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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Is Pain Robbing You of Happiness?

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It has been a long excruciating year; between the death’s in my family, to the robbery, to the new house…an agonizingly long year.

I made friends and lost friends, found out what is important and what is nothing more than time-consuming f*ckery.

My husband and children have been troopers through this whole ordeal. And let me tell you I have been anything but a wonderful human being. I’ve had meltdowns, tantrums, scream fests, depressive episodes, and moments of divine clarity… I’ve been in indisputable pain.

Just when you think you have a grasp on life, you find out that life isn’t yours to control…you’re just an irrelevant passenger.

Don’t get me wrong, your life belongs to you and you make of it what you will. But, when it comes down to controlling what happens in it, well… you can only control how you react. And my reactions were far beyond spectacular…I should have been a dramatic actress, I had some very award-winning soap-operatic moments, to say the very least {and I am}.  

It’s funny how complicated we make our lives. Every single detail has to be perfect and completely under our control. Why? Because we honestly believe that we have some god-like influence that enables us to change things that we don’t like and turn them into something we desire. But it isn’t about what we want, it’s solely about what we need.

Nobody needs supremacy; we need to learn how to be kind and gentle, loving and supportive. We need to be a far better person than what we expect our family and friends to be.  

We expect all of these ridiculously unreasonable things of others, yet we don’t budge an inch to be better people ourselves. And on top of that, we have the audacity to give hundreds of pathetic excuses as to why we can’t be more than what we already are. Oh yes, we are quite incredible, aren’t we?

So why can’t we be better people? Why are we so demanding of others to be more, but so incredibly fearful of our own impending greatness?

It’s like I once told a friend of mine… “I’m afraid that if the pain is gone I won’t be able to write with such passion anymore.” My pain is why I am passionate… or maybe my passion is why I am in pain. Either way I was in pain.

I enjoyed pain; it was the only thing I knew to be real. It was the only thing that could allow me to stay hidden from happiness and love. It was effortless to blame those that hurt me instead of being responsible for allowing them to continue hurting me.

Pain is addicting, it is a beautiful justification for everything. But pain is self-inflicted…let me clarify that. Emotional pain is self-inflicted. Yes, it initially hurts when someone uses you, or ignores you, or takes advantage of you, or talks bad about you, or tosses you aside like a rag doll. That hurts like hell.

But, it is brief. We hold on to something far longer than we need to. Why do we hold tight to something so insignificant and unworthy? Why do we torture ourselves? Don’t we deserve to be pain-free? Don’t we deserve happiness and love?

We do! We deserve happiness and love…from ourselves. Who cares if some imprudent former friend/family member/stranger hurt us… hurt people hurt people. What they need is forgiveness and time to learn from what they have done. It may not be today or tomorrow or even this lifetime, but they will learn.  

When you grow up in a society of revenge, you can’t possibly expect that the world will wake up one day and just be forgiving. It takes education, experience, and a strong will to grow and learn. It will take better people to teach others how to be better people… learning via example.

That is what I am focusing on, being the person that I want others to be. I’m ready to be pain-free and happy. Will you join me?