Let Your Colors Burn

Ever slip out of the house on sunday morning in baggy sweats, bra-less, a paint-stained T, sleep wrinkles on your face and your hair a mess just to grab a quick cup of coffee? Standing in line behind you is your husband’s (or wife’s) boss, in front of you is the hot guy from work, and running the register is your teenage son’s friend.  At the ATM machine stands that condescending PTA bitch, dressed in her “7″ jeans, a crisp clean T and the cutest little flats you’ve ever seen.  Her hair is in a neat ponytail and her face is fresh and perfect.

Sloppy ImageImage Not Sloppy

You quickly take note of your appearance, run a finger across your un-brushed teeth, wipe the sleep booger from your eye, and cross you arms over the ketchup stain on your shirt.  Then you pray none of them notice who you are.  You feel less, lower, a mess.

WTF!  What were you thinking?  Impressions are important, no matter if they are the first or the thirty-first!  Aren’t they?  Well, let’s debate.

Image

On first impression, what would you think of these people?  Would you hire them to work for you? Would you tend to respect their opinions?  Would you think they were intellegent?  Worth getting to know?  More importantly, if you sneak out of the house, looking like crap, how do YOU feel about yourself?

ImageImageImage

Now these photos are a little over the top, but visual impressions are important.  Not so much to the people we meet, but more importantly, to ourselves, to our self-esteem.  Of course, this doesn’t mean we have to dress to the hilt and become a movie star every time we leave the house, but don’t you feel better, more confident, more approachable when you look better?

I know I do.  Many days I get up and rejoice that it’s a sweat-pant-no-bra day, and almost always, I regret it.  Someone stops by, or I have to run out, and I get caught with my ‘pants down.’ I feel gross, sloppy, and unworthy.  My confidence goes into hiding, and my self-esteem gets knicked.

So, I suppose my question would be (in Misty’s words) How vain is too vain?

Image Why?  She was stunning before surgery!

A few posts back, I bitched about the media and their influence on external beauty.  I’m 49 today, and my dear mother pulled some pictures out of me when I was 25.  Ughhhh! was my first thought.  My forehead is all wrinkled now, when once it was smooth.  I have ‘jowels’ where once I had cheekbones, and these horrible lines stripe my top lip!  Everything is going south!  I don’t like it.  I feel self concious…and it’s only going to get worse.

Should I consider plastic surgery?  Should anyone?  Is this vain, self-centered?

I have to confess, I have had plastic surgery. A year ago.  It changed my life.  I had an abdominoplasty, aka. tummy tuck.  I’m a normal-size gal (10-12), but from birthing two 12lb babies by c-section, I had this obnoxious pouch that never went away.  Dr. Glassman did my surgery, awesome man.  His words to me during my consultation?  “I’ve never seen anything like that!”  Now imagine my embarrassment and my elation.

My embarrassment: because he also did Kate-Plus-Eight’s tummy tuck so I’m assuming my pouch was worse than hers after eight babies? My elation: I wasn’t just copping out or taking the easy way out. I had done all the exercise and eating right that I could, but this pouch was never going away on its own, according to him.

Before my surgery, I was self-concious, my clothes always looked sloppy, and I refrained from ever doing anything that required a bathing suit.  All my clothes had to be baggy and oversized to hide my ‘fupa’(mature rating ahead: fat-upper-pussy-area, yes…it’s a real slang name for the stuff).  I felt sloppy and dumpy everyday.  My family suffered from my insecurity about my body because I didn’t participate in a lot of things an active family does. Money was an issue, but I took on a part time job for a year to save up.

Image  Abdominoplasty surgery.

Was I too vain? I don’t think so.  I stuggled for a long time with my decision, but I believe feeling better about yourself does wonders for your outlook on life and for your relationships.  I’m a better person now.  Sad to say, it was an external thing that held me back.

Do I still think the media sucks when it comes to beauty image and young girls?  You’re damn right!  They are unrealistic and relentless in their expectations.  Do I think it’s wrong to take pride in how you look? No way!

Will I get the Lifestyle Lift someday so I don’t start looking like a bassethound? Maybe. I’m feeling old and worn out. I don’t want to look different or beautiful or like Angelina Jolie.  But I do want to feel good about my first impression and my thirty-first impression.  I want to feel good about myself, inside and out.

Before and after.  Image  Lifestyle life photos.

In the words of Katy Perry ‘Baby you’re a firework, come and let your colors burn.’ …inside and out.

Am I wrong?  When is plastic surgery okay?  When is it too vain?

I’d love to hear your opinions.

Love, Josie

Comments

  1. Great, thought provoking post. As the mother of a nine-year-old girl man do I struggle with this topic. Sounds to me like you made the right decision for you and that last bit is the key. Let’s say it again: FOR YOU. You didn’t do it for anyone else but yourself and there’s nothing wrong with that.

    • Josie Matthews says:

      Hi Avery! I try like hell to feel that way, but its not easy. Would you ever get plastic surgery? I have some women here struggling with gastric bypass, breast reduction, ‘ole lady’ (like me) nip and tuck decisions and its tought to counsel them. Its a fine line between vanity and self esteem….
      Thanks for being a fan!
      Love, Josie

  2. I don’t think there is anything wrong with plastic surgery (I would do it in a heartbeat) but I think we need to be weary of how it would affect those little girls in our lives who are at a very impressionable age.

    • Josie Matthews says:

      Hey Ilove makeup! (Anna?)
      Thanks for stopping by! I totally agree with you! Thats why I sometimes get so conflicted. The important thing I think we need to take into consideration is ‘will it make a positive difference in the person’s life?’ Young girls wanting to have Angelina Jolie’s lips or Jennifer Aniston’s nose need to first learn who they are and how special they are from the inside. Hence, why I despise the media’s interference in influencing our young girls. As we get older however, our physical attributes change so much, there is a ‘sense of loss’ if you will, over your face changing, your body changing. Things that can’t be changed any other way. It’s difficult. I never thought it would be when I was young. I always said I’d embrace my wrinkles! But that ain’t happenin’, Girlfriend! Now…If your creative little self could hike it to NY and give me some good makeup tips that’d be AWESOME!!! Checked out your website! It’s great! Love, Josie

  3. HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU, HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU, HAPPY BIRTHDAY DEAR JOOOOOOOOSIE, HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU!!

    Awesome post, girlfriend. Like you and Avery alluded to, I think it comes down to motivation (being writers we are always thinking about motivation, aren’t we?!). Like you said, you didn’t set out to become someone else, you wanted to clear a hurdle that held you back from embracing life’s fullness. Holy crap, I totally would’ve gone for the tummy tuck too, had I given birth to *12* pound babies. Lordy.

    I’m all for women having “procedures” if it helps their self-esteem. But it’s a touchy line isn’t it? When does it go from making you feel better to an obsession with your appearance?

    I would love to give my “girls” a little boost (what previously breastfeeding mother wouldn’t?), but I’ve decided I can’t bring myself to do it for two reasons… 1.) my daughter – I want her to watch me respect my body (after all, there’s nothing *wrong* with them and they don’t hold me back in any way); and 2.) my son – I don’t want him to grow up with an unrealistic expectation of what women’s bodies should look like.

    Yes, how vain is too vain? Great topic, honey. Smooches!

    • Josie Matthews says:

      Hey pardner! Great thought about your son! Perfect boobs are such an anomoly aren’t they? What constitutes the perfect looking boob? Such a personal thing so why bother changin’ what you got! Now the ‘fupa’? That things was scary!!! Ill send you pre and post surgery photos someday. Blech!!!
      Love, J

  4. Sarah Okins says:

    Amen! Beautifully said! The both of you are beautiful and amazing women with admirable qualities! Your blog is always a joy and insightful to read! I have passed it on to several people, suggesting that they read it! :) Thank you!

  5. Happy Birthday Josie! I turned 50 last year and my therapist says I embraced it really well. Lol. Plastic surgery? I don’t think young girls should take that step but frankly I am in awe of Plastic Surgeons. We are good friends with a Plastic Surgeon and I remember telling him and his wife at dinner one night… Artists use various and at times exotic materials to mold into people. Plastic surgeons mold people. A gifted art if not abused. My friend also specializes in male gynecomastia. It’s men who have enlarged breasts and are too embarrassed to wear t-shirts or go to the beach, gym, and whatever else. Is that vanity? Tummy tuck, breast reduction…I love the beauty these people do in self-esteem boosts.

    Great post! Love ya!

    • Josie Matthews says:

      Thanks Karen! My surgeon was so wonderful. The whole staff was so welcoming and warm. Like a family. I had not one single problem and was back to running in 3 weeks! Im definitely a success story. Anyone who can be a better person inside because of how it makes them feel outside is a success story.

      Love you! J

  6. Another thought provoking post! I’m the same age as you Josie, and every time I look in the mirror I can’t help myself from pulling my facial skin tighter. My dimples are now indents! I’ve thought about fillers, but I think that’s as far as I’d go, but it’s really a personal decision. Ask me about plastic surgery in ten years and I may give a different answer. It’s a shame that society sees men as growing distinguished and women as getting old. Hey, have a Great Birthday! Hugs, Renee

    • Josie Matthews says:

      Hey tootsie! Yes, men get more distinguished looking, and we start sagging. Not fair at all!
      I worry about shootin’ chemicals into my skin, afraid of the long term affects. Lots of girls here in my town do Botox and Restalyn…They even have parties for it where the md comes to the house! Im afraid if I get my ‘brackets’ around my mouth filled Ill look like a chimpanzee!!! Yikes!!!
      Love ya! J

  7. Happy birthday!
    Well done post, and something every woman thinks about when she reaches a certain age. I’ve been past the age for awhile now and continue to vote no on surgery…so far. That could change any day, depending on what the mirror tells me. I think if I stop liking me, not just how I look, it will be time for surgery.
    L. J.

    • Josie Matthews says:

      L.J. How could anybody stop liking you? I could never stop liking you! You are beautiful inside and out! You are one of the few women I know that looks more beautiful now than ever!!!!
      Thanks for the birthday wishes!
      Love you! J

  8. Mary Roya says:

    Yes, I would get plastic surgery, in a heart beat. I have lost 60 pounds. I have loose skin that will never snap back. So it just hangs down. I will never be able to wear short passed my knee. I would love from my under arms not to wave when I do. It is costly.

    • Josie Matthews says:

      Oh Mary! Sixy lbs!!! That is absolutely awesome! You should be so proud of yourself! YES! That loose skin needs to be taken care of after all your hard work! Maybe a payment plan? Some md’s will work with you. Go for a free cosultation like I did and see what your options might me. I also have ‘wings’ for triceps. Gratitudes to my grandmother. These arms havent seen a tank top in years!!!!
      Keep me posted !
      Love, Josie

  9. Wow, do you think it’s fair you make us think this hard? Plastic surgery has helped so many. Ever heard of a cleft palate, someone who has been in a fire and scarred, I’ll bet they might argue the pros.

    I can’t tell you how many times I sneak out to my mailbox and a neighbor comes by. Argggh, I want to slither back inside my house because, all right, I am vain. I want to look my best when I see people, and, we never have another chance to make a good first impression.

    My nonfiction neighbor is a beautiful woman. Striking. But she hated her nose. So she argued and argued with her parents to let her fix it. She did, and she’s never looked back. Best decision she ever made, it helped her with her self-confidence.

    Here’s where my cons come in. Like any thing that might be too good to be true, plastic surgery can be addictive. Okay, I’ve had my eyes done, my lips. Wow, maybe I can have liposuction. Then comes the credit card bill and your addiction continues.

    There is no wrong or right answer to your blog question, but I can tell you one thing, time for me to go take a shower before someone stops at my door! Great post!

    • Josie Matthews says:

      Hello My little BellWriter!!! Yes! We love to make you THINK! Thats what having ChickSwagger is all about! Moving outside your comfort zones and finding out who you really are!
      Corrective plastic surgery is AMAZING! Breast surgery, facial reconstruction, skin grafting. Medical Science is a wonderful thing.
      Self-Confidence…hmmm…there is that word SELF in there, so do we really need external approval to have SELF-confidence? We are human so I suppose that answer is always going to be a reluctant yes. So take that shower girl and slap on a little blush! Dont forget the bra cause there is nothing worse than saggy boobs in a T shirt….that is unless you’ve got a great rack!!! You go girl!

      Thanks for being with us! Love, Josie

  10. Bookworm says:

    LOVED the post as usual :)

    It’s too vein when you’re 38, size 6 (and a pouch that just will NOT die) and on your second husband-to-be, And after you’re done with that Lypo, you are now STILL tiny down there, but your boobs are now grown double the size!!! Now, that’s f’n vain! And that’s me! Now I need to get a boob reduction, and at 55, I’m a chicken. Now I’m loosing weight and they’ll sag, but F’it! My DH will not permit me to go under the knife unnecessarily (it’s enough that I had necessary surgery). Should have listened to him the first time (he loved my pouch, said it was the softest spot on earth!

    Mel

    • Josie Matthews says:

      Oh Mel!!! Let me get this straight. You deleted the pooch care of lipo? so now your boobs seem too big? God! I love you!!!! And your man who said your pouch was the softest place on earth!!!
      You work that rack girlfriend!!! Losing weight or not, we’ve already decided, beautiful boobs come in all shapes and sizes! You are (were) NOT too vain! You made a decision to make a change to feel more confident. I dont care if you were on hubby seventy-two!
      I do have 3 close friends who have had breast reduction. A good MD can get that covered by insurance and it is the best decision they’ve ever made. Their quallity of life has improved dramatically. My rack? Small and saggy, so no such luck for me. But my man loves me and thats all I need. That and an awesome bra from Victoria Secret!!!!
      Love, J

    • Mel…I’m in a swoon over, “he said it was the softest spot on earth.” OMG. What. A. KEEPER. I identify completely with your feeling of self-consciousness over a part of your body your man loves. For 13 years my man has caressed and paid homage to my thighs…thighs that touch in the middle and that I have hated since the 9th grade. No matter how much cardio I do, they will never be slim. But he thinks they’re the sexiest legs in the world. WTF? I still don’t get it. When will I finally believe him?

  11. If you feel better after and you didn’t starve your children to afford the surgery, then hell yeah. It was a definite thumbs-up with applause.

    • Josie Matthews says:

      Hey Babes! I didnt even take any money from the college fund! Spending money on plastic sugery was a big moral issue with me. My first consultation was 2 years before the sugery . It took me that long to save up and lose the excess weight I needed to. It still bugs me a little. It was famously expensive…Thanks for the support.
      Love You! Josie

  12. Great post – and Happy Birthday. This is something my sister and I often discuss. Down here on the Gulf side of Florida, I’ve seen a lot of plastic surgery. Some good. Some a little off. I’ve seen faces look fabulous but the hands still look wrinkled, causing a sort of mismatch. I’ve seen some natural looking women who seemed to have aged beautifully.(maybe they just had great surgery). As time goes on I think we wear our personalities on our faces and those wrinkles display part of our personality to the world. I don’t know but this is the first I heard fupa and I laughed- I’d heard it called (mature rating ahead) gunt. (oh, that’s an awful word).

    • Josie Matthews says:

      Kylie! GUNT!!! AcK!!! That cracks me up….almost worse than FUPA! That is so funny that you mention the wrinkly hands not matching the smooth face! Im looking at my hand now and I thinnk they are okay…so far. The knees suck though! And I just know that tramp stamp is gonna start looking like a dreaded turnip!!!
      I always thought I’d embrace my wrinkles and I do! I love my crows feet, but the jowels are killing me!! It’s changes my whole face! Its like ‘I’m melting!!!!’ (Wiz of Oz) How ridiculous of me!
      But I guess natural ‘pout’ is better than sugical ‘shock face’!
      Love, J

    • GUNT –LMAO!! That’s so crudely hilarious! :D

  13. FUPA……I once saw a picture of a woman at Walmart with her FUPA hanging out the bottom of her skirt…..wtf! Being a person with my own FUPA….I am not proud of it and I certainly do not want anyone looking at it….especially in public…..I think you get to a point where you hide behind your FUPA, your wrinkles, muffin tops, etc….in hopes no one will notice you…..who you really are. I am more than just my FUPA!
    Thanks for another great post!!

    • Josie Matthews says:

      You are one of the most awesome people I know. Lots of love being sent your way right now.
      Show the whole world WHO YOU ARE, Jen. Through your love, your compassion, your make-me-pee-my-pants sense of humor, your love for life. Little do you know how your one-of-a-kind personality influences me and all the others around you! I notice you! And you make ME a better person! Now, pull up those pants, tuck in that muffin top, and let your colors burn, girlfriend! You’re worth it!
      Love, Josie

    • Hi Jen, you bring up an interesting point about hoping people don’t notice you…hiding. You know, in a way, this is really what all this boils down to. When we don’t like ourselves or are disappointed with ourselves for *whatever* reason (overweight/aging/underweight/unemployed/etc.), we tend to hide. And when we hide, we slowly start to lose ourselves and we don’t even realize it.

      I don’t exactly what point I’m trying to make, only I’ve known this to be true of a lot of people. And it’s ultimately devastating to their self-confidence and self-worth. We all need to remember our inherent worth and take care of our minds, bodies, and relationships.

      Thanks for sharing!! :)

  14. Hi,
    I envy your tummy tuck. I have baby belly, but do an amazing job of hiding it with clothes. It is actually an attribute in belly dancing, though. Skinny flat bellied girls can’t roll or pop the belly when they have none. I think we are all a little vain about different things. I do a series of exercises called Facercize ( Carole Margio) which really works. Ladies I have taken lines off my face and rid myself of a double chin by doing them five-eight minutes a day when I get ready for work. So, yeah, I’m vain and do not have enough money for plastic surgery…then there’s my needle phobia.

    As for going out in public in mu dog washing ensemble, the worst thing is when people recognize me because I want to belive I look so much better cleaned up.

    Josie, I saw your photo you don’t look 49. Much Younger. Happy Birthday.:)

    • Josie Matthews says:

      Hi Morgan! You are so sweet and yes! Im 49! Time goes so fast!!! I actually did the sloppy sweats- hair in a headband- no makeup thing today and felt like crap! It never fails….
      If I belly danced with the belly I had before, that ‘pop’ you talk about, would have taken a few people out, Im afraid. But its just nicely rounded now…perfect for a pop! You’ll have to teach me how!!

      Facercizes sound perfect! I can totally see how something like that would work, because our face has so many mucsles in it! Im going to google it! Thanks for the tip!

      I dont think we are vain…I think we have great self-esteem and want to give the world our best! Thats called Chick Swagger!!!!
      Love J.

  15. I’m not a surgery kind of gal, but as I get older, I’m totally beginning to see how a face lift might be a wonderful thing. When did I get my grandmother’s jowls? If you feel great after your tummy tuck, that’s wonderful! And shame on your doctor for making you feel bad about yourself. Really, ladies, how many of us has tummy pouches after having kids. *raising my hand* But for now, I’m still holding off and trying to “age gracefully.” :-) I loved your post.

    • Hi Teacher, thanks for stopping by Chick Swagger! I’m raising both my hands! LOL :)

    • Josie Matthews says:

      You go Girl!!! Aging gracefully is an exellent way to ‘Let your colors burn!’ Thanks for the support and for being part of our Chick Swagger family! Im going to try Morgan’s ‘facercizes’ for my jowls. You in with me girlfriend? (is THAT how you spell jowls? Misty!!! Where is my spell checker!!)
      Love J

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