By: Anna Ford
I don’t fit the stereotypes that come to mind when someone calls a person a “confident girl,” but I also don’t fall under the category of “insecure.” Sure, there are physical attributes of famous actresses and models that I’ve admired; it’s just that I’ve never felt motivated to change the way I look. That is, until I decided to have breast augmentation.
After graduating from a fairly well-known fashion school, I became a full-time styling assistant in Manhattan. Although this may sound very fabulous, like something from an episode of Sex and the City, it was more of a behind-the-scenes, manual labor kind of job. Despite the grueling schedule and measly salary, it was the career I’d imagined as a little girl, and I couldn’t have been happier.
When it comes to fashion, you’re in — or you’re out. I decided to be “in.”
With this decision came the understanding that I would have to temporarily sacrifice things such as personal upkeep and a healthy diet … not to mention even the faintest hope of a love life. The only “Big” in my story came in the form of a big promotion that landed me at one of my favorite luxury brands.
I worked hard, got lucky, and stayed true to myself. After spending years fulfilling others’ creative whims, I was given the chance to make my vision a reality. Here’s the thing: When you’re finally given a pedestal to stand on, you should make sure that you have something to say.
During the initial stages of my new role, I remember struggling to align my ideas. I had plenty of thoughts, but I needed to package them into something that was understandable, relatable, and most importantly, something that was mine.
One afternoon, I decided to leave the office a little early to clear my head. And nothing clears my head like a shopping excursion. First stop: an up-and-coming designer’s new downtown store.
The designer chose a “minimalist” theme, which roughly translates to white walls, cement furniture, and lighting that burned with such intensity, the air felt alive. There wasn’t a surface in the store that could escape being devoured by the white light, including my body.
Standing in the fitting room, I had a very open and honest discussion with my body in a way that I hadn’t since I was in my early 20s. I talked to my gangly legs, and I rapped a verse or two to my small (but cute) bum. As you might imagine, they didn’t have much to say back to me.
Then, I decided to look at the part of my body that had been a point of insecurity for most of my life: my flat chest. I always assumed that I would develop breasts later in my life, but I sadly never received the bountiful gifts that I so keenly wanted.
Eventually, my eyes traveled up and landed on my face. “Dissatisfaction” is the only word that accurately describes the expression that stared back at me. There were, however, countless words that came to mind when I thought of what I should do next.
Standing in that fitting room, I decided I was going to undergo breast augmentation. I didn’t know who would perform the procedure, or why I hadn’t made this decision sooner, but I did know that I wouldn’t continue to allow myself to feel dissatisfied.
There are a number of details a person must consider before a breast enhancement procedure. As with choosing a wedding dress, there are often many people involved, “fittings” requested, and experts called upon. I picked up a bit of wisdom along my journey, and there are a few things that I must share before ending my story.
First, verify your potential surgeon’s credentials. The American Board of Plastic Surgery makes it easy to check a surgeon’s certification through its online directory. Like a doting mother, I’ve sent this link to every girlfriend who has even hinted at the desire to have a procedure. It’s that important.
Also, there seems to be a hidden benefit to planning a breast augmentation — the process can be fairly glamorous. That’s right, glamorous. The range of breast implants available is on par with the number of shoes one may try on during a typical visit to Bergdorf’s. There are different implant shapes, sizes, and materials to choose from when designing the look you want. Also, the FDA dedicates a section on its website to providing up-to-date information on approved silicone and saline breast implants, making it simple to select from only the safest possibilities.
If you’re like I am, you’ll need to see your options from every angle before committing to a purchase. While most plastic surgeons offer before-and-after photos in their offices, many also provide a selection online. Because my mother had a few questions about her options for facial rejuvenation and body contouring, I used The American Board of Plastic Surgery’s online directory to find a certified doctor in her area. Actually, I found a practice with two board-certified plastic surgeons and an online before-and-after photo gallery with pictures of their patients.
After undergoing breast augmentation, I headed to Long Island for a week to visit my parents while recovering. About an hour after I arrived, they asked me what “his” name was. I started to tell them about my surgeon and the importance of board certification when they cut me off and clarified that they wanted to know whom I was dating.
They said they had never seen me so happy, and due to my sudden interest in my physical appearance, they assumed I was in love.
I’ve had a number of happy moments in my life, but the joy is usually anticipated. I couldn’t have predicted how breast augmentation would change the way I looked at myself, and how others perceived me.
Feeling confident in one’s skin isn’t an easy goal to achieve, but that’s often the case with worthwhile objectives. The happiness that accompanies genuine self-confidence makes hard work, late nights, and illuminating fitting rooms just background noise.
In case you were wondering, I found a way to align my ideas at work. I decided to remove fear from the process of sharing my ideas — and to always put my best heel forward.