. A forgiveness. A realization that I am okay and that I didn’t make a mistake.
All of the baggage I’ve been carrying? The reason it took me so much time and contemplation to get to the place where I was ready for this surgery? It’s all because I believed that wanting smaller breast was just too selfish.
If there’s one thing I’ve been raised to fight against, it is selfishness. After all, isn’t a good Christian woman supposed to be the embodiment of selflessness? Especially once you’ve become a mom? Doesn’t that verse in the Bible really say “Do unto others. Period.” ? At least that’s the way my internal monologue seemed to interpret it.
Oh, it’s not that I haven’t learned to be selfish in my life. I can be VERY selfish. Often. But… it usually comes with a good helping of guilt. Or I manage to justify it because “others are benefitting too – not just me.” Or, if nothing else, I get to be kind to myself once in awhile just because I”ve EARNED it – through hard work, pain, diligence, whatever.
Not only was it selfish, but it was… oh that dreadful word… frivolous.
What’s a mature 43 year old do-gooder feminist in management in a non-profit organization who has been known to stand on the soapbox of simple living, justice, treehugging, and compassion now and then doing contemplating something as frivolous as plastic surgery? Sheesh! Aren’t there people to feed in this world, HIV orphans to look after, injustice to stamp out?
And yet, there I was at 4:30 in the morning, knowing that I’d made the right decision. And crying happy tears because I was okay. I had given myself permission and I had worked past the many ways I judge myself, and I was not going to hell for it.
I have a pretty good feeling God’s not standing in judgement somewhere shaking her head in my direction. Probably the only person judging me all this time was myself. And I’m letting that go, bit by bit.
And soon… I’m going to buy myself some lovely, frivolous, fitted blouses. And they might not even come from Value Village.