I Want To Feel Right
September 24, 2019
Am I really seeing plastic surgeons and cosmetic dentists? Yes, I am. Not because I want to look "perfect" or "normal" or the same or fit anyone else’s standards of beauty or conform to some set of expectations, but because I want my body to feel right and function properly, now and in the decades of life to come — and because I want to look at myself and see ME again. And ever since the accident, I don’t. Today, I stared in the mirror for an extended period of time, studying the ways in which my face has changed, a process which continues to shift every day. I’m a real piece of work, all scarred, scraped, swollen, saggy — a battered and crooked version of someone I once knew. When I removed the bandages and touched lightly around my eye, I didn’t just wince in extreme pain, but also in shock because beyond being misshapen visually and feeling a heavy pressure constantly, it is palpably different to the touch, protrudes harshly in new places, still boasts scabs and is all kinds of miscolored. I looked at the deepening shades of red and pink across my upper lips, then felt the swollen craggy lump inside (oh hello asphalt), turning my lips painfully inside out to examine the mangled mess that is now my mouth with its gouged gums, out of place teeth that have already changed color from decay, and dental contraptions to immobilize the damaged ones before extraction and whatever oral surgeries are to come. These new realities are not easy to process. I lived with one Erin for twenty eight years — and really did grow to love every part of her. Learning what it means to embrace a new version of me isn’t something that happens overnight, but I will get there, I pray.