I lost a friend today.
Over a decade of trust, support, sharing and love has been released to new beginnings.
She dumped me because I did not support her during her surgery to have implants placed in her breasts.
She didn't directly ask me for support, I might add, but after the deed had been done I was told she wanted it.
I only wish she saw more clearly the way I do support her.
How I love her the way she is, for who she is.
How proud I am of her for breastfeeding her three children.
We have had this conversation at least a handful of times over the years. I know this is not a decision she has taken lightly
or made flippantly.
In such chats I would support her in the only way that feels true to me ~ to encourage her to value herself despite the intense pressure of society and it's unrealistic expectations of having the perfect body.
We once discussed telling our daughters and tried to perceive how they may view such elective cosmetic surgery.
How does one explain to girls (who often feel inadequate) that they are perfect as they are; yet at the same time explain that women (feel inadequate too and) desire to make changes at drastic levels.
What is the difference? Are we endorsing the need for the perfect body to our daughters?
We talked about her personal health issues and the risks associated with surgery for her. We talked about the pros and cons and if it really mattered, or if it just seemed to matter. We talked about happiness and we were happy while we talked.
So once again I am pondering conditioning, and feeling another point has been scored against womankind in it's battle against mass media's objectification of women, soft-porn as advertising for everything, hard porn as part of everyday orgasms, sexualisation of women's bodies, cultivating of girls and grooming them into laydeehood rather than womanhood .. all very true,
but I'm not learning anything new here, you?
Perhaps my friend thinks I dont approve of her for the decision she made; though the opposite is true. I approve of her no matter what. I understand how she feels the way she does about her body and I don't scorn her for that.
I deliberately chose to keep a respectful distance when she was going through her surgery and recovery.
I can be quite serious on matters of body image, having spent a few adolescent years battling anorexia bulimia.
Surely I would be a downer to the party.
My friend and her new breasts can have a drink and celebrate with friends her sexy new look, and I'll just politely not comment on her facebook status updates.
I worry about her, though I hesitate to share it. I worry that if she cannot love and approve of herself now, breast implants won't fix it. How will her self-image be when she is older and looking less like the perfect body?
Will she love and approve of herself then? Will she be happy?
Or will her mind move to the next 'imperfection'?
Will she constantly be chasing happiness in this way?
When my friend was breastfeeding she looked gorgeous, by whatever standards. She maintained her size 8 figure, and now had perky, shapely breasts full of milk. Stunning. Me, I put on weight when breastfeeding and seriously need to focus on positive self-talk. "My changing body is perfect in providing for my babies and doing what nature intended." It is difficult not to focus on the desire to drop weight after weaning and simply enjoy being a juicy lactating Mumma in this moment.
I, too, am scared of not meeting my own internalised image of how I want to look. An personal vision based of my own foul cliched conditioning, combined with a little successful un-conditioning, self acceptance and love.
I search deeper and realise that many times I have complimented my friend on a new haircut, funky pants, tattoo, pretty dress, kids outfits, etc. So what is the difference with breast implants ~ it's all about appearance right?
I love questioning like this; love that chains can break in my mind allowing new doors to fly open and cast more of my conditioning away.
I love talking to my friend about it.
To my beautiful friend, it is a pity we won't be having conversation around these concepts, as we have always had the ability to exchange ideas together without heated emotion, and, because of that, and so much more, I will miss your friendship.
Wherever your road takes you, YOU will always be there :)
I love you always.