(Continued from yesterday's post)
Of course, the doctor had been right to worry about my sexual health. My disgust with my own body crippled my self-confidence, and by my mid-twenties, I avoided even the most casual physical contact. I couldn’t risk a hand accidentally brushing against my abnormal chest.
Years passed. I excelled in college, got a masters degree from Princeton, lived in Europe, and made lifelong friends. Still I lived in a constant state of shame.
May of 2000 found me sullen and depressed. Minnesota’s short, glorious spring was in full bloom, yet I furiously resented the arrival of warmer weather and the need to wear lighter, more revealing clothes.
And suddenly, I’d simply had enough. Enough shame, enough hiding. It was time to act—I would finally seek out the surgery I had rejected as a teen. Two weeks later I listened to a handsome plastic surgeon explain how surgery could reshape me. I left his office with new, unfamiliar hope. I hadn’t lost my fear of surgery, but I had found a determination inside myself that fear wouldn’t prevent me from changing my body and my life.
A month later, my surgeon removed four pounds of excess breast tissue, performed a breast-lift, repositioned my nipples, and contoured my chest with liposuction. This was no minor surgery, but it was the best $7000 I ever spent.
My recovery was slow and painful, but the transitory physical pain was much easier to bear than the emotional anguish I’d endured for twenty-five years.
Do I have a perfect body today?
Certainly not. I’m forty-one years old, and I’m thirty pounds overweight. In other words, I’m an average American male, and I couldn't be happier about it. I have a loving partner, a brilliant dog, a great job--and a swimsuit.