I feel embarrassed about writing to you about my problem. So much in my life is great—wonderful husband, fine family, good job, even a nice body—but when I go out in public, I still feel bad about myself. I guess it’s my self-esteem. Don’t think I’m nuts, but I think it’s because I have “elephant ears” that stick out like open car doors. My childhood was hell because of them. You’d think I could get past this, but I haven’t. What do you think? Dumbo in Dallas
SAM and CHARLEE:
Dear D in D:
Low self-esteem is a complex issue. It can have many causes, some of which might take years of psychotherapy to solve. But let’s be blunt: there are certain body deformities that society is cruel in rejecting: dumbo ears; weak chin; a mole or growth on the face or body; gynecomastia (male breasts); different sized, undeveloped or huge breasts; a disproportional body (thunder thighs, bubble butt, cankles), or large noses. And sometimes these defects DO lie at the heart of a self- esteem issue.
We’ve written about rhinoplasty in a previous column, so let us say this about the rest: What’s problematic to one person, might not bother another. But we have no right to judge what hurts someone, and much of the hurt starts early, in childhood or the teenage years. If surgery can remove what has caused years of pain and exposure to society’s slights, then if at all possible, do something about it.
As for “dumbo ears,” the procedure might even be done under local anesthesia, and it can be done at any age. After surgery, a bandage must be worn temporarily…but then, like a genie granting a wish, the problem will have vanished. Chin implants can make a “mousy” face into a strong character. Breast reductions, corrections, or implants are widely performed and very successful. Body contouring–for a butt that can be used as a shelf or thighs twice as big as normal– is more difficult, expensive, and involved, but it is widely performed and very effective.
Bottom line: lifelong suffering about a fixable problem is never a good thing. Investigate the solutions, schedule a consult with a plastic surgeon, discuss it with a trusted friend, and don’t be afraid or ashamed. Low self-esteem CAN be skin deep, and a small change can literally transform an entire life.
The 2GGR summary:
Down time: Varies with the procedure…anywhere from a week to a month.
Longevity: Permanent… from now until forever.
Affordability: Runs the gamut from a few hundred dollars into the thousands, but some of these procedures are covered by insurance.
Wow Factor: From the dark night of despair to stepping into the sun.
Send your questions to: 2GGR@Collini.com