Monday, November 5, 2012
I'm quite used to it by now...you know...the stares. The ones that can't figure me out. First it was that I had one boob and another with poor driving skills that would roam all over my chest. Then it was the chemo, where my head covering had people thinking I was either a Nazi skinhead or a Muslim...though Maddie called me Biker bad ass chic. Then it was radiation where I would often and unwittingly pull my shirt from my chest and blow on my torched chest - often caught in a grocery store or post office with stares for days. Now it's my no nonsense approach to no prosthetics, no boobs...not even an A cup...sort of a negative A. I'm wrapped up in bandages because I am sporting three hot looking drains but beyond that, I am as flat as a Texas prairie. At the town Halloween festival this weekend, enjoying glorious weather with my girls and playing with my sister wife Tina I saw it...a man staring at me with a look of disgust on his face I hadn't seen before. Now was his disgust at me? Likely not but did I feel like it was? Yeah - and it knocked me on my ass. It brought me back to total self consciousness, total deformity, totally "that girl". He continued to stare at me - first my chest, then my body, then my face...sort of trying to figure it out and I wrapped my arms across my chest, hiding the division between me and the normal girls. It was then I realized that I am still ashamed of what I have become physically. It's not a bad thing - it's a real thing. I'm embracing all of it but hey - reality bites man. My preschool moms always make me feel beautiful - Robyn reminding me that without my boobs, she can see how pretty my eyes are. Same girl who told me when I had my head covering that I didn't have to tell people I was undergoing chemo, I can just say I'm a pirate. When I told Susanne about possible surgery moving stomach fat up to make new boobs she offered hers as well as mine. Gd I love them all. Joseph who feels the pain of every step with me and wraps my bandages every night, still looking at me like he did the day we were married and yet here I am...covering my chest from a man who means absolutely nothing. But there it is - a reality check for me - I'm still not okay, I'm slowly healing and I still fucking hate cancer and what is has done to me but it's a day at a time. A friend once asked me why I don't look at my chest like a warrior in battle. I don't know...I feel nothing but pain when I see it. It's like a surgical rape - cancer stripped from me much of what made me feel like a woman and we can all say all day long that breasts don't define us, and that's true to some degree...it's still a part of who I am and how I carried myself and fed my children and wore a cocktail dress. So I enter the holidays grateful for what I have and who I have...there is no cancer survivor on the planet with a better back up team than I have and am yet I'm painfully aware the stares still sting. And I hope they don't sting forever. I wish I could magically erase the last two years and yet the clarity cancer has given me about myself and what matters may never have found me. I don't really know yet. I just know the stares sting.