Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Something I read that made me think

This post is on http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/orthognathicsurgerysupport/, entitled "Unexpected Quality of Life Perk". I was sitting there reading it and realized several times how much I could relate, yet it's about something I've never thought about before--ever--until reading it. It made me think, wonder, and anticipate my own post-surgical reactions.

Posted by permission:

I had upper and lower surgery. Before surgery, I always had a baby face -- no chin and a gummy smile. Like many of you, I was teased
for my looks and took quite a bit of abusive all my life because of
my appearance. I never felt like I was unattractive, just that I had
unconventional looks.

I don't know about the rest of you, but having a weak chin seemed to
have sent out signals to the general population that I was a
pushover. It seems like I had to really fight to be heard,
literally and figurativly, in the work place, in crowds, in the
classroom, basically anywhere.

In fact, I recently saw a tv ad for Fed Ex where a group of
employees are trying to discuss ways to save money. A man with a
weak jaw comes up with the solution of sending things via Fed Ex,
thus saving the company tons of money. Everybody ignores his
answer. Then, the man with the strong jaw, the man sitting at the
head of the table, repeats the exact same thing and everybody
applauds him for his good thinking.

This is exactly how I used to feel at the work place and in other
settings. In fact, I remember the exact sitation happening to me
when I worked in a health care setting where my suggestin was
ignored only to be repeated word for word by another employee. My
response at the time was, "What? Did that sound better coming out of
your mouth than it did mine?" I was used to people not taking me
seriously or dismissing me. Anyway- since the surgery, I now have a
balanced face. And I can't believe what a difference it has made in
how other people view me.

As some of you may know, I am a flight attendant. Prior to the
surgery, I was fighting a constant battle with the passengers.
Generally, if passengers were going to try and get away with
inappropriate behavior, they were going to try and pull it with me
before they'd try it with another flight attendant. I felt like I
was constantly having to keep them in line.

But now, since the surgery, my job has become a lot easier. Sadly,
I suppose it's true what the studies say about people judging us by
our looks. Now that I have a balanced profile, I think others are
percieving me to have a more commanding presence. As a result, I am
not having to work a flight and feel as though I am going through
battle with my passengers. It is amazing how much nicer people are
to me now that I have this more balanced face.

In fact, in general, I am treated much better than I ever was
before. I suppose this is sad, and it does irritate me that people
are so shallow that they allow somebody else's looks to determine
how nice they are going to be to them. But really, you can't blame
the people too much because after all,they are just human and as you
know, human beings are notorious, bless their poor little pointed
heads, for having fatal character flaws.

So for those of you who are still harboring feelings of resentment
from the past treatment you got from people, try not to let it eat
at you. It's not going to punish the general public if you are mad -
they really don't care; all it's going to do is ruin your day and
your good feelings you have for yourself. Remember, when it comes
to the general public, it all boils down to the lowest common
denominator and unfortunatly, the general public, as an entity,
isn't working with very high numbers to begin with.

And for those of you who are about to have this surgery, have fun
and enjoy the way the world percieves you. I tell you, this new
found respect that I seem to be getting from others is an unexpected
perk that I am enjoying quite a bit.

Love, Kimberly


At 4:05 AM, Blogger Mrs. Shanton said...

Yyyyyeah.... That was interesting to me, too, but at the same time I'm holding onto a healthy bit of skepticism. I just am only hearing one side of the story. I start to back away when I hear people cry, "Everyone is jealous of me!" That's a red flag for bad behavior. Not always a perfect indicator, but it makes me suspicious. I've had troubles dealing with some people--previous managers for example, and I've wondered recently whether my receding chin had anything to do with it. Maybe my chin just acted like a big "Kick Me" sign, and I backed it up by being a push-over. But then again, here I am at with a new manager, doing the same work, and he and his group just love me and I can do no wrong. I'm just hesitant to blame everything on my jaws. You know? Because I think looks are important, in truth. And isolated, such as in a first impression, they matter a lot, and they may give people the wrong idea. But then you have a personality, and I suppose if you're very disfigured, or you've been teased a lot (and who hasn't been teased--even good-looking people are teased, I swear) then maybe your personality is formed by how you look, to some degree. But looks just aren't everything. A lot of how you act is learned, and is formed with age and experience, too. I wrote about my own presurgical feelings on my blog early on; essentially I address the same idea. Overbites tend to make people look a bit less intelligent, less assertive. So, I suppose, attitudes are formed around that idea. I note that I am often told I am "outspoken" and part of me wonders if this is because I act like I don't have an overbite, and the disconnect confuses people, who perceive of me as being a bit brash, more than I deserve to be? On the other hand, I believe underbites make people look aggressive and angry, and I believe people psychologically respond to that look in a certain way, albeit probably not intentionally. Oh, anyway. When I'm having a good day, like today, when I was dressed well, and people responded favorably, I wonder to myself, how will I distinguish this treatment, the result of just being positive and smiling and dressing nicely, from the treatment I might get when I don't have an overbite? Will I be able to tell the difference? Will there be a difference? Will the difference be in my head? It's too hard to say.... The people who've treated me most poorly, it turns out, are nasty people in general. I'm not expecting any different treatment next time I see them. If I am treated differently, it'll be because I've lived by the adage that living well is the best revenge. Of course, I mean doing well. Not looking good. Good looks only go so far, and the people who rest on their looks are SO boring and annoying to everyone else.

Keep smiling! Life is short! But don't expect this surgery--or any cosmetic surgery--to change your life. Only you can do that.

At 11:02 AM, Blogger Rebecca said...

Another thought-provoking post. Thanks. :)

At 1:46 AM, Blogger Jaw surgery aficionado said...

I think this is a cool discussion. I touched on it myself on my blog


I hope you'll check it out!


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