A Personal Thank You

First off, I wanted to thank you for being a follower of my work. It has meant a lot to me. (And why sharing the following is so important…)

As a subscriber to my email list and blog, you know I often share personal stuff and this email is going to go even deeper. A month back I sent a picture of my recent “weight loss” and my obsession with body image, which all started back in my teens when I became a fashion model.

AD before and after

To understand my journey, I’d like to share a deeply personal story that reveals my darkest secret about myself. With the exception of closest friends and family, I haven’t shared this with anyone else before.

My “I’m not good enough” Story

In 2004, I got breast implants.

Sure, this may not seem like a “deep, dark secret” because many women, especially in California, get boob jobs. But the only reason I got breast implants is because I wanted my then boyfriend to love me. I was 28 years old and a single mother.  The only thing I felt I had going for me when it came to men was my body.

You see, I may look like I have it all together from the outside, but I would like to share that I have much cooking under the surface that has landed me where I am today.

before-after plastic surgery

I use the word landed purposely, because I always land on my own two feet. Because of this, I suffer from the “Lone Wolf” syndrome, always thinking I can do everything by myself and I don’t need anyone else. Some people respond to negative messaging with depression or addiction, and some with over-achievement. I became a success, but underneath, I still felt inadequate and unworthy. I still felt like I was trying to prove myself.

This “Lone Wolf” mindset started off early, but it was complicated by the message all female models are subjected to:  “troppo grasso.”  At 18, when I was just off the plane in Italy, I was taken to the modeling agency, stripped to my underwear, and measured.  Still feeling bloated and gritty from travel, the first words I heard in Italian were:  “Too fat!”

As a model, I was exposed to a world of perfection: a perfect face, perfect hair and a perfect body.

Years later, a boob job made sense to me in terms of perfecting my body. I felt an immense competition with other women, and when it came to men, I felt my efforts were merely transactional. Lacking heart and intimacy.

Breast Armor

When I became a single mother in my mid-twenties and I fully believed if motherhood were to be done right and clean, it would be done alone.

What I didn’t realize, then, is that my breast implants metaphorically, became breast armor. They guarded my heart. As I went on dates, I met men who wanted to marry me, or take care of me, and my daughter in some capacity, but I didn’t trust their intent or compassion. Instead I kept it all business. I was all about business. My default.

My attitude was very much “I got this. I’ll do it on my own.”  My own money, my own child, by myself – I kept my relationships on the surface so that no one could see the inadequacy I felt underneath. There was nothing about me that was vulnerable. I saw vulnerability as weakness. It has only been recently that I see vulnerability as the true source of power.

I was a single mother starting my own business.  I had ten years under my belt working as a professional model.  I was educated at UCLA.  I had spent a year after college traveling around the world as a backpacking nomad and then travel writer.

I was dating men 30 years my senior, and the armor around my heart continued to grow.  As the accolades, and my success, grew it increased my anxiety to prove myself.

There is a level of desperation in trying to achieve perfection.  Running and exercising weren’t impacting the love handles I thought I still had from my pregnancy, so in 2007, I flew to Beverly Hills and had Liposuction surgery to target those areas. Yes, drive through plastic surgery. I had it handled. I was in control.

Goal Digger

Then comes Goal Digger. If you have been a follower of my work, I was 28 the year I started researching my book Goal Digger: Lessons Learned from the Rich Men I Dated.

Wow, when I was writing the book I thought I was really clever, but I recently reread it, and now I see it as a charade – a manual on how to never to get close to a man. How to never rely on a man. And when I say rely, I mean relying on them emotionally, to know that they will be there.  I convinced myself of my own hype. Today, I find myself still unravelling these stories I tell myself.

Scars Are A Reminder

Recently, my daughter noticed the scars from my breast implant surgery and asked me about them, so I told her the truth: Our scars are a reminder of where we’ve been, the hard work we’ve done, and what we’ve been through to get to where we are.

As a symbol of the progress I’ve made, I embrace my scars. They represent personal growth hard-won.

And I share my scars with you.

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