I started going back to the gym last week. Feels good.
Last week, I really didn’t work up a huge sweat if any so I didn’t shower at the gym. This week however, I did. So yesterday I was changing into my clothes after my shower and for a moment I felt awkward. This is surprising to me. This entire time from diagnosis to present I have not felt self conscious about my body since the mastectomy surgery. I am still trying to decide if I even really want reconstruction. The thing is…I don’t really think I was self conscious for me…it was for any of the women in the locker room seeing me, my scars, no breasts, & bald head. It occurred to me in that moment I find I have been asking people I am with if when I take my scarf off does it bother them? In the locker room it wasn’t like people were just staring or gawking or being rude or judgemental, but I felt like I should either cover up or parade around like I was on the cat walk for them to get a good look and ask if there were any questions…..
It made me think of the lady I have seen on FaceBook who several people de-friended after she revealed her body post bilateral mastectomy. It wasn’t bad and was done very tasteful. (you can check it out “under the red dress”). It was completely open, honest, visual. It bothers me that people could be so closed. No you wouldn’t want to just see naked people all over FB, but this was for a cause…a cause for understanding.
So…in that moment of my vulnerability I re-confirmed I am not ashamed of my body. Never have been. I may not like it sometimes and always complain about loosing weight, but I am not ashamed. What I am ashamed of is how I never really understood breast cancer and how it completely affects a woman. Furthermore, those around her. As I have gone through this process/journey I have learned so much. We as a society tend to either stare or look away or lean and whisper. I say…LOOK! Don’t be afraid to educate yourself and learn about what people are going through, good and bad. Until I saw pictures of women’s bodies post surgery I didn’t really grasp what was going on. I didn’t really realize what her body goes through. Not being over dramatic but it is extreme. The removal of both breast, nipples, drains, re-arrangement of muscles, removal of lymphnodes….wow. Scars that remind you everyday. Pain and discomfort, numbness of nerves trying to remember and reconnect if they ever will. Worry of the threat of lymphedema. Even though you can recover physically for the most part, it’s the mental that can get to you.
In that moment I was proud to be a woman. You can take away what society may define me as what a women should be or have…..but it really doesn’t define me nor make me less of a woman. I am still feminine, soft, voluptuous, emotional, tender and yet strong. I am still a mother, daughter, sister, and aunt.
Scars or no scars, breasts or not, In every moment I am woman hear me roar!