The waiting room of a plastic surgeon’s office is maybe the least body-positive space in which I have ever dwelled.
Before-and-after pictures, slogans about being a whole new you, implied promises of a better life if only you looked a certain way — all pretty gross stuff. The words from my surgeon were at times equally cringe-worthy. “Cuter” was blurted out once or twice. What was I even doing there? Wasn’t this all just bullshit? Couldn’t I just go about the rest of my life with a little jiggle under my chin?
Even though my double chin and I go way back — to my birth to be exact — the story of us turned a new chapter only a few years ago. While it was something that I always noticed and wasn’t my favorite feature, it didn’t really bother me while I was in my largest body. My face was round, my everything was round. It was generally at peace with it.
Gradually, my body became smaller as a by-product of ED recovery and, of course, that wasn’t all roses. It was traumatic at times and required a lot of unpacking and re-loving. I mourned the space I used to take up. The sudden uptick in objectification I experienced at the hands of men was depressing and frustrating. I also had to learn to embrace a lot of loose skin, especially after giving birth to my son. After a while, I returned to a place of peace around my body except for one loose, jiggly area — my chin.
This was not the same chin I spent almost 30 years befriending. This was a more laid-back, loosey goosey, free-wheeling chin. This chin was BFFs with gravity. My distress about it was immediately apparent to me and luckily by then, body positivity had given me the wonderful gift of patience and compassion for my body. It allowed me to take my appearance a little less seriously as well. So I would tell myself it was just skin. I would remind myself I was worthy and beautiful with it, not despite it. I would even give it funny nicknames like Wigglepuss or Mr. Gobbles. I pretty much threw all of my BOPO weapons at it. I even submitted a picture of myself for a babes-with-double-chins roundup! Still, the dissatisfaction nagged. I couldn’t decide what was worse — the feeling itself or the failure to conquer it.
Liposuction crossed my mind casually yet I spent another year in fear of even looking into it. If the procedure was unfeasible, requiring too much time, money and energy, then I would return to the drawing board on fully embracing or at least getting neutral with my Lil’ Jello Jiggler. When I found out it was completely feasible, more emotional challenges surfaced.
Seriously considering changing this part of my body made me feel like I was slapping every woman who looked like me square in the face. With this line of thinking, my double chin had become more than a piece of flesh; it felt like a political platform. It was no longer a part of my body I just couldn't get satisfied with and learn to love and embrace no matter how hard I tried. It became something I felt obligated to live with. I’m a plus-size fashion blogger who contributes to a movement that tells people they are perfect as is. Not being able to believe that for myself makes me a hypocrite, right?
Wrong. It makes me human — a human, autonomous woman with agency over her own body.
Body positivity is not a naturalist movement. If that were true, you would have to kiss your makeup, your nail tech, and your hair stylist goodbye in order to embrace body positivity. BOPO people alter our appearances all the time as a form of self expression. We continue to adopt a select list of beauty standards, namely the ones we feel serve us in some way. I feel served by eyeliner and tattoos and boxes upon boxes of hair dye. I wondered if liposuction would serve me as well.
As it turned out, it did. It’s not just the result, which I knew and can confirm is not a magic cure-all that makes me completely in love with my face every minute of every day. It’s the fact that I am now more comfortable in my skin without feeling like I went to extreme measures in order to achieve that comfort. In the end, my decision feels balanced. Finding balanced ways to love and accept your body is a big part of living a BOPO life. Feeling like we have choices over what we can do with our bodies is, too.