The New Me with Cosmetic Surgery
by Cheryl L. Correia
When a familiar song blasts on the car radio, my mind immediately fades into a past memory. In seconds, I’m removed from the mundane tasks of everyday life and transported to a time when I was a fun, freaky, frolicking younger self. My body gets overcome with a tickly feeling, as if I haven’t a care in the world. Back then, of course, I didn’t, but I didn’t know it then. Like many young adults, I lived in the moment. I thought I would stay young forever. But in the back of my mind, the faint words of my mother continuously reverberated, “One day you will be old.” At that time, my inner voice said, “Not me!” Well hello! Wake up me! That one day has arrived. Or has it?
Time waits for no one. But it wasn’t until after I had my first child that I realized my insatiable cravings for pepperoni subs and milkshakes were detrimental to my body. After my second child, my gynecologist assured me that I would lose the weight. Of course, the road from bearing children to rediscovering my fun, freaky, frolicking younger self—let me rephrase that—feeling good about myself again, was long and tiring.
I had always made a point of trying to take care of myself, but life seemed to interrupt my best efforts. It wasn’t until after my youngest started school that I decided it was time to take care of me. I returned to school and three years later received a degree in education. After graduation, I started my teaching career. Returning to school immensely improved my state of mind. No longer did I have the urge to turn around in a restaurant and make a silly face every time a child burped in public! I felt more mature and grown up. I had a mission.
But although I improved my inner self, my outer self continued to appear in the mirror. I didn’t like what I saw. It didn’t matter if I watched what I ate or how much I exercised. My flabby, over-hanging stomach blob wouldn’t disappear. Years came and went, and I could never get rid of it. It interfered with every aspect of my life. From the moment I woke up, as I took a shower, got dressed, and then went to work, it always occupied my mind. I became dissatisfied and frustrated with my appearance. Finally, during a doctor’s visit, I mentioned my unhappiness with my self-image. The doctor—herself a woman—completely understood and referred me to a reputable cosmetic surgeon. I researched the doctor and found his credentials to be excellent. So I decided to pursue the possibility of having a tummy tuck, also known as abdominoplasty. I know that cosmetic surgery isn’t for everyone. But for me, it was something I needed to explore. The first step was the most difficult: the phone call. Once I made the call, I felt obligated to see it through, and the process just continued. I had the consultation, and the rest is history. It was the best decision I ever made. My self-confidence has soared! Now, when I go clothes shopping, I don’t have to look for “tummy control!” Finally, that familiar feeling returned, and I feel like the fun, freaky, frolicking younger self I had once known.
The lesson I learned is to never give up on myself. I still hear my Mom’s voice echoing in my head. More often then not, I see her reflection in the mirror. She would have been devastated to hear I had a tummy tuck. She also wouldn’t like the fact that recently I’ve tried to erase the lines on my face. Although it was expensive, it was worth the exhilaration of feeling and looking younger. So, I will color my silver locks, fill-in those defined lines, get up in the morning and apply make-up—for myself.
Age is but a number in my head—it’s how I feel and see myself that counts. Sometimes I may look for approval from those I love, of course, but in the end, the one I pay attention to is the person in the mirror.
Photos by thestyleup.com, livestrong.com and blackdoctor.org and thebreastlife.com
Cheryl Correia is an educator at a New Jersey elementary school. She received a BA in Education from Georgian Court College and is certified to teach English as a Second Language. She has been happily married for over forty years and enjoys cooking, yoga, listening to country music, reading, and writing. Because she loves to express personal experiences with a touch of “funny” through written language, she is now exploring freelance writing and is pleased to have found a connection with Silver Sage Magazine.