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May 2nd, 2015 · 0 comments

 { Tori }

“-women can be so critical of themselves and we should all be gentle with each other, because it can be hard to feel beautiful.”

This tender jewel was given me by a friend in a recent conversation on how harsh the public was when sometime faery queen and piano siren extraordinaire Tori Amos underwent various procedures that significantly altered her appearance. I had no idea that she’s a longtime sufferer of TMJ and subsequent trigeminal neuralgia (intense nerve pain), or that at the time of her surgeries her jaw was apparently “completely worn and destroyed, to the point wherein she needed Botox [speculation, this] and eyelifts and jaw/teeth surgery to numb the nerves, open her eyelids, and fix her bite.” (Botox is commonly administered to numb trigeminal neuralgia, and “the eye lift could have been cosmetic but is commonly done to help alleviate eye trouble associated with extreme nerve pain.” My stepmother has struggled with horrible TMJ for most of her life, and while she has not had an eye lift procedure, she has had Botox administered to manage the pain, so there is much truth in that.)

Medical issues aside, it is obvious to most people that she also had work done for purely cosmetic reasons. Tori has spoken candidly about ageism in the music/entertainment industry and her struggle with turning 50; how, she was in a fairly dark place at that time and as a public figure feeling very pressured to “keep up with the 20-somethings.” Obviously plastic surgery has been a part of her coping, and she has since had to learn to step away from that, to embrace the power in aging and not try to preserve her youth. As one commenter somewhere observed, the whole “American Doll Posse” album clearly portrays her cathartic desire to barbie-doll herself and become other people (both older and younger), a desire I can say that I strongly relate to. But she’s a deeply thoughtful and caring individual, she is the same powerful Tori that she has always been, and in her own words, she is learning to step back into her own and move past the issues with aging that she has long struggled with. (Her wise little daughter has apparently been a huge part of that. ♥)

I very passionately feel that, medical reasons or not, it is hands down nobody’s business why she or any other woman (or man) chooses to undergo plastic surgery. Because here’s the thing: it sometimes takes a bit of trial and error before we get to a place where we as women can say that it’s okay that we’re getting older and looking older. I’m not there yet. But I am trying. My mother is absolutely firmly planted there, she dances there, she throws parties there, and she is my shining inspiration every single day. But for many many people, it is not an easy thing to accomplish, especially in a society where so much social esteem is placed on appearance.

In that vein, comments like, “It’s sad that she’s so vain and shallow that she destroyed her face with botox. I used to admire her, but now she’s just freakish,” make me feel physically ill. It’s judgmental and cruel, absolutely presumptuous and completely unnecessary. I loved Tori’s quirky little face, but we all physically change over time, whether it be naturally or surgically, and I’m not going to judge her appearance (or her character based on her appearance) any more than I would judge any other person for their appearance, altered or not. Because doing something like THAT is shallow and sad. We as women should handle each other and our various insecurities with compassion and encouragement, not condemnation and intolerance.

I define you by your spirit, your heart, and the level of kindness with which you treat others. Not by your insecurities. The world is cold enough as it is. And if you are an individual that reacts so harshly to a woman’s personal, private choice to change her appearance in some way, I gently suggest that you perhaps try practicing a little grace. You may feel that someone’s physical alterations are not becoming or necessary, but their body is not your body, their life experience is not your life experience, and insensitivity is not becoming of anyone. Period.

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