Excuse me? Plastic Surgery to Reinvent Ourselves After Divorce?

August 2, 2010 at 5:03 am 4 comments

Ever since I came across this article on the rise of post-divorce vengeance plastic surgery, I’ve been troubled. 

I’ll admit that as my crows feet become more prominent, I understand the appeal of plastic surgery in a way that I never thought I would. 

And I’ll also confess that when I got divorced, I tweaked my hair color a bit. 

But cosmetic surgery is SURGERY. It’s risky, as all surgery is. And it’s expensive. Besides, you don’t want to look like a scary Stepford wife do you?

And as a psychologist, I can say that the motivation for post-divorce cosmetic surgery is founded in a distorted illusion about what makes us feel better in enduring ways. 

Even though I did play with my hair color, what I really did to reinvent myself in the midst of my divorce was get involved in a cause.  Getting deeply involved in a cause not only pulled me out of myself and my personal concerns, it allowed me to grow into a bigger version of myself– I became an author and a speaker, and defined a new role for myself as a catalyst to help others enjoy the personal rewards of protecting the planet for our children. And, importantly, it has given me a profound sense of meaning and purpose, above and beyond my existing work as a psychologist and professional coach, and even beyond the sense of purpose I derived from raising my two young rascals.  

I’m pretty sure I look different– better– but not because of my hair color. I carry myself differently because I have something to say to the world.  I’m on a mission.

For me, the compelling cause is that of ensuring that my boys are able to enjoy a bright future in a world in which they can thrive.  For me, it’s been about Going Green, and Getting Happy. 

For you, there may be  a different pressing problem that calls out for your time, talent and passion. There are problems in your community that need your skills and your spheres of influence, however big or small. You have a lot to offer. Use it! (And I can help you if you want.)

Wouldn’t it be more productive to get involved in an organization that you believe in and donate the chunk of money you’d spend on plastic surgery to a cause that makes a real impact on your community? 

Wouldn’t that be something to feel good about? 

I don’t mean to suggest that getting involved in a cause is just about writing a check to an organization instead of a plastic surgeon. In fact, it’s really about getting to know new people, about throwing yourself into an issue that you care about. 

Back to crows feet. Recently, in a department store I was offered a sample of a skin care product that contained human growth hormone to “trick” the skin into growing new cells in order to reduce aging. I’m an eco parent– I carefully evaluate what I put on my skin and my kids’ skin. There is no way I would put a product on my skin that had human growth hormone in it! Not worth the unknown risks. 

We need to embrace our aging as a reflection of our greater wisdom. Bobbi Brown, the cosmetic maven, embraces her crows feet. She says, “Aging … should be seen as a process through which a woman can gain more vitality, strength, wisdom, and a new sense of her beauty.” (See  more of her excerpt from Living Beauty http://ow.ly/2jwky)

We can age gracefully, enjoy our wisdom, convert the urge for revenge into constructive action– and make a difference in the world.

I thought this was going to be short post, but here I am going on — I’ve got a lot to say!

Isn’t living well the best revenge? Doing good is a fabulous way of living well. What better way to reinvent ourselves?

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Afterthoughts on my eco mom blog post about my Toyota You Can Help Me Fulfill My Mission as an Ambassador for Green

4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. americaninlima  |  August 10, 2010 at 10:29 pm

    What a thoughtful post, one that touches on a topic that deeply affects many women, especially in the U.S. and in wealthy pockets of developing nations. I haven’t done under the knife but I see many women around me being pressured to do so — and doing it. What is disturbing is the extent to which this radical surgery has been ‘normalized’ over the last 3 decades, and I place a lot of the blame on women’s magazines and on TV shows that spin plastic surgery as an ’empowerment’ tool. As you say, it’s surgery; in plain terms, that means letting a surgeon cut up your face with a knife. It’s not the same as dying your hair!
    A close friend of mine, in her late ’50s, recently went in for a neck life (she told me). She actually underwent a full facelife, along with a neck life, botox, the works. She went to a very well known surgeon in Lima, and he dutifully lifted her face up to where it had been in the 1970s, and now she looks like herself only with far less expression. Her face used to be very expressive; she had so much charisma and, yes, was a bit of a flirt. Now those subtleties are gone. It is harder for me to communicate with her because her facial cues aren’t there. The surgeon just looked at her face as a map of ‘problems’ and did not see the beauty of her expressions. The sad thing is, I can’t even tell my friend this because she is so eager to appear younger and beautiful. But it’s been a lesson for me.

    • 2. DrSarah  |  August 17, 2010 at 8:25 am

      Thank you for the comment! And I appreciate the view from abroad!

  • 3. surgery012  |  August 15, 2011 at 10:08 pm

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    • 4. DrSarah  |  August 25, 2011 at 5:15 am

      Thanks for your kind comment! Hope you keep coming back– or even subscribe to the blog! Look forward to seeing you back here again!


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