Have you ever felt as if you were having an identity crises? Aren't those reserved just for mid-life? Well, darn it I sure thought so. It turns out, I was wrong.
Well it happened once upon a night like this:
So there I was, watching TV with my hubby, in my jammies when the silly bug bit me! I was fine one minute and knocked down the next. I was in mid sentence when I suddenly felt the strangest twinge of pain hit me. Before I knew what had dozed me over I was blurting the words out of my mouth, "Johnny I don't breasts anymore, I have just a breast! I think I am having an identity crises honey."
Puzzled and confused I sat up and immediately looked down at what is left of my breasts. I felt strangely inadequate, as if I was incomplete. I wondered how Johnny saw me? Does he see the same women on the TV set and regret my lack of serious boobage? Seriously the young women sporting big beautiful breasts on the TV before me were perfect, at least by the world's standards.The men in the scene were thrilled they were going out with" breasts". Well what does that make me? Does one breast count? I was at a loss for what to say next or how to feel. I wanted to cry, scream and then I realized I have been living in this limbo for 3 years now. Maybe having one boobie and one unfinished, half reconstructed, nipple- less kinda, sorta what you might call a breast thingie isn't doing me any favors here.
So what to do about all this? Well first things first: turn off the darn TV! Second, take control of my own body image. Thirdly, stop thinking about what might have or should have been Christina!
I don't know how you feel about body image but seeing the "perfect woman" thrown at me on a daily basis on the TV or in print does not help the average woman with her body slash identity image. So how is it to help the average breast cancer survivor? Seriously... I am not a toss away and I am not damaged goods just because I do not meet Hollywood standards of beauty. But darned if I didn't feel the same way in those brief moments.
I can still be Cinderella, can't I? I can still dance at the ball, right? Sure my bra may be stuffed on one side, but I'm still here at the ball aren't I? I've experienced loss and grief, swept and cleaned, worked hard, had determination and found my own way here right? Sure I may have been a bit late, my glass slipper may have broken and the clock may still be fixed on midnight, but my prince is still standing by my side right? So why now do I feel so broken?
Breasts do not define my beauty, I know this, truly I do. But for one sad, moment I felt the sting, the pain of my missing breast in a way I have not felt before. I wondered for a moment if I was instead the fairy godmother, but I thought twice, she has way too much cleavage!
OK so how do those of us Cinderellas still working on getting to the ball get by in a "Barbie Doll" world? Well first we give up the whole notion of perfect bodies and start working on cleaning out all our insecurities. Cinderella did go to the ball girls, but first she had to endure pain and sadness. She worked harder than anyone else in the household, dealt with the step mother and the step sisters, and made friends with the mice. She was hurt, made fun of and had her dress ripped right off of her. Yes she cried, felt exhausted and had a moment of self pity or two in there as well. But then she rose up didn't she? Sure in the story her fairy godmother came along and transformed Cinderella in a the fairest maiden in the land. Maybe life isn't so grand as to supply us a Fairy godmother, but listen to me: we are still beautiful maidens!
Maybe we are not perfect, but I'll take it. I am here, alive and I have today! It's funny as I was thinking about how people see my life my cousins stepped forward and asked to see what was left of me. They even took the time to feel the uneasy lump and take note of the long scares across and under both my breasts. Many do not realize I have not completed my " breast reconstruction" process just as many do not realize I have no breast tissue left. It's funny I was more than happy to show my scares to my sweet cousins. I heard their breath swept away along with their ohs. they looked and actually touched what was left and then just like Cinderella they saw the real me inside.
Yes I have one good breast and one well, call it whatever you wish a matching lump, whatever it may be on the other side. I may not be completely happy with what's left, but it's mine and one day I will have it transformed into a breast. For now it stays as is. I think I can live with that, my question is can the world?
So I'm going to the dance. Sure I may have to leave early, run out the door and down the stairs after my stuffing has fallen out, but I will be there. I'll dance, sing, feel beautiful and be held by the most handsome prince. For a moment I'll be whole, beautiful, a princess in my one eyes and that is enough for me, in this moment, right now.