The Little Mermaid And Breast Implants

While Crabby is taking a week off on vacation, Cranky Fitness is honored to present...

A guest post by Gaye of Confetti Drop!

Once upon a time, in my early 30's, I was in slamming shape. 5'2", 110 pounds, 16% body fat.

This came after having topped the scales at over 200 pounds, so I was pretty much living the dream! It was the very first time in my life that I didn't have “thigh balls,” or what others refer to as saddle bags. Thing 1 and Thing 2 were gone! It was a miracle!!! But sadly, gone too were my breasts.

I had never been well endowed. All through high school and college I was the girl in the Izod, often bra-less, rocking the tomboy/preppy look.

I had always been athletic and my body suited me. I could do what I wanted and my little size A's would happily bound along with me. Yes, I would occasionally yearn to be the girl in the bathing suit who could make boy's heads swivel just by half-assed trotting to catch a Frisbee, missing with a coquettish laugh (which would make her breasts bounce up and down so that the boys would continue to stare, riveted.) But I knew that I would actually catch the Frisbee! So watch that, stupid boys! And if a boy couldn't appreciate that a girl with a sense of fun and mad Frisbee skills wasn't the better catch (no pun intended,) then I didn't want him anyway.

As I got older I learned that I could do a lot to “dress up" my little breasts. I could wear plunging necklines, and I did! If you have small breasts those plunging v-necks are your best friends. Figure hugging t-shirts...check. Tight ribbed turtlenecks...check. The smaller bust thing only proved problematic when it came to buying dresses, especially if I gained a little weight, which always accumulated in the aforementioned thigh-balls, (which pretty much act as fleshy Tupperware containers, as best I can tell.) Then I could have a 4 size difference between my top and bottom halves. The only celebrity I've ever seen who is shaped similarly is Kelly Clarkson. She's adorable, but I sometimes think of how much shopping her stylists have to do to accommodate her shape. I know that Stacey and Clinton, (from What Not to Wear,) say to just have everything tailored, but come on! Buy the dress, AND pay for tailoring? So I dealt with it and went with separates. Kind of a pain in that it was limiting, but not a big deal. I could manage, and I liked myself fine just as I was.

Now let's go back to the beginning of this post, and I'm in my early thirties. I've had three children. I've gained and lost a lot of weight and am now uber-fit, in the best shape of my life. But suddenly my cute little A cup breasts are swimming in my now “Nearly A" cup bras. Hmmm. How about that. I needed to stuff a "Nearly A" bra? The tight t-shirts and turtlenecks had to go - they would crush my bra, leaving a rippling of fabric underneath. A little disconcerting. Then I noticed that my pectoral muscles actually stood out farther than my breasts. Wait. What? That's crazy. I'm indented? A friend told me that I looked amazing, but that her husband had told her that he'd never want her to look like me - too muscular. Thanks so much for sharing. So did I look masculine? As a child (ages 8- ish to 12-ish) I had often been mistaken for a boy, just at the age when I was beginning to identify myself as a girl, and that had left a mark.

Some of those feelings started to come back. I started wearing make-up to the gym. What the hell? I was in the best shape of my life, but I still wasn't "right?"

No. No! I was fine just as I was. I was happy that my body was strong and in good working order. I had a husband who loved me no matter what shape or size I was (and Lord knows he had seen the shapes and sizes come and go.) I was woman, hear me roar! Feminists unite! I would not feel "less than" just because of my breast size!

And then one day, after a run, I came home covered in sweat - Texas in July will do that to you - and I ripped off my tank top and jog bra. I decided I'd do some push-ups while I cooled down. And it was mid push-up that I glanced down at my bare chest and first saw them. There, hanging off my pectoral wall, were two of Ursula’s Poor Unfortunate Souls from The Little Mermaid.

That's right. If I'd stuck plastic googly eyes on the damn things they probably would have broken out into song. I had absolutely no fat left in my breasts, leaving me with nothing but skin, skin that was now dangling beneath me. My stomach did the same...3 kids...but I had noticed that before and had grown accustomed to it. But this? This was startling. And upsetting. What could be done to erase this image from my brain? I had sea creatures for breasts? Dammit! And at that moment I was either years of expensive therapy, or breast implants. The implants seemed like the more efficient way to go.

But I don't do anything without a great deal of thought and consideration. I am an over-thinker by nature. And surgery of any kind is not something to rush in to. Clearly. So I researched the bejesus out of the subject. I went in to the plastic surgeons office armed with three pages of notes and questions. I went with saline implants under the muscle. I told the physician I only wanted to be a B cup. He argued with me on the point (Texas is the land of BIG -- big cars, big hair, big implants,) insisting that almost every woman he had performed the surgery on had afterwards wished they had gone bigger. I insisted right back that I didn't want big breasts, that I just wanted the Lost Souls banished.

The surgery didn't require general anesthesia which I was happy about, and all went well. But this is a cautionary tale, so brace yourself to be cautioned. Or perhaps advised is a better way of phrasing it. While I have had absolutely no problem with my implants, (I'm knocking wood as I type this,) if I had a do-over I would either opt for the therapy, or, better yet, just accept my little breasts for what they were - - - mine.

Right after the surgery I felt as though I looked like Mrs. Potato head, if Mrs. Potato head came with breasts. (Implants are high and tight and absolutely ridiculous at first.) They were beyond weird to me. One day, soon after the surgery, my toddler crawled up in to my lap to snuggle, laying her head against my new chest. Then she sat up, looked me in the face, poked my breast with her tiny little finger, and proclaimed, "Too big." Indeed. What had I done to myself? When I exercised sweat would run between my new breasts like a river bed, whereas before it had been wonderfully wicked away by fabric. My plunging necklines now looked trashy. Turtlenecks made me look stocky. When I hugged someone my new breasts got in the way. If I pushed myself up and out of a pool they went catter-wonky under the muscle. The implants looked misplaced and odd on my body. I felt uncomfortable in my own skin. Mrs. Potato head needed a cocktail.

Eventually my new breasts began to look slightly more real as they eased in to their intended position, although I am not so deluded as to think they could ever pass as the real thing.

Fake breasts look fake. If you have implants, and your friends, upon learning about them from you, have then exclaimed, "Really? I never would have guessed!" know this...they are lying. They have always suspected as much.

Unconsciously I started to compensate for them. I gained weight.

(Image 6 - Me, heavier)

So now my breasts looked more real, but I was no longer amazingly fit. And I missed that. A lot. And the irony of trading one feeling of inadequacy for another wasn't lost on me.

Now join me in the present. I'm 51 and my implants are 15. I've gotten back into good shape again. I'm not "uber-fit" yet, but I'm working on it. :) And no, I have not had my implants removed...yet. "Why not," you ask?

a) Clothing fits better, there's no denying it.

b) I would be admitting to making a stupid decision in the first place.

c) Additional surgery and additional money would be required.

d) Ursula’s Lost Souls would return, but they would now look like Miracle Grow had been applied.

e) All of the above

If you chose E, you are correct.

So 15 years later, I find myself ambivalent. While I don't really love my implants, I'm not really sure what to do about them. We're kind of attached now. Literally.

Sooner or later they're going to blow. That's what implants do. (If you're considering them know that you will eventually have to deal that.) And then I’ll have to make a decision. Do I replace them, or not? I think I now have the confidence to say, "No, thank you. I am fine, as I am." I think so. Maybe. Maybe I am. I hope so.

Because my great sense of fun and mad Frisbee skills really should be enough for everyone, including me.

*** I don't mean to sound judgey. Whatever makes people feel good about themselves is okay by me, and if plastic surgery does it, that's cool. I get it. Every time I accidentally see my reflection in my computer screen before Windows opens up I consider having my face hoisted, as gravity is taking a heavy toll. I am fighting the urge for now, and trying to accept the coming of age with grace and dignity. That being said, I have added the top local plastic surgeon to my speed dial, because you just never know. :)

Little Mermaid image swiped from Disney; please, attorneys, let us know if you're feeling litigious and we'll take it down.

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