A Year in Reflection

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On August 23rd of last year, I was in the hospital undergoing the biggest decision I have ever made in my entire life…prophylactic double mastectomy/breast reconstruction. At the time it seemed like the obvious choice, in hindsight, it was the most intensive rite of passage that ever plagued womankind.

 

I’m a strong woman. I know women claim that every day and then something trivial throws them into a panic attack of mega-proportions. I, myself, have been there. Where do you think the words Drama Queen came from. But, I digress. I AM STRONG! And as a woman who has idly strolled through several neighborhoods of Hell, I tell you I was not prepared for the emotional torture I would be facing during this reconstruction. It turns out even strong women can have weak moments.

 

They say, “What doesn’t break you makes you stronger.” I hate that saying with the entirety of my being, not because it isn’t true but because it is quoted repeatedly by people who have not been through a sliver of what I have. Am I comparing my struggles to the lack of theirs? No, I’m just reflecting on those moments that transpired along the way. Like I said in the previous paragraph…“Weak. “Drama Queen.” “Hell.”

 

Feelings of inadequacy, self-loathing, comparisons, bouts of deep depression… just a few of the bullshit moments I had in the past year. After all of that work I put into myself in the last few years I was undone by my f**king breasts. That’s right, like a teenage boy, I lost my ever-loving mind over breasts. Apparently, my vanity knows no bounds.

 

When did I, the woman’s woman, turn into an exceedingly breast-obsessed man? If I had to pinpoint it, I’d say roughly between birth and the total hysterectomy 12 years ago but, I am just guessing here. Seriously, though, why the hell are we as a society so obsessed with oddly placed sacks of fat hanging off of one gender’s chest? And why did I get sucked into that absurdity? Because, that is what happens when you make a choice to save your life but still want to have some sort of normalcy… and FFS, I just want to be a woman, something I feel like PCOS, being raised as a boy, and an early hysterectomy robbed from me.

 

But, have I been robbed or have I just fallen victim willingly into the societal princess programming that all females are force-fed?! I’d like to think I am no victim let alone a willing one. But, yes I fell into the world’s biggest trap, allowing society to dictate their idea of what a woman is. Funny, I don’t remember signing up for that in my contract. Yet there it is in all its hideousness.

 

My surgeon told me this was a journey. I knew what I was in for, well, I thought I knew what I was in for. But, I was not ready for all of that. I didn’t know that my breasts were directly tied to my emotional core. An explosive core that was clearly ticking and this “journey” was the detonation. That’s what I get for holding on to 40 years of trauma. There has to be a better way to “let it go.” I’ll work on that.

 

So on Tuesday, I’ll be in my surgeon’s office getting the final touches on my breast reconstruction…purple glitter tattoos on my reconstructed nipples. Because why not? A girl should be a girl any way that she sees fit, not forced into being what society tells her she should be. And that is how you become a strong woman!

 

 

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Daily Challenge For Jens Sake Day 8

Today’s Daily Challenge Thursday Sep. 08, 2011

Emotional Health
EVERYDAY WELL-BEING

Find out 1 new piece of information about someone you have a close relationship with.

How to do it
It’s easy to think that we know everything about the people in our lives. But we don’t. Today, find out one new piece of information about a family member, co-worker, or friend. If you’ve known this person for a while, it may take time to think of something you don’t know. But don’t let him or her off the hook! What is your child’s favorite letter? What book is your friend currently reading? Who taught your spouse how to ride a bike? What was your co-worker’s first job? Be a detective and ask the questions!

Why it matters
By asking someone in your life about his or her interests, dreams, and memories, it will help strengthen your relationship. Not only are you demonstrating that you care, but you are more likely to share information about yourself. What book are you reading? Who taught you to ride a bike? This connection and sharing of personal experiences creates trust and helps to maintain healthy relationships.

Fun Fact
Twenty Questions, a game in which one person has 20 chances to find out the answer, began in the United States. It was most popular in the late 1940s, when it was part of a weekly radio program.

So to do today’s challenge I asked my friends on Facebook to tell me something about themselves that I didn’t know. I think this was a great idea. I might have to try this once a month or something to get to know more about my friends.

Daily Challenge For Jens Sake Day 5

Day 5 is already upon us in the Daily Challenge. Since I am a writer, the writing challenges are not challenging for me. What I have noticed though, is there is already a pattern of repetition going on here… Two days writing, two days stretching yet it is only Day 5 since I have joined. The challenge will be, if they don’t give me something else to try, that I may not want to continue. Not because I don’t like the site. On the contrary, I love the site. It gives me something positive to wake up to and keeps me in that mindset all day. But, I don’t want to subject you, my dear readers, to the monotony.

Today’s Daily Challenge Monday Sep. 05, 2011

Emotional Health

EVERYDAY WELL-BEING
Write for 5 minutes about 1 thing that’s stressing you, so you can think about it more clearly.
How to do it
Take five minutes to write down something that’s stressing you out and why it’s stressing you out. Use the “hot pen” method: Write everything you can think of about your problem and don’t lift the pen from the paper until the five minutes are up. (You can type instead if you want – just make sure to get all of your thoughts out.) When you finish, take a few slow breaths, and then read what you wrote.

Why it matters
Multiple studies have shown that writing about a stressful situation lowers stress and improves mental clarity in dealing with the problem. When something is making us anxious, we can get stuck in a cycle of repetitive thinking that is unproductive and actually stresses us out even more. Writing can break that cycle by giving you something to do, by allowing you to vent and get your problem out of your head and onto a piece of paper. Once there, you may be able to deal with it more objectively and with a bit more clarity.

Fun Fact
In the 1960s, a company spent over one million dollars developing a ball point pen that astronauts could use in the zero-gravity conditions of space.

 

I do have a few stressful things that I am working out and a few that have already worked themselves out. But, I will not be publicly placing my 5 minute written out thoughts on here. Some aspects of this writers life are just not meant for the public eye.

This is a great exercise and I have used it for writing poetry to find a topic to speak about. My poetry class homework that required this, was actually the first time I have ever done the “hot pen” method. To be quite honest, my blog posts have already been doing this. No sugar-coating… just straight from the heart, mind and soul. The only difference is I edit it after I am done, so it becomes legible to all of you.

I can see how this challenge can be used to identify all of your stressful thoughts or emotions. Maybe you will discover something that wasn’t nagging your conscience mind but, was hidden a bit deeper. Lord knows, those deeper hidden thought sometimes have the biggest effect on our moods and the way we conduct ourselves throughout the day.

Ok, It’s your turn. Join in on the Daily Challenge; Facebook it, Blog it, Live it, Love it!!!

Daily Challenge For Jens Sake

I have just signed up on a daily challenge site. It is very easy to sign-up, you just use your Facebook account. I read about this on Lifehacker and decided to check it out. So far I like what I see. Then again it is only Day 1.

I will be setting this up as a month of September blog challenge, so not only will I have to keep on the ball on Facebook but, also on For Jens Sake. If you would like to take part click the link and let’s connect. The more the merrier, I say. We can keep each other motivated. Let’s go!!!

Today’s Daily Challenge Thursday Sep. 01, 2011
Emotional Health
EVERYDAY WELL-BEING
Identify a problem that has been worrying you, then write it down and brainstorm 2 solutions.
How to do it
Write down one problem or issue that you are concerned about. Spend a few moments thinking of two solutions, and then write the solutions next to the problem. If there is one solution that seems stronger, circle it and think about how to implement it.

Why it matters
When we’re really worried about an issue, it’s easy to spend time over-thinking it. With too much thinking and too little action, people become stressed about a problem. Taking the action to brainstorm solutions and select one to potentially put into action lessens some of the stress created by the problem.

Fun Fact
The song “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1988. It was the first a capella song to do so.

My Problem:
Money… (Isn’t that everyone’s problem these days? It’s my daughter’s Sweet 16 this year and she didn’t get a Quincenera last year so this year is the big celebration. Also major holidays are almost upon us and as always we have no money saved for gifts.)

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Solution 1:
Win the poetry contest and get that $1000. (Ok, not technically a solution although, it would solve the problem. LOL Sorry, I cannot be serious 100% of the time.)

Solution 2:
Stop worrying about it… because every year we make out just fine when the holidays come.

I choose solution 2! You see… don’t be so serious and let worry consume you because in the end things have a way of working themselves out. If you don’t believe me see Why It Matters above!!!

Ok, it’s your turn. Join in on the Daily Challenge; Facebook it, Blog it, Live it, Love it!!!