Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The Thing Every Woman Wants

A couple of years back, a friend of mine went to see a plastic surgeon. She had come upon some inheritance and decided to see how the money could buy her something she’d always wanted, something she’d dreamed of and longed for—something that would truly change her life. Now, I can’t condemn her for wanting it. I’m not immune to lusting after it myself.

Now, you might be thinking she went in search of a set of perky size Ds, or perhaps a cuter nose, lips like Angelina Jolie, and if you have a really naughty mind you might think she went in to get her very own . . . well, a sex operation. But nope, my friend is happy being female. But she was unhappy with her female self. What she really wanted was a better self image.

The good doctor gave her a blue magic marker and a few instructions. She was to strip butt naked, stand in front of the full-length mirror and mark everything on her body that she would like to change. Now, my friend is like most women I know in their early forties, meaning she hadn’t looked at herself naked in a full-length mirror since before Clinton didn’t have sex with that woman.

But being the good patient, she did as he requested. Then, peering only through tightened eyelids, she grabbed the marker and uncapped it. She started down low, a scar on her calf where a dog bit her when she was a kid, her knees which according to her, had began to sag much like breasts do. (I’m afraid to check mine.) The thighs required much more ink. ( I would have run out ink by then.) And then the dreadful tummy. Of course, she admitted she’d never lost the pregnancy bulge. But the mid-drift. . . since when had that started to jiggle? Breasts…she didn’t even want to talk about them and neither do I.

She says that’s when she got a good glimpse of herself in the mirror and started bawling. Not just because she saw herself naked for first time in almost ten years. Not because she was looking a little like Papa Smurf. She sobbed because she knew her inheritance wasn’t large enough to fix everything. (Damn Aunt Bee for not being richer!)

Anyway, she got dressed and came running to my house with a bottle of wine. A large bottle. Some time between glasses three and four, we both had an epiphany. (I don’t get them often so this was a grand occasion.) I’m not even sure how we came to this bit of wisdom, but I think it was because each of us was shocked at everything we wanted to change about ourselves. I found a blue marker and we both put big dots on our foreheads. In our slightly inebriated states, this was supposed to mean that the first part of our bodies we needed to fix was our minds. Because our biggest problem with self-image was how WE saw ourselves.

When my husband came home that night, I had to explain the headache and the big blue dot on my forehead. Even still, I didn’t regret our mid-afternoon Merlot party, although I did regret that the dot on my forehead had been made with a permanent marker.

But even that was okay. It gave us both a few days of fading ink to think about the whole self-image problem. And something we realized is that this problem hadn’t started with the sagging forties, it had been present even in our earlier years. I remember wishing I had bouncier ponytails in kindergarten.

The end result of that day? My friend used most of her money to go on a cruise. She did get one nip and tuck, but she also joined a gym, and bought some books on loving and accepting herself.

Every now and then, I still get caught up the whole negative image trap. I hate my thin hair, I hate being short, I hate my big boobs. (Yeah, I know most of you don’t get that, but believe me, being short and chesty isn’t a good thing. If anyone needs to borrow a cup or two, I’ve got some to give away.) I hate the lines appearing around my eyes, and the extra 30 pounds. But then I try to remind myself, that most of what I see wrong with my appearance is exaggerated by own warped self-image. So I’m still working on changing the things I can change, and accepting the things I can’t. I’ve also gotten rid of all permanent markers. Oh, and I absolutely refuse to stand naked in front of full-length mirrors. That alone keeps me away from all plastic surgeons.

So, do tell, do you hate something about yourself? How are you dealing with negative image? Or, are my friend and I the only ones struggling with this ugly beast?

--Crime Scene Christie

65 comments:

Suzan Harden said...

Except it isn't just our bodies. Our society is caught up in the false concept that "if I had X, Y or Z, my life would be perfect."

Life doesn't work like that. It's hard lessen, and one some of us never learn.

On the other hand, if I could get the right agent to look at my fabulous manuscript, my writing career would be - perfect. :-)

Jana DeLeon said...

I'm so glad your friend took a cruise instead, Christie - good for her!

I think we all have things we'd change if we could do it easily, but I draw the line at plastic surgeons. I'm just not that unhappy.

HOWEVER, I would definitely have every stitch of hair from my lip down permanently removed from my body if I could afford it. But that's just a time-saving device. :)

Colleen Thompson said...

This is sad but true, Christie. I don't know a woman of any age who's comfortable with her face and body. Sometimes I envy men, who never know the trauma of trying on swimsuits beneath the fluorescent spotlights in a dept. store dressing room. They just buy gi-normous trunks and go with 'em.

Of course, they do have to deal with the hair thing...

Christie Craig said...

Suzan,

Yup, you are right. There are alot of false concepts of what it takes to be happy.

And get that fabulous manuscript out to an agent. I'm cheering you on.

Go girl, go!

Crime Scene Christie

Christie Craig said...

Jana,

LOL. I know what you mean about hairy issues.

I'm not totally against going under the knife, I can see why some people choose to do it, I'm just not that brave.

Crime Scene Christie

Christie Craig said...

Colleen,

Yep, for some crazy reason most men don't seem to let self-image bother them.

And please, let's not even think about trying on bathing suits.

Crime Scene Christie

MsHellion said...

This blog is so spot-on. *LOL* And that was quite the epiphany! Sounds like you guys had the best time: bonding with girlfriends and lots of liquor. Life doesn't get any sweeter than that--even if you could wish your ta-tas sat a little higher and your waist curved in a little narrower.

With the headlines taking swipes at Britney "Train-Wreck" Spears at how fat she looked in her black outfit--and everyone nodding--though most everyone would still give their eye-teeth to look like her (just not in that outfit)--it's no wonder women are so unhappy with what we look like. Supermodels are too skinny and bony; Britney's too fat--where is the happy medium? Just who exactly looks good? You don't see US magazine going on and on about male celebrities looking too thin and if they're crash dieting...though they have picked on male celebrities if they start getting a beer gut.

We should really find a new obsession to worry about...but as they say, it's hard to stop...and some of us never do.

ChristyJan said...

What a great post. I love watching Dr. 90210 and watching all of the procedures that they do to make people feel better about themselves. But sometimes I wonder...who exactly is it that decides what the perfect size, shape, etc. is? And, I think men are starting to fall into the same trap... my husband and I have several close male friends who have had laser hair removal, hair enhancements, and botox.

Gemma Halliday said...

Really great post, Christie! I think every woman has had that full-length-mirror moment at least once in their lives. For me, pictures are the worst. I think I look fine until I see myself captured candid on film. Needless to say, I’m a huge fan of airbrushing. :D

~Gemma

Anonymous said...

Christie,
I think every woman has issues with her self image. I have been anorexic since I was 14. I am now over 40 and it never completely goes away. I have to judge my body image by my clothes size not what I see in the mirror. I always think I'm too fat even when I'm 20 pounds underweight. I agree that some of the self image problem comes from society's view on the prefect female form, but it also comes from each of us. How many of us look at other women and critize something about them to make ourselves feel better. Maybe we each need to learn to be happy with who we are and stop competing with each other.

Lucy said...

I went to the doctor recently for my annual exam (it'd actually been two years since I had been, but I digress). I'd lost 45 pounds since the last time I'd been to the doctor and I was feeling pretty good about that.

So, I have to strip down and let her examine me (actually two days in a row but that's another story). At the end of it all she said, "You need to start exercising."

I'd lost 45 pounds and her response (at seeing me naked) was I needed to start exercising. Do I have body image issues. Uh, yeah!

P.S. This also goes to show that there's something to it when you tell someone they're looking good and they respond with "Yeah, well you haven't seen me naked." *sigh*

Fun post, by the way, Christie.

Lily said...

Hum... I really want to become a plastic surgeon... but changing your whole self... that would be extreme! Ususally, there is a problem underneath the surface for someone to feel ugly... because we are - the majority of us - just average looking.

Nathalie said...

Body issues... I have none, of course, I wish I was bit taller... but well I have learned to live with that and I am perfectly happy. I am glad too that your friend just chose a vacation... memeories stay a lifetime, but plastic surgury doesn't, because there is always something that will nag you.

Maggie said...

Hi Gemma, great I am not the only once who doesn't really like the way I look in a picture!

Nathalie said...

Ok... it is not the first time that it happens to me... I always forget to log in! but I have to say I am new to the whole blogging!

Virginia said...

I am over weigh and I hate it. I have always been this way and it has been a struggle all of my life. I have always wondered what it would be like to be thin.

Christie Craig said...

Mshellion,

Yup. Life is good when you have good friends and wine. And I'm very blessed to have some wonderful friends.

Oh, I have to tell you, I love that word, tatas. I've heard it before, but I can't remember where. I'm gonna have to remember it and use it in one of my books.

As for Britney, ugg, I don't think she's the smartest knife in the drawer, but I will say I'm sure glad my life and my weight issues, aren't played out on every news channel.

And men, yes, I think the males in the public eye do have more awareness of their looks. Not as bad as women, but they attempt to keep the bodies looking good. Only a few I think under the knife. But I could be wrong.


Crime Scene Christie

Christie Craig said...

Christyjan,

Every time I think of hair removal I think of the movie the The Forty-Year-old Virgin. Ouch. I'll confess, I've only done waxing once...and it was with a couple of girlfriends. Frankly, it would make a really funny blog.

I'm all for improving oneself. And you are so right, we need to do for ourselves and not try to meet up to other's views.

Crime Scene Christie

Christie Craig said...

Gemma,

Oh, I so know what you mean about pictures. I'm a photographer in my other life, but people have to work hard and fast to get me in a picture.

Getting my pictures done for the back of my book was very hard. I so wanted to be thin by then.

Crime Scene Christie

Christie Craig said...

Anonyomous,

My heart aches for you. I'm sending out postive vibes that everyday you find the strength to fight your battle.

And I agree, we need to learn to accept and love ourselves and let go of judgment of ourselves and others.

Thank you for sharing.

Crime Scene Christie

Linda Warren said...

Christie,
Your post is so funny, but true. I refuse to have a full lenth mirror in my house anymore. I do not want to see myself in one. I think if we got rid of mirrors completely we'd all be better off.

I'm short and have thinning hair. I always thought if I had big boobs it would make up for that. Guess not, huh?

I'll take a cup anyway.
Linda Warren

Christie Craig said...

Lucy,

You really made me laugh. Thank you. And huge congrats on the 45 pound loss. I know it took some really hard work. And sure, you might need to exercise, but hey, a thumbs up and a "Thatta girl," would have been nice from your doctor.

And yup, I can hide a lot of flaws behind my clothes, (tunny-tucker panties and minimizer bras) but when they are off. . . Oh boy!

This said, like Jana, I'm really trying to lose some weight. I plan to blog on that soon.

Thanks for the chuckle.

Crime Scene Christie

Christie Craig said...

Lily,

I think being a plastic surgeon would be fabulous. How great is it to help people feel better about themselves? My mother had breast cancer at a very early age and had reconstruction surgery. It really helped her and offered her a better sense of herself.

But like you said, sometimes it’s not the shape of person’s nose that is wrong, it’s so much deeper.

Years ago, I worked with a girl who had a facial deformity. When she got her surgery, she was a new person. A plastic surgeon has the ability to change people’s lives.

Crime Scene Christie

Estella said...

I hate the tummy bulge---nothing I do makes it go away. I am in my mid sixties and have decided I will just have to live with it.

Christie Craig said...

Nathalie,

Okay, if you are over the five foot mark, you have no whining rights around me.

And you are right. Memories are keepers.

Crime Scene Christie

Christie Craig said...

Maggie,

You are so NOT alone. I hate pictures of myself. I just keep telling myself they add 30 pounds. (I know it's only supposed to be ten, but work with me here!)

Crime Scene Christie

Christie Craig said...

Virgina,

It is so hard. I was overweight as kid, too. Weight issues run in my family. And I've fought my weight all my life. Sometimes it wins, sometimes I win. Just remember to love yourself, no matter what the scales tell you.

Crime Scene Christie

Lily said...

Christie, you are right... I love reconstructive surgery and I totally agree whith you when you say it can change someone's live.

Laura said...

I just turned 30 two months ago. I've had three children. Sometimes I think back to the size 0 jeans I wore in high school and I get sad. Honestly, I'd be thrilled with the size 8 I was before the last baby.

As for having an extra cup or two to spare - YES. If I had the ability to choose a surgery, I think it'd be that. Oh, to be able to wear a top without a bra...

By the way, I'm new to this blog and love it! Very nice!

Maggie said...

I never knew that I picture makes you look 10 pounds fatter... I understand now!! and I am never again getting in front of a camera!!

Christie Craig said...

Hi Linda,

Do you hate it when you go to a hotel and the bathroom is nothing but mirrors? UGGGG!

And believe me, you don't want these cups, but maybe Lily will tell us if transplants are really an option. :-)

Crime Scene Christie

Lily said...

Hair transplant is not very effective yet and it is so painful... you really have to be dedicated just to get a bit more of hair - and I have seen it better work on men than on women, and usually it is done for the ones who suffer extensive hair loss.

And I hate mirrors in the hotel bathrooms... plus there is so much lighting, you see yourself a bit too clearly... it is quite depressing!

Christie Craig said...

Estella,

The dreaded tummy is the worst.

Of course, while I was too old to wear some of those mid-drift shirts that were so popular a couple years ago, I wish I could have worn them . . . if I'd wanted to. But I don't they would have looked good with tummy tucker panties showing.

I blame the bulge on having babies. Of course, I guess it was worth it.

Crime Scene Christie

Faye Hughes said...

Some great posts today, ladies. Now, where is that wine I heard someone mention? LOL.

Faye

Christie Craig said...

Lily,

Go work miracles girl!

Crime Scene Christie

Christie Craig said...

Laura,

Happy belated birthday. And welcome to Killer Fiction. We have fun and that's for sure. And I just love it when another busty woman agrees that big is not all it's cracked up to be. And goodness, to wear a shirt without a bra would be like...like Christmas.

Crime Scene Christie

Lily said...

For breast implants... for one cup... everyone, it is not worth the trouble, just think that you are going to live with a scar - which I must say is not little - for your whole life! and the surgery always has complications.

And Laura, breast reduction is much easier... but it is amyth that you don't wear a bra - I am not talking of actresses... because if you don't, the effect of the surgery will go much sooner and then it will be a re-do earlier.

Christie Craig said...

Lily,

Painful? Okay, I'm now sure I'll pass on the hair transplant. Not when there's an ounce of mouse left. The men in my family are all bald, so I guess I should be happy I'm just thin-haired.

And yes, the lights in those bathroom are ungodly.

Crime Scene Christie

Christie Craig said...

Faye,

Bring the wine next time.

Crime Scene Christie

Nathalie said...

Ok... I am 5 foot 2 so I will stop whinning, though they say the average woman is 5'3... so I am not that complexed with my height!

PS: I also really like your blog... and this week was my first visit.

Laura said...

Christie, thanks for the welcome!

And Lily, oh I'm not talking about all the time. But I cannot count the number of times that I've seen the CUTEST SHIRT EVER and had to put it back on the shelf because it just wasn't made to go with a bra and I just can't go without. Sometimes, just sometimes, I'd like to be able to actually wear a shirt like that.

Christie Craig said...

Nathalie,

Okay, you have me by two and half inches.

I'm so glad you like our blog. Come back often.

Crime Scene Christie

Lily said...

Laura, I know exactly what you mean, and I am 21. Sometimes there is some shirts that have no backs... and I feel uncomfortable without a bra - and I have a small cup!! but I can't buy them.

Lily said...

Christie... thanx for the warm welcome... I really like the interaction here and the articles are really interesting.

Nathalie said...

I am glad I am not the only new one here... Hi Laura and Lily!! and I like the interactions here too... and I am going to come back often :)

Christie Craig said...

Maggie,

Okay, there is a few things you can do to hide that ten extra poundage that doesn't really exist. Stand to the side, hold the head high, so no double chin will show. And if all else fails, only let them shoot you from the chin up.

Crime Scene Christie

Maggie said...

OMG, thanx for the advice Christie... and I have to say when I turned 40, picture taking was not the same thing as before, when I had nothing to hide and skinny jeans were part of everyday life.

Faye Hughes said...

Christie,

I also wanted to say that I loved the picture you included with your blog. It looks familiar but I can't place it.

Faye

Christie Craig said...

Maggie,

I think we all feel that way.

Crime Scene Christie

Christie Craig said...

Faye,

That's my daughter's artwork, Nina Craig Makepeace. I'm proud mama. Isn't she great? I photograph all her work for her portfolio so she offered to let me use any of the images on my website and blog.

She has art shows four or five times a year and sells very well. All her work has a feminine angle to it.

Crime Scene Christie

Faye Hughes said...

Awesome, Christie! Now I know why it seemed so familiar. You have some of her other work on your website.

Faye

Stacy S said...

Great post!! I'm pretty happy with myself. I would like to lose more weight ( get rid of double chin). I liked your advise on the picture taking. Will have to remember that.

Christie Craig said...

Stacy,

Ugg. Have faith that you are not alone. I keep doing the chin exercises. Stretch that neck back.

Crime Scene Christie

ms terry in gadsden said...

ok you asked for this. You know i have this friend who i went to school with and she and i would go to football games. For some reason we tought that a football game wasn't for just sitting up in the stands and watching the game. No, my friend and i spent our Friday nights walking around the outside of the field round and round to see who we could see. My friend and i were both short but she was a little shorter than me. But she was very blessed up top and more than once i heard comments as we passed by groups of guys. I was so jealous , so i prayed and prayed and the unpatient person i am i prayed and prayed somemore. Well now you should see me.
You know that saying you should be careful what you pray for. Well.
Hey and since i dont trust doctors at least i didnt have to go get a boob job.

Oh and about guys not worring , you never met my cousin. he is 2 months older than me . In jr high school he decieded he didnt want to be fat anymore. He pretty much starved him self. and lost lots of weight. He is 47 now and if you tell him he looks like he is putting on a little he kringes.

Men are just good at hiding some of there feeling.

Liz Fielding said...

I loved your post, Christie. I think the self-image thing is a universal problem. Mine started when I had to wear glasses (then a patch over one eye). It sure wasn't helped when I stood in a mirrored cubicle last weekend trying to find some outfit that would disguise all bulges. The really hard thing is knowing that the remedy is in my own hands (well, not the glasses, I've learned to live with them), that fixing it it down to me.

Having a bit of an epiphany moment about that myself. :)

And I'm really glad your friend took the cruise.

Christie Craig said...

Terry,

I swear, I would have given you a cup back then if I could have!

But your story reminds me of how we are hard on ourselves, even when we shouldn't be. I hated my boobs even when I wasn't heavier and when the boys rather liked them. I hated it when boys said something suggestive.

And now that you are blessed as well, you can see...boobs are not always blessings. ;-)

Crime Scene Christie

Christie Craig said...

Liz,

I have a friend and she talks a lot about the glasses being a negative thing when she was really young and in school. To this day, she says when she wears glasses instead of contacts, she feels subconcious.

About disguising bulges. Oh, man! Just take comfort in knowing you are not alone. Oh, and congrats on the ephipany. I hope it was a good one.

Crime Scene Christie

Nancy Kay Bowden said...

What a great post, Christie! I'm a day behind, but that's because yesterday I traveled across town to play Bunko with my old Bunko group (you met them!) from Midland--all now in Houston. Last night, I found myself envisioning us twenty years ago when we started. You know how they end Cold Case--you see the character now and in the past? That's what I was doing in my imagination. And you know what? Each other of us is equally older, and we've all aged in different ways... wrinklier, saggier, fatter, grayer, etc. We weren't hurrying home to babies and hubbies. We weren't worrying about anything. We talked about kids some--but we talked about US mostly! Each one of us is way wiser and lots happier! I think we're more beautiful in a way we couldn't have imagined in our twenties and early thirties.

Christie Craig said...

Hi Nancy,

I hope you enjoyed the Bunko group. And girl, you are so right. While I still whine about self-image, I'll even admit I'm more comfortable in my skin now than I was when I was young and honestly looked better. Age does bring some wisdom.

And wouldn't you agree that there is something very attractive about women who are comfortable in their skin. One of the most beautiful women I know is in her sixties and it's Jody Payne. She's the woman in Great Agent hunt video. Now, ladies, I don't know if it's all a front, but she eludes a sense of contentment in her appearance. I totally want that.

Crime Scene Christie

P.S. Pray Jody doesn't shoot me for telling her age!!! Yikes.

RachaelfromNJ said...

Great story!

Christie Craig said...

RachaelfromNJ,

Thanks Rachael.

Crime Scene Christie

Kathy Bacus said...

Talk about extremes in body image. When I was in my twenties and a cop, I weight-trained (when it wasn't really cool for a woman to pump iron) and ran daily. I was a lean, mean, fighting machine. When I reached my thirties, pregnant with triplets and bedridden in the hospital, the last time I agreed to be weighed, I topped the scale at 210 pounds. I cried a lot that day.

Let me tell you, carrying that many babies at one time does a number on the bod. Fortunately, caring for three preemies and a two-year-old helped the pounds come off but I was never the same.

Still, I gave birth to three healthy, wonderful, beautiful babies so what's a stretch mark here and there (okay, maybe more like a road map)compared to the joy my children bring me daily.

And a lot can be said for inner beauty.

~Kathy~

Christie Craig said...

Okay Kathy,

Everyone here lost the right to whine about the pregnancy bulge. Girl, I just can't imagine carrying three.

I think it brings a whole new meaning to super mom.

Crime Scene Christie

Duke said...

Christie,
You girls are way too worried about body parts, anything storebought is never as good as the real thing. Life is hard enough, worry about something you can change, and make sure it is for the better.

Christie Craig said...

Duke,

You are right. Thanks for the male insight.

By the way, tomorrow will be fun!

Crime Scene Christie