Ahhh Autumn! Fall is awesome! Cozy sweaters, jackets, hats, scarves and boots! This is one of my favorite seasons including pumpkin spice everything!!! YUM! Sorry, back on track… I recently made a trip to the mall in search of some cute boots. As I entered my first stop, I was so excited, God I love shoes!! Looking for my first choice of a Chelsea boot, I picked out a couple and began trying them on. Loved the first pair, comfortable and adorable and not a bad price, but as I checked them out in the mirror my eyes started at the shoe and began the journey upwards. What was looking back at me was immediately cringe worthy. A giant hot mess! Aside from the boots, there was nothing cute about it! Big ol’body showing every ounce of my unescapable and irritating weight gain, awful hair, no lashes and a just a giant sweaty mess, sweet Jesus even my fake boob was sticking out of my top! I was done and I could not escape fast enough! I put my flip flops back on and made a quick dash down the hall, filled with anxiety, thinking everyone was looking at the drippy blimp of a woman walking down the mall. I got into to the elevator taking in a deep breath and back into the car where I succumbed to sobbing. How ridiculous!
So let’s talk body image! For reasons I will not talk about here, it began when I was a child. I can not ever remember feeling good in my own skin or really loving myself. Having cancer sure has not helped in the department. I know I am not the only person in the world and I know it could be worse but this is how I feel and I know others feel it as well. I have touched on this subject throughout my blog and it seems to be a theme of most others lives with cancer as well. Things that have affected the view of myself include: no eyebrows, no eyelashes, thinning/baldness altogether horrible hair, weight gain, port insertion scars, absurd sweating, mastectomy scar, uneven boobage, fat arms, honestly fat everything! I find it so challenging to keep a positive self image. It is hard enough facing daily pain, depression, exhaustion and my eventual death everyday without self hatred added to the pile. Daily fear of progression and what may come next is a constant nuisance but a negative body image that stops one from wanting to leave the house and causes anxiety is the pits!
So the question is, how does one keep her/his chin up during all of this? I was doing great for the first 3 years or so of my diagnosis, but I have found it hard, that word does not quite describe it, daunting, alarming, demoralizing, disconcerting, discouraging, disheartening, frightening, intimidating, off-putting, unnerving and any other words I can steal from the online thesaurus! I need to rekindle my fire for living and not let my self loathing interfere with the life I have left.
As I was retelling the story of my shoe shopping failure, my amazing son reminded me, “You look great mom, even when you say you look terrible, you don’t and you are beautiful!” Come on!!! How on earth did I get so lucky to have such an outstanding 16 year old! My husband is always telling me he wishes I could see me through his eyes because I am beautiful! I wish I could, he is so sweet. I think most women can understand, that while it is nice to hear such positive things and being so supported is awesome, the vision we see through our own eyes can not be changed by this. It is up to me (us) to accept who I am and change the adjectives to positive loving ones! Adjectives like cute, beautiful,luscious and glistening! 😉 Acceptance, this is the key! Learning to love the person I am now, scars, sweat, big booty and all! I have committed to changing the view. So daunting and difficult but worth it, I am worth it!
Love and laughter everyone!! xo