Monday, October 15, 2007

How Jaw Surgery Has Changed My Life (or Not)

It's been over 7 months now since I got my new face. One year ago, when I'd fantasize about having a chin and nice smile for the first time in my life, I'd envision myself as suddenly this New Person. Confident, happy, less socially awkward, et cetera. However, in all the Extreme Makeover fantasies, I seemed to push the real truth out of my mind. And that real truth? Confidence comes from within. Seriously. That has been the most important, eye-opening thing I have learned in the past few months. A new face isn't going to make me more confident and less self-conscious. It is 100%, completely up to me.

I know I sound like Dr. Phil, but it's so true. Becoming better-looking didn't magically transform my personality. Just like the people who go in for gastric bypass, who think being thin is the golden ticket to a lifetime of happiness, only to find out that once they're thin, they still feel fat inside. I can relate to that. Sometimes I still feel unattractive inside. It shocked me when I realized that feeling attractive is much, much more a mental thing than a physical one.

I certainly am more confident now, but I can honestly say that the surgery part of transforming myself has been the easy part. After so many years of low self-esteem and feeling ugly, it takes a lot more than a new chin and smile to fix it. It helps, yes, but there is still so much more work for me to do before I feel comfortable in my own skin. And I'm not talking about plastic surgery here.

My surgery has changed my life, just not like I thought. It's taught me a lot about myself and other people. I may not have come out the other side of my swelling as a different person, but it was a good place to start.