“Why don’t you just get your boobs done?”
That’s a thing someone actually said to me. Recently. I was joking with a coworker about being absent the day they handed out endowments — this is my brand of self-deprecating humor 🤷🏼♀️ — so I guess I asked for it. But still…
You can tell the speaker does not know me AT ALL.
“You’re really cute! You just need some Botox!”
That one is a blast from my past as a reporter. It came from a consultant who’d worked in TV news and was ostensibly trying to give me advice so I could elevate my on-camera game. I spent the last six years of my journalism career telling visual stories, and being in my late 30s/early 40s with the beauty sensibilities of a sports-writing — and sports-playing — tomboy, my sun-weathered face was apparently too craggily to be taken seriously in the realm of HD video.
But me? Botox? I was like, “If that’s what it takes to advance in this industry, I think I’m good crawling around on dusty gym floors and dodging referees out on frigid high school football fields for the rest of my life!”
🪦 <— Here lies that job. RIP. 😢
And look at me today: Sitting in a cubicle, or on a couch, usually wearing 10-year-old hoodies and stretched-out leggings, anonymously typing out marketing copy to scrape out a living while prepping for grad school and trying to figure out what I really want to do when I grow up.
Rest assured, my vocation will not depend on bra size or require any kind of aesthetic alterations. I’d prefer it didn’t require a bra at all, but anyway…
It’s not that I’m some kind of confidence poster child, all cozily content in my own skin. Far from it! I just never gave a 🤬 about shallow stuff like wrinkles or chest size. Thigh size, on the other hand…
I guess I always felt like my deep-rooted self-worth issues were my responsibility, and I had to do the work to solve them. Back in my younger years, my strategies were to starve myself and work out three times a day, or binge eat and work out three times a day, and then I started drinking straight tequila by the liter to blot out reality when that other stuff didn’t work. 🙄
Funny how actually taking responsibility for my alcohol addiction and doing the work of recovery has naturally alleviated some of those other issues. Hell, take employment out of the equation, and I’m pretty damn content with my life — or, as content as a person can be living three states away from her family in the midst of a pandemic and struggling with her job.
My marriage, my health, my intellect, my creativity, my sense of balance, my ability to access my spiritual side, my capacity for hope and optimism…all much better now. What else could I really want?
And not for nothing, I actually look younger and more alive today than I did 19 months ago, when I drank my last drop of alcohol — at least in my opinion.
(For my money, as beauty secrets go, quitting drinking >>> injectables and invasive procedures.)
So, yeah, I just marked 570 days sober this past Wednesday, waking up that morning to a fresh bouquet of flowers from my husband, and after gutting out another work day filled with anxiety (and talk of boob jobs), I chatted with my sponsor about Step 12, the part of recovery where you take all you’ve learned, GTFO of your own head and actively help others who need support.
Or, the part where you stop being so damn content. Because the next stop is complacency, followed by stagnation.
I don’t think I’m ready to be a sponsor yet. I mean, if I someday want to become an addiction counselor, you’d think sponsorship would be a no-brainer prerequisite. But people’s relapse stories still freak me out too much; the idea of having to guide someone through what I can’t yet wrap my own head around…it just seems too daunting. Right now, I think I’ll stick to sharing my story, hoping someone out there needs to hear it.
I committed to visiting a local treatment center in a few weeks to speak to residents about my journey.
The last time I did this, I basically had a full-blown panic attack in front of 30 people, but here we go nevertheless. 😳
Sure, I’ll be nervous. I’m nervous right now, thinking about it! But one cool thing I’ve experienced over the last 19 months, when I’ve stretched out of my comfort zone to get more involved in the sober community, is people always meeting me where I am. Accepting me — flat chest, laugh lines, furrowed brow, shaky hands and all.
Substance always trumps style in the world of recovery.
Maybe that’s why this world has come to feel so much like home.