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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Comparison: The Thief of Joy? (Blog Hop)

Welcome to the Blog Hop Comparison: Thief of Joy? where bloggers from all over the world are invited to share their ideas about Theodore Roosvelt’s quote:

Comparison is the thief of joy.

Do you agree of disagree with Teddy’s POV? Please share your unique perspective.

There are 3 easy steps to join the Blog Hop:

1. Follow the instructions for submitting your entry using the Linky provided below – remember to copy and paste the link to your specific ‘comparison’ post, not just your blog, into the Linky.

2. Copy and paste the following announcement (with links) into the intro to your blog post:
Linking in to the Comparison Blog Hop on Dangerous Linda and Everyday Gyaan.

3. Be sure to read and comment on other bloggers’ posts in the hop. It’s a great way to get to know each other and expand our cyber-community of awesome writers and thinkers.

I already wrote a bit about comparison before if you'd like to check it out.

When Corinne asked me to “Hop On” this blog hop I was in no position to do such. I was faced with a quandary, I had no internet. Even though I was completely content to be net-free (partially because I wasn’t without internet completely due to my smartphone) I was slightly bummed to not be able to participate in this hop. You may ask me what is so special about this hop… well, hopping is great exercise for one and two, you have a question where there is several ways for you to answer it and there’s no right or wrong way to do so. I, for one, enjoy conversing with my peers… even if we don’t always agree.

I made it my mission to find a way to get internet service on, so that I could read all the somebunnies that hopped onto this great conversation. (Don’t act like you didn’t know that was coming.) I read each one as my mind reeled with the words of many different bloggers. I asked myself over and over if I agreed or disagreed with what they were saying. Then, because I am one of those people who are just plain out there, I found myself coming up with a whole ‘nother way to look at this. And because you know me you know not only will I not disappoint but, it will be long-winded. *Pops my shirt collar*

The first thought running through my head was to pick a few quotes from good ol Teddy Roosevelt to show you how the man was not such a great person to be quoting. Although he meant well, he was (In my opinion. Like there is any other kind on my blog.) arrogant, hypocritical, and a wee bit of a nutcase. (Then again aren’t we all?) No, I didn’t read up on his life and no I don’t remember crap from history class in school. I found out through my life that the last place you should learn about history is in a classroom. Yes, I know I am being judgmental here and yes, I realize I am talking about a former president. (Don’t act like none of you talk shit about any of our President’s… May I remind you, Bush… And some of you with Obama.) Anyway, I spent over an hour reading quotes by Theodore Roosevelt and the weirdest thing about it was how full of himself he was… (not unlike me and my previous egotistical remarks.)

For instance,

I am only an average man but, by George, I work harder at it than the average man.-Theodore Roosevelt

If I am not mistaken not only is he telling you how great he thinks he is but, he is comparing himself with others. Hmm, that’s weird. Didn’t he say “Comparison is the thief of joy”? I wonder if he was joyless when he said that. I also wonder if he made a habit of insulting other people by saying he was better than them. (Unlike my saintly self just did while judging him. *wink*)

Another thing I noticed about our wonderful former president is that he also thought violence was the answer.

For instance,

 Speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far.-Theodore Roosevelt

Does this mean that if what we are saying isn’t met with understanding and total acceptance, we should beat someone over the head? Am I reading this wrong? Someone help me out here please because that quote in particular scares me. My whole life I have been taught violence isn’t the answer. (even though my childhood was very violent) I can’t take a man seriously who believes in scaring someone with the size of his tool. (Take that any way you like it.)

There are many other things Theodore Roosevelt said that bother me too. But, those are discussions for another time otherwise I am going to take up much more of your time than you or I intended.

Now back to the quote at hand. “Comparison is the thief of joy” written by… hold up, wait, what… How come when I searched Theodore Roosevelt’s quotes on Brainy Quote I didn’t see this quote? Isn’t this one of his most popular quotes? Let me check. *Runs Google search* Wait, WHAT?!?! Who is Dwight Edwards and why is he also getting credit on some sites for this exact same quote? So who said it? Your guess is as good as mine. I am inclined to think that chances are this quote was from someone else who clearly wasn’t popular enough to be acknowledged as the owner. Sound familiar? As a writer, poet, blogger it should sound familiar to you. This brings me to part two of how I was going to handle this blog hop. By sharing with you all the ever so popular meme of Abraham Lincoln…

The problem with internet quotes is that you can’t always depend on their accuracy.-Abraham Lincoln 1864

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Isn’t that hysterical? That is one of my favorite “quotes” of all time. Haha. You see I made up my mind a long time ago to not go around and post quote after quote after quote on my social networks. I also don’t go around quoting people in my offline conversations either. I have on several occasions been quoted though. I have no problem with quoting “famous” people or even us “not even close to famous” people. I have a problem with it if that’s all you bring to a conversation though. I am anti-sheeple. I love uniqueness, open-mindedness, and people who speak about what they feel not what they are told they should feel or say. Sounds kind of like me, huh… I like to see what a person really thinks, their reactions, and their intelligence. But, most of all I like to get to know someone through their personal experiences and knowledge. I want to know how you live life and when faced with hardships how do you handle it.

Now of course I have been entertaining (per usual) and a rambler (also per usual) and still I haven’t given my answer about the question, “Comparison is the thief of joy?” My answer is NO, comparison is not a joy thief. It’s normal, natural, and every one does it whether they say they do or not. No matter how you feel about comparison, I tell you this… it’s perfectly fine to compare things, places, people, etc… The question my friends is not if it’s ok to compare, it’s are you comparing the right way? Are you comparing yourself to your surroundings to make you feel bad or to help you move into a more well-balanced state of being and self worth?

All of our relationships in life are based off of comparison. Whether we are dating or looking for friends, we all start with comparing our “likes” and “dislikes.” We compare every aspect of our life and we connect on a deeper level with those who have several likenesses to us. Opposites may attract but, being alike keeps us together. Now I don’t mean that we all should only like people that are similar to us, (God knows that would be insanely boring. Might as well carry on a relationship with yourself than you are always right no matter what.) I am saying that we CONNECT DEEPER with those who are more like us. We know where they are coming from, we understand them…there is an unspoken intimacy because of it.

I grew up in a home that compared me to everyone else, in a very negative way. And I do mean EVERYONE and VERY NEGATIVELY! My mom…”the whore/bitch”, my father… “the controlling leader of hell”, my sister… “the skinny one” “the pretty one” “the girly one” “why can’t you be an angel like your sister one”, my peers… “the athletes” “the sluts” “the skinny, pretty, blondes” “the dudes”  “the intelligent”…on and on and on. Even to this day my life is one huge comparison to this person and that person. I even compare myself to others at times but, again I say, there is nothing wrong with it. Because at the end of the day you have to know who you are and be secure with whomever you are. Let me share one more quote from someone who’s name was Roosevelt…

Nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent.-Eleanor Roosevelt

If you compare yourself with someone and you feel bad about it afterwards,whose fault is that? Why would you continue to do something that makes you feel bad? Like I said there is a right way to compare and a wrong way to compare. For instance: I look at a magazine and see a blonde-haired woman wearing a dress. I have a few choices here… I can look at the magazine and instantly start beating myself up while comparing our differences or I can look for similarities. I can see that she is blonde and I am a brunette, so what are my choices… I can bleach my hair or I can be content with what I was born with. I can observe her dress and immediately hate my big chest because I will never be able to wear that kind of dress or I can find another dress that is made for my shape and be happy and beautiful the way I am. You see there is a negative way and a positive way. Some people take comparison too far by being nasty about it. Calling someone names is not how you should be living. So if you are comparing yourself to someone else and making them or yourself feel bad, knock it off! We, as a people, should be secure enough with who we are to want to uplift others. If you are dragging others down you are ultimately dragging yourself down with them. Grab a bucket youngster, the Titanic is sinking and there aren’t enough rowboats for everyone.

Despite the fact that I grew up and still have daily contact with people who compare me to others (negatively and/or positively), I have always stood up for who I am and what I believe in. Now, I’m not saying I’m right all the time but, I am 100% ME all the time! So go ahead and compare yourself to whomever you please, just remember to do it to help you become a better person, not a nasty one.