Sunday, May 19, 2013
The other 98%
Angelina Jolie is being hailed as a hero. Yes, in many ways she is. She is proactive, self aware and ensuring her family has a long life with her. Good on her and good on the people who might not otherwise do such a thing, will now, thanks to her op ed piece. And (not but), it would be lovely if she and other celebrities who put their paid-for-with-cash-and-fly-in-world-class plastic-surgeons-to-operate-in-their-private-suites showed a little humility and vulnerability. Angie and Guiliana Rancic were both quoted as saying the surgery was much easier than anticipated, they are not defined by their breasts and they were back at work/life/family (even laughing) within days of surgery. Fabulous...for them and for the micro percentage of women who feel the same way. Everyone who knows me knows how much I can't stand the pink ribbon and the rah rah cancer survivor crap, the hot pink tutus, the hugging, the "gifts" cancer gave them...ugh. Yes, Bitter, Table for One. I sit alone. Sometimes for some of us, cancer or cancer proactivity is a gift - it is significant and it is palpable. But what about the rest of us? What about standing up for the remaining 98% who loathe the surgical rape and slaughter we undergo, the hair loss, the pain, the leakages through our clothes while healing, the giant drains strapped to our body to catch lymphatic fluid that seeps out and runs down your stomach, the reconstruction some of us undergo several times to get a match, or have the opportunity robbed from us and we are stuck with fake boobs that fall out, get lost or move around. The stares that waffle between pity and confusion when our boobs are misaligned or we are caught adjusting. What about those of us who will never nurse a baby, or feel sexy in a cocktail dress, or suffer so much scarring we are in constant hyper alert for attractive clothes that still cover us up to our neck, or g-d forbid the bathing suits that we have to endure that need to fit fake boobs or cover all the hack marks without looking Amish? What about those of us who do everything we can and cancer still chases us around our body? What about those of us like me who shadow box cancer everyday no matter how far behind me it is? What about the torture chamber we undergo trying to get our body back, or our sanity, or our sense of femininity? Am I defined by my breasts? Of course not - are you defined by yours? Do you still want them cut off? I love how proactive the celebrities are, I love how their opinion speaks louder than any oncologist or Komen or Avon foundation in putting your health first when it comes to cancer. I just long for some vulnerability. I long for Angelina to remind other women that she is sensitive to the ones who miss feeling normal, or pretty, or are still suffering. How about a shout out to the women who have had cancer rob them of children? Or how their boobs being cut off meant feeling different and changed and deformed but eventually you get there. How about just a nod that "laughing" and "working within four days" of surgery is nearly impossible unless you have a nanny, a cook, a few mansions, a 24 hour top class medical team, a private resort of a hospital and Brad Pitt rubbing your feet and even then, when you stand up and your breasts are gone, cancer or not, if you can laugh and head back to work, you are lying. You die a little inside. I don't care who the fuck you are. You just do.