07/09/2012 09:46 am ET | Updated Oct 11, 2012

Does Plastic Surgery Change Your Identity? (PHOTOS)

It's no secret that I love to shop. Anyone who knows me also knows that I love to wander aimlessly around the stores, often losing track of time (and my children -- not to mention my budget). While on a recent shopping trip, I looked at my watch and realized it was almost three o'clock. I freaked out: I needed to find my kids, check out and make it to the dentist by 3:15. Of course, I underestimated the necessary time to get these things done; I figured I could check out and have the children strapped in their car seats within five minutes, max.

Imagine my frustration then, when I handed over my credit card to pay for my purchases and the saleslady began to study the back of the card and compare it to my signature on the receipt. She asked to see my license, then looked at me and said, "Your signature has really changed. I just needed to verify that in fact this was you."

My five-year-old, always curious, ran behind me. Anyone who has kids knows that children have the innate ability to begin the most complex conversations at the absolute worst times. He asked me, "What's a signature, and why does it change?"

I didn't think about his questions until I'd made it to the dentist and was in the chair, my mouth too numb to explain. It got me thinking: My signature had changed, of course it had. My license was from when I was 16 years old. The signature on my license, while at the time seemed formal and absolute, now looked like a scribble. A signature is supposed to be proof of identity and yet it changes and transforms with time.

These thoughts led me to think about plastic surgery and the conversations I had recently had with friends. My opinion is that a face, much like a signature, has a distinct look and shape. They change and "mature," but our faces and bodies remain our own unique proof of identity.

So when my friend decided to have plastic surgery on her face and breasts, I couldn't hide my shock. I was caught off guard -- she had always been one of those cute, perky moms, dressed in the latest trend. (I secretly envied, hated and loved her look, all at the same time.) She said she was a happy person, but felt that her eyes appeared droopy, small and depressed-looking. Her nose, she said, looked sharp and "mean." Her breasts, she said, had always been her "it" feature -- prior to having kids, they were full and sexy. My friend had a clear mental picture of what she looked like, but when she saw herself in the mirror, she was continuously surprised.

A few months after her procedures we met for brunch. She looked magnificent. Wearing a fitted Marc Jacobs dress, she greeted me with a warm smile. I instantly realized she was sitting a little straighter and was without her signature Chanel glasses. She immediately asked, "Do I look any different?" I'm not a fan of plastic surgery, but I have to admit, she looked stronger, more animated and energetic. She told me she was pleased with the results. The changes in her face and body were small, and yet they were just enough to make her feel like an "improved" version of herself. Her breasts were not obnoxiously large; she had just had a slight augmentation and lift. Her eyes and nose looked much like before, but the slight variations were enough to make her feel better. Her eye lashes looked longer than ever, and her expression appeared more vibrant.

In the end, it's not so much about what we look like on the outside, and it's definitely not about how others see us. The most important identity is the one we create. As I signed the receipt for brunch, I chuckled: My large and messy signature was no scribble after all. I am proud of how it looks and have zero intention of changing it.

Check out our gallery of celebs who've gone under the knife below.

Plastic Surgery Regrets