Thank you and body image reflections
I want to start by saying thank-you to all those who contributed to mine and my Aunt’s Avon Walk. We have both made our fundraising minimums, and are happily no longer soliciting funds. We are working now towards preparing to walk – which means I need to get out more and walk more.
During last week’s conference, I recorded “live on the Internet” a series of Google Hangouts with a bunch of incredible people from the conference. This means that I often saw my face on the screen. Here are some samples (you may want to watch only the first few seconds):
Notice that my hair was different in each of the clips. It is posing a never ending challenge to me. As I mentioned in an earlier post, those who know I went through chemo and saw me bald think my new hair is spectacular. Others, well … I’m mostly always having a bad hair day. I didn’t cover my hair on the airport on Saturday (I did on Tuesday) – which meant that I wasn’t treated quite as nicely by the gate agents.
Anyways, more to the point of this post. I found that I was looking at myself on the phone/camera, not liking what I saw, but also not caring. This is a really important transition in my body image (and one that several other women at the recovery support group related to). It isn’t that I don’t want to look fabulous (who doesn’t), it is more that how I look on a particular day isn’t that important to me anymore. Sure, I’ll do what I can to look better, but I don’t carry the worry over it like I used to. Although I appear to talk about my hair a lot, that is in part because I have some! I cannot believe I was so bald for so long.
At the conference, I had a few conversations about my breast cancer experience (none of them on air/recorded as they were much too personal to be sharing live) – one of which has been blogged about by Jill Leafstedt in her Reflections on ET4OL post. In each case, I found the conversations to be powerful and provided a way for me to connect more deeply with people. My openness helped to allow space for others to share some intimate details of their lives. It helped me make new friends – to deepened connections.
I also am reflecting on how I totally over did it on Thursday – having drunk too much and stayed out too late – but had so much fun at karaoke, that I would not change a thing. Last time I over did it, was when I biked up Mount Hamilton the Saturday before my last surgery. I ended up with a fever the next day. I am happy to report that I managed to successfully bounce back from my indulgence. It is a sign that I am recovering. I’m getting stronger every day. It is a slow process, but I’m working hard at it. Most importantly, I’m encouraged that having fun didn’t hurt me!