Almost exactly a year and a half ago I did something that many people do, but most people will never admit to.
I had a nose job. I had a rhino-septoplasty to be exact, partly to straighten out the crooked inner workings of my nose. (And admittedly, to also change how I look for the bettter.)
My story begins a little bit differently than most because my surgical dreams were chasing after an old nose rather than a new one — the nose that I had before it was broken by abuse. But the end result was still one I was hoping would change my appearance.
Although wiping abuse from my face was the initial goal, I learned a few surprising things about vanity during the process.
When I first came home after the surgery, I looked like I’d run face first into a Mack truck. My eyes were surrounded by shades of purple that I didn’t even know could exist within human flesh, and my face had swollen up so significantly that I lost all shape to my head.
I basically looked like a football with raccoon eyes and although I wasn’t in any pain, facing the startling reflection of myself in the mirror — and the reality of how slow the bruises were fading — brought with it the shock of reality that I wasn’t going to be able to hide what I had done.
Aside from getting your boob’s done, plastic surgery isn’t generally something people overtly admit to — and I can understand that because I was nervous as to what people might think.
Not only was I afraid people might think I was “fake pretty,” and worse, that they’d think I was vain.
But as I recovered, my opinion on that changed — and I came away with a few insights to boot.
1. Vanity is healthy.
I don’t know about you, but I perform better at pretty much everything when I feel confident. Whether it’s a task that needs completing, an assignment at work, or a social situation I need to navigate, I do my best when I’m feeling the best about myself.
If I feel confident, I do well, and if I don’t, I struggle. I know those feelings are universal because many studies have linked self-esteem and confidence to higher rates of success. The whole “it’s wrong to be vain” theory seems to be misplaced.
It’s fine and even healthy to be vain, as long as you aren’t letting your ego run away with you. Or, more importantly, letting it run over other people.
2. Vanity is nothing to be ashamed of.
Anyone who’s not lying will they want to look good. We buy clothes that flatter our bodies, layer on makeup that accents our features, spend time doing our hair, and we go to the gym to obtain the body we’re after.
And yes, while the surgical route I chose was a bit more drastic than most, it wasn’t done for reasons other than the same choices most of us make on a daily basis. Nobody wants to admit to being vain but we all harbor those feelings.
3. Nobody has the right to judge my vanity.
Anyone who’s ever tried to improve their appearance has no right to judge how anyone else chooses to improve theirs, catty women especially.
We spend hours doing our hair and makeup, but when we see another girl strut by who’s clearly done the same thing, we turn our noses up at her. Ladies, what’s up with that? Unless you want to be judged, don’t judge.
4. My vanity has nothing to do with you.
The way I feel about myself has absolutely nothing to do with the way that I feel about you.
I don’t believe there are ugly people; I think everyone has something that makes them beautiful. Just because I feel pretty doesn’t change that. If you don’t like me based on how I view myself, you have the problem, not me.
5. More women should be vain.
The female gender would be better off if we all felt better about ourselves. Can you imagine a world where every single woman woke up, looked in the mirror, felt confident, and then charged her way into the day?
I’d venture to say that we’d be a more productive society if it were filled with confident women — women who achieved more because they believed they could.
6. It’s our job to spread vanity.
Yep, you read that right. Us women need to stick together. We’re a gender whose bodies are not only constantly changing, but are constantly being objectified.
If we want to be able to stand up against men, then we need to be able to stand together. We need to stop tearing each other down and start building each other up. If vain women create better women, well, then I wish vanity on everyone I meet.
I never thought I’d be an advocate for plastic surgery — and certainly not for vanity — but I know that the change in myself from the surgery has been drastic.
All women have something that holds them back, and if that something is the reflection they see in the mirror, do what you need to do in order to change that.
And if you’re already at a point where you feel fabulous about how you look, I’m happy for you because you have what many women want: confidence. (And if there’s anything worse than vanity, it’s jealousy.)
So, am I vain? Yes, and not only am I proud of it, but I wish the same for you.