Perception VS Reality

I had my first (inevitable) body dysmorphia episode since my surgery the other day. Mentally navigating your way through drastically altering your body as a self-aware BDD sufferer is complex because you really need to reinforce realistic expectations in your mind, while also knowing that nothing about your self perception will ever truly be based in rationality.

My body is weird at the moment, partly because my brain sucks and partly because of the foam pads I have to wear under my compression suit that can temporarily leave lopsided indentations in my sides if I don’t quite put them in the right spot, and I flip flop back and forth between “fuck yes” and “what the hell” like a perpetual game of ping pong. The other day while getting ready to shower, I looked in the mirror and that mean old voice in my head started shrieking, “You look exactly the same as before. Nothing has changed, you’re still huge,” and naturally, I started panicking. Of course, rationally, I KNOW that’s not possible, I KNOW my body looks different now, but in the dark depths of dysmorphic thoughts nothing you know really matters. That voice takes control and all you can do is step away from the mirror and try to distract yourself with something else until it passes. It comes on at will with no distinguishable trigger, hitting you suddenly like a car crash and consuming every part of your being, then as fast as it comes it can vanish just as quickly.

The thing you have to be really fucking conscious of when choosing to undergo a procedure like this is that no amount of cosmetic alteration on the outside is going to kill the demon on the inside. You have to know where the limit is. For me, boob jobs and butt lifts made sense despite the dysmorphia for a multitude of reasons (primarily because my naked body is my livelihood), but there’s been other, more unstable times when I’ve felt an urge to consult to have my jaw shaved down or my nose reconstructed and so far, I do genuinely believe I’ve been able to be in control enough to differentiate between “a thing that will make me feel good and benefit me from a work perspective” and “a thing that is a completely unnecessary modification that would just be bowing down to my mental illness.”

Sometimes I think about writing about my history with this shit, but it started when I was 12 or 13 and there’s just so much. Today, I am fine, so I’m able to write about it objectively and with a clear awareness that unless someone invents a surgery to literally transfer my consciousness into a body that is 5’3 and 105lbs I’m never going to achieve the “small enough” that my brain tells me I need to be. As a rational, intelligent, perceptive person I fucking KNOW damn well my “goal” is unattainable and unrealistic and that any cosmetic surgery I choose to do is a thing to make me feel better, but it will never be a permanent resolution to my lifelong battle against the mirror and my mind. No amount of nipping and tucking is going to free me from the nights where I make up an excuse to bail on a night out with friends because I just felt too fucking fat to wear any of my clothes. The best plastic surgeon on this planet can’t sculpt my body to a place where I won’t get rejected by a boy I like and immediately think, “This wouldn’t have happened if I was skinnier.”

I’m happy with my decision and I’m happy with my results thus far, I don’t want anyone reading this to think otherwise. Above all else, I’m happy that I possess enough self-awareness and clarity to be honest and open about it. I’m excited for my body to heal and feel better and to maybe, hopefully, feel good wearing a pair of jeans for the first time in my life.

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Surgery Struggles

I’m starting to realise how much the last month or so has taken a toll on me, both physically and mentally. Early September had me feeling not quite right for a reason I couldn’t put my finger on but had mistakenly attributed to a possible combination of a sinus infection and a depressive episode. Then the extreme tooth pain hit me and I ran to the dentist to find out that my bottom right wisdom tooth was so fucking infected and impacted that it was almost certainly the reason I’d been feeling so shitty, which began a week of pain pills and antibiotics while I waited to get them extracted. Then it was a diet of pudding cups and protein shakes during that recovery period, and almost as soon as I was feeling back to normal it was time to get half my body chopped up and be stuck at home laying on my stomach for what feels like an eternity. All in all it’s been a lot of time spent cooped up in my apartment feeling bored and alone and frustrated and helpless, with the added punch of my income suffering while I’ve not really been in a place to feel sexy enough to shoot photos for weeks.

Last night a friend and I were discussing how surgery really makes it hit home just how fucking single you are. I had a boyfriend who I lived with when I went through my first boob job back in 2010 and god it was so much easier than my two more recent surgeries where I have, for the most part, had to fend for myself. I was left alone for the majority of the first 48 hours after my second boob job in a state where I wasn’t even physically capable of opening my prescription pill bottles and I don’t think I realised how traumatic this actually was til a few days before this recent surgery when I had a full on panic attack meltdown out of fear of the same thing happening again. If you’ve got a partner who is truly, always there for you, don’t take that shit for granted.

This time I’ve been feeling so trapped and isolated that I can actually feel my mental health plummeting. I’ve spent way too much money on lymphatic massage sessions just to have some form of human interaction that isn’t through Twitter. My lower back is so sore from being on my stomach all day and all night that I’m struggling to sleep and my skin is so itchy and irritated from wearing a tight compression suit 23 hours a day that I want to rip it off my body. I haven’t been taking my Vicodin prescription but yesterday at about 6am after spending two hours going back and forth between my bed and the guest bed and rotating between different pillows and blankets trying to find anything that made me comfortable enough to fall asleep I gave up and popped a pill just to knock out for a few hours before I had an actual breakdown. Yesterday afternoon I ended up walking to a local bar to meet up with some other Austin-based Aussies, and then a good friend let me lay across the back seat of her car and took me to one of my favourite country bars for a drink but after being out for an hour or two it felt like someone was stabbing a screwdriver into my stomach and I had to come home.

But the other day, the morning after waking up about five times during the night to pee out what felt like gallons of fluids that my body had been retaining post-surgery, I took off my compression suit to shower and almost burst into tears of happiness when I saw my waistline and new hourglass figure in the mirror. I’m still a long way off from seeing my final result but I cannot believe this is my body now. It’s incredible and overwhelming and makes all the bad shit I’ve been feeling so fucking worth it. Tuesday I’ll finally get my butt pillow and be able to sit in a chair/ride in a car properly so I will have a lot more freedom. On top of all that, my mouth feels brand new and it’s like I’ve had this great pressure released from my jaw that I didn’t even realise was there, I guess it’d just been there for so long.

Back to back surgery has been brutal and I still have a long, annoying road of recovery ahead, but I know I am going to come out of this feeling better than ever before.

Beauty is Pain

(Note: I wasn’t planning on writing this until I was fully healed but I’m five days post op and legitimately feel like I’m going crazy from boredom so here goes)

Cosmetic surgery is a very strange experience. You spend your whole adult life hating a part of your body, poking and pulling and analysing it from different angles every time you step out of the shower and then you decide to change it and suddenly you’re standing naked in the mirror the night before your surgery thinking “This is the last time I’m going to look like this” and you almost feel a sense of loss because wishing it was different has become such a deeply ingrained part of your routine.

This blog is taking me longer than normal to write because I have to keep standing up to take breaks. I’m currently kneeling on a fluffy cushioned ottoman, resting my elbows on a pillow on my kitchen bench while trying to type this out on my Macbook because for the next few weeks, I am unable to sit down in a chair, confined to only kneeling, standing, and laying flat on my stomach. Last Thursday, I went through a procedure known as a Brazilian Butt Lift.

I’m sure a majority of you reading this have no idea what that means, and are picturing something far more dramatic than the reality – in my experience, a lot of men tend to always assume the most extreme cases when hearing about cosmetic procedures. I can’t even keep track of how many times I’ve mentioned lip injections and had a barrage of guys yell “No! Don’t do that! I hate lip injections, they always make you look like a duck!”, not realising that they’ve literally never seen me without lip fillers and the way I have them placed keeps my pout looking full but natural. With that in mind, I feel like many of you have seen the words “butt lift” and are imagining me with some kind of giant Nicki Minaj Kim Kardashain ass.

The BBL is a fat grafting treatment, it doesn’t use implants or any foreign material, it just uses your own body fat. I had my entire torso (stomach, back & sides) plus my inner thighs and flanks liposuctioned and had that fat grafted back on to my hips and ass. To be completely honest, in the beginning I mostly just wanted the fat on my lower stomach removed. Even at my thinnest and fittest, I carried a pouch of fat on my abdomen and around my belly button that just wouldn’t budge, and believe me when I say that I’ve tried everything. That pouch of fat has fucking plagued me for my entire life. But only getting lipo on one small area ran the risk of making my body look uneven, so it made sense to do my whole torso and get the small, snatched waistline I dreamed of. And at that point, like my surgeon said, if you’re gonna take fat out you might as well use it so I decided to fill in the hip dips I’d always been so self-conscious of that I edited them out of every photo, and use the rest to get a little more fullness in my ass.

So here I am, five days post op, feeling relatively miserable but happy that I finally did it. I’m wrapped in an compression garment that I have to wear 23 hours a day, it’s uncomfortable as fuck but the hour a day I take it off to shower and massage my stomach is so much worse. Half of my body is so bruised that it looks like I got trampled by the wildebeest herd that killed Mufasa, and my cats are pissed at me because I can’t risk having them step on the freshly grafted fat so I have to shut them out of the bedroom at night. I’m on two different kinds of nerve pain pills but am avoiding the temptation of the bottle of Vicodin they gave me because that shit makes me feel TOO good and opiate addiction is really not a path I’m trying to go down. And worst of all, I haven’t been able to play Black Ops 4 yet because I can’t sit in my gaming chair.

If you’ve made it this far I just wanna be clear, I do not want you to tell me “You don’t need plastic surgery” because I truly don’t give a fuck what anyone else thinks I do or do not need. I did it because I wanted to. I made the decision many years ago when I got my first boob job to always be open and honest about any cosmetic treatments and procedures I got, big or small, because a) I firmly believe in removing the taboo surrounding it and think if you have the means to change something and feel better about yourself in this meaningless speck of time you have existing on this earth, you should do it, and b) I don’t want other women to look at my body with unrealistic expectations and think that it was anything other than tens of thousands of dollars worth of needles and scalpels and anesthesia and pain that got me here.

At this stage I’m too bruised and swollen to gauge the final result but from what I can see it looks great. I don’t think I’ll fully process the change I’ve made til later, it’ll probably really hit me when I go clothes shopping for the first time or when I do a photo shoot or something. I’d honestly kill someone to be able to just sit in a chair and chill right now but I can’t, so on that note I’m gonna go back to laying flat on the couch with my neck at an awkward angle and continue binge watching That 70s Show for the hundredth time.

Toothaches & Tailgates

I’ve spent the better half of this week moping around my apartment in fucking agony thanks to a suddenly active wisdom tooth. Generally by my age they would have finished with this kind of bullshit but apparently mine are having some kind of late-onset tantrum so I’ve scheduled an appointment to get all four of them pulled out of my head next Thursday, along with taking care of some other dental work that I’ve been putting off thanks to my hypochondriac tendencies. Four of my back teeth are pretty bad from having braces for so long (towards the end of high school we moved for dad’s job and then I went away to college so I changed orthodontists several times and it fucked the whole process up) so for the longest time I’ve been assuming they’re completely ruined and I will need to get all of my teeth pulled out, and thus avoiding actually getting them looked at. Turns out they’re mostly fine, I just need a couple of fillings in them, so I’m doing all that plus a major deep clean in one hit while I’m already knocked the fuck out. It’s horribly expensive, but saves me from having to make multiple visits and I’m looking forward to my mouth feeling nice.

I was attempting to do ‘Sober September’, a thing I did last year and felt somewhat obligated to do again because I truly believe my stubborn commitment to a month of no alcohol was the only reason I didn’t attend the Route 91 festival where the Vegas shooting happened. Any time I do a sober month I’ll try to tell myself it’s for health but really I’m just trying to drop a few pounds. Right now that’s actually not something on my agenda so my motivation kind of slipped and once I was presented with the opportunity to attend my first ever college football tailgate, sobriety went out the window and I was pounding beers in a sea of orange at a UT frat house pondering how much of a massive hoe I would have been had I got to experience American college life as a 21 year old.

Tailgates have many things I enjoy rolled into one – day drinking, sports, the potential to meet cute boys who like day drinking and sports. I think tailgating at UT home games might be my new favourite activity for the next few months. Speaking of boys, I am finding it inexplicably difficult to meet guys in Austin. Everyone bitches about how hard dating is in LA and I moved to Texas with high hopes of things being “different” but lemme tell you, I’ve lived in multiple cities in two different countries and dating fucking sucks EVERYWHERE. Maybe I’m the common denominator and I’m doing something terribly wrong and just don’t know it, but I feel like a lot of people feel the same way as me. Who knows. I’m currently in the pessimistic phase of my emotional cycle: “I’ve given up on the hope of ever finding love so I might as well just find someone hot to have casual sex with” and that’s going poorly. My bar is honestly SO LOW right now (even my therapist said so) and somehow, guys are still managing to fuck it up. It is truly baffling.

The Palms: A Mémoire

I’m currently in Vegas sitting in my room at the Palms. The last time I was in one of these rooms was just over two years ago when I was working for Monster Energy as a DJ for the Supercross events, I was still waiting on my first payment to come through from them and I was so broke I could barely afford to eat while here and had to get someone else to check me in to my room because I didn’t have enough money in my bank account to pay the security deposit. I vividly remember standing in the lobby almost in tears, so stressed and embarrassed because I couldn’t check in, frantically making phone calls trying to figure out what to do. This time, I’m sipping a latte in bed while debating whether or not I want to go to the mall to buy myself a pair of $875 Valentino Rock Stud sandals for my birthday. I could give you some kind of motivational speech about never giving up and chasing your dreams but in reality all I did was trade in DJing for getting naked on Snapchat… despite that, it’s still crazy to think about how much life can change and how you never really know what’s coming up next.

I’m hosting a strip club pool party today which I’m excited for but also low key anxious because I’ve hyped up my Snapchat so much on the premise that this party will be fucking crazy, and what if it’s not? That being said, if there’s one thing I’m good at it’s getting shitshow drunk and turning anything into a wild party so I guess either way, I’m gonna be fine.

Birthday Month

August has turned into such a crazy month (Miami last week, Vegas this weekend to host a strip club pool party, Houston the following weekend for my friend’s dad’s birthday bash on the ranch complete with live country music and fireworks, then New Orleans the weekend after that for Southern Decadence and a close friend’s 30th) that I barely have time to celebrate my own birthday on the 23rd. It’s kind of a blessing though because planning birthday stuff for myself turns me into a weird anxious dipshit who feels like they’re inconveniencing everyone so I think a low-key dinner/drinks thing on my actual birthday sounds calm and nice.

I’ve been trying to get back on the ‘dating’ bangwagon (this was a typo but I decided to leave it because bangwagon seems somewhat appropriate) lately and I’m already completely fucking over it. Feeling just about ready to once again give up on finding something serious and drop my age search to 23 to try to find hot frat boys & college athletes to hang out with because at least they’re fun and have nice arms and I won’t get emotionally invested and get my feelings hurt. I’ve been off the hoe train for a long while but maybe (late) summer 2018 is the time to get back on board.

It’s weird being in a position where random guys online tell you all the time, “How are you single? You could have anyone you want, dating must be so easy for you!” when that really could not possibly be any further from the truth. Dating never came easy to me, I’ve always been someone that a lot of men pursue sexually but rarely romantically and the last time I had an actual boyfriend was 2010. I don’t really know why that is, like I’m not jealous or demanding or controlling, I’m actually pretty fucking chill. Maybe I’m TOO chill. Sometimes I wonder if I seem too independent, too free-spirited, and that translates as not interested. Maybe men want to feel needed and I come across like I don’t need anyone. Maybe I just have commitment issues or maybe I still have too much shit I need to unpack in therapy before I will be ready for anything like that. Maybe it’s just not meant for my life no matter what I do. Who fucking knows, man.

At least for the next few weeks I’ll be too busy with travel and friends to give it much thought!

Kids, and Why I Don’t Want Them

“I think the reason I find it so difficult to be satisfied with my husband is because, like, realistically I know I could have literally anyone I want… you know what I mean?”

“Um well no, I’m not really sure what it’s like to think that”

“Oh, well, I mean it’s different for you. You don’t want kids so you’ll probably have to settle for what you can get.”

Although this was a conversation I was involved in many years ago, those words are burned into my brain and I can still hear them as vividly as when they were said aloud while driving along a highway at night back in 2009.

I’ve known my entire life that I don’t want to have children, in fact I don’t think there’s many things about myself that I am more certain of from the absolute core of my soul. It’s difficult to explain how I feel, because when it comes to the concept of motherhood, I simply feel nothing. I can’t remember a single instance during my entire life that I ever felt any kind of connection to the idea or a desire for it, no part of it elicits even the slightest emotional response in me beyond “no fucking thanks”. As for pregnancy, I’m borderline phobic. Images of heavily pregnant stomachs make me feel legitimately distressed and uncomfortable, and I can’t even fathom the idea of something actually living inside me. On top of all that, I believe this planet is completely fucked both environmentally and socially, and it’s not a place I would want to bring a child into anyway.

It’s a frustrating position to be in, because people will always tell you that you’re wrong. That you’re not a “real” woman if you don’t want to have a baby. That you’re “missing out on fully experiencing life”. And more infuriating than any of that, the condescending, smug nod of the head followed by, “Mm, you’ll change your mind one day.” That last one has slowed down now but when I was younger people would tell me that all the time and I would get so goddamn angry! I wish people would understand that it’s a good thing that at least I KNOW I don’t want kids so I’m not going to fucking have any, rather than just popping one out anyway because society says I should and ending up being a terrible parent.

But coming back to the conversation at the start of this blog, it’s also something I am deeply insecure about. Once you hit late 20s, not wanting kids makes dating progressively more complicated because it’s something so important that needs to be discussed early. Bumble is populated with men in my age group whose bios read “No kids, but want them”. Even guys on dating apps with pics holding their niece or nephew make me feel unsettled because is that a subliminal “Look how good I am with kids” message? My biggest dating fear is getting into a relationship with a guy who is ‘on the fence’ about it only to have him decide a few years down the track when the biological clocks start ticking that yeah, he actually really does want to be a dad, and I wind up being left high and dry for another woman who is willing to provide him with that. At the same time, I would never want someone to sacrifice that for me. Parenthood is such a deeply personal decision that nobody should have to compromise on.

Guys online always say to me, “How do you have trouble dating, you’re so hot” as if having some degree of conventional physical attractiveness overrides all the other complicated layers of bullshit that go into finding a suitable long term partner. I guess most people just assume that most women want to have a baby so they don’t take this kind of thing into account.

Maybe that person all those years ago was right, maybe my absolute aversion to motherhood does mean I will have to settle. And if that’s the case, I guess I’ll adopt 15 cats and stay single forever.