This post first appeared on LilliesandLove
When Renee Zellweger's "new face" hit the headlines yesterday morning I was as taken aback as everybody else. I just couldn't believe it was her - she looked completely different. I shared the photo on Twitter, as did thousands of other people, and soon enough her name was trending as the images began spreading across the world.
As more and more images came to light, I looked at them in detail, trying to find any trace of the Renee so many of us have come to know and love, but I struggled to find familiarity. If somebody had shown me the photo and asked me to guess who it was, I would never have named her; it's like looking at a totally different person.
As the day went on, I saw more and more people commenting and social media went crazy.
"What's happened to Renee's face?"
"What has she done?"
"I'm so sad"
Then I got to thinking. None of us actually know what has happened or - if she has had surgery - the reasons why she decided to do it.
So who are we to judge?
When I was 20, I had cosmetic surgery myself. It wasn't to make myself prettier, more attractive to men or sexier; I did it because I was desperately unhappy in my skin. I hated my appearance so much that it began to affect my everyday life, my health and my relationships with other people. I would have panic attacks and feel faint when I was in public because I felt people were looking at me, laughing and staring - of course they weren't, but in my mind I was a hideous monster and I would never be "me" until I had the surgery.
Remembering this made me feel so guilty.
What a hypocrite I am. If Renee has had surgery, that is her business and we shouldn't be passing judgement - especially when we don't know the reasoning behind it. Not everybody who has cosmetic surgery does so because they want to impress others, look younger or further their career, sometimes it's simply for peace of mind and soul.
Renee Zellweger, for me, has always been a woman I thought of as beautiful, but with wholesome 'could-be-a-lady-who-lives-down-the-road' looks rather than the unachievable, intimidating Hollywood look. In the photos that emerged yesterday she is still stunning, she's just different.
In my mind, if she has had surgery for reasons of self worth and peace of mind, good for her. However, if she felt the need to change to fit into the unrealistic silver screen images we have shoved down our throats on a daily basis, that makes me sad, because after seeing the comments online in the past 24-hours, I think it's fair to say that to most of us, she was perfect just the way she was.
Ultimately, it's none of our business what Renee gets up to. It's human nature to form opinions and I guess this has been a lesson (even for me, somebody who has been under the surgeon's knife) to not be so quick to judge people's choices when we don't know the reasoning behind them.
And, if you're contemplating making a major change to your appearance, be sure you've thought it through in great detail, take time (months and years rather than days and weeks) and remember:
Never change for someone else, change only for your heart.