Thursday, May 14, 2015

What Makes Me a Woman?

Here it finally is . . .the big elephant in the room . . .the question everyone diagnosed with breast cancer thinks about and no one wants to talk about.   What makes me a women?  Do my breasts define my femininity or sexuality?  Will I feel different as well as look different without them?   Will others look at me differently?  Is talking so openly and honestly about this inviting stares in the future?  Will the stares come anyway?

I think one reason I can talk about something that may invite stares is that people stare at me anyway.  I live life in a wheelchair and that in itself is a magnet for stares and comments.  I think I'm mostly immune to them.  And, although I don't really want people staring at my chest, I'm not sure I can really decipher why they are staring.  That is, until they open their mouths to let their ignorance shine through and make it pretty verbally clear why they are staring.  I'll just have to expand my arsenal of clever come backs to include some breast cancer related.  I'm just going to have to get a bit quicker thinking of a come back.  For example, while shopping the other day I was looking at hats/scarves, etc. if needed in the future.  Another customer was also in that section and told the friend he was with "You only wear a Fedora if you're stupid."  It took me too long to figure out my comeback. I wanted to say, "Or if you have cancer."  But, I didn't think of it in time and he wasn't talking to me anyway.  So, it's probably a good thing I thought of it too late.  I've learned that unless I'm directly addressed, ignoring ignorant comments is the best choice.

So, what makes me a woman? Do my breasts make me a woman?  I know the answer to that is "No."  I know that with or without breasts, I am still a woman.  I am still myself.  I am still the same person.  I should know that changes to your physical body don't change who you are inside, but that doesn't mean I'm automatically comfortable with the changes coming.  Although I did say the other day, "I already have a ton of scars, what's a few more???"  I don't have the answer to that question.  I don't know why this bothers me.  Reconstruction or no reconstruction my body will be forever changed.  What I don't want is what I learned about on the Tonight Show, "The Dad Bod."  :)  I am not a dad and I am not comfortable looking like one.  I also have no desire to look like E.T.  (If you don't know what a Dad Bod is, Goggle it)

Why is it that that the loss of breasts is the only thing creating angst? There is a possible hysterectomy in my future based on the results of my genetic testing and not for one minute do I think that makes me less of a women.  I find that ironic.  The very thing the doctor looked for to determine the gender of my baby girl via sonogram, ovaries, may be removed from my body.  The very thing that told us she was a girl is something that may be removed from me.  But, not for one second have I thought that makes me less of a woman.  So, why would I think the removal of breasts would?

I think maybe it's because no one is looking inside my body to see if I have ovaries.  No stranger can make judgments based on my internal organs.  But, somehow I think strangers or even some non-strangers might make judgments about my breast removal.  Body shape is visible to everyone who can see you and many people make judgments based on body shape.  I know I shouldn't let that impact my decision making process, but it does.  I know the people who really matter are going to love me no matter what.  And, maybe that is what I need to focus on and make decisions based on my overall health, well-being, and what is best for me and my family long term.

So, if I look like ET or have a Dad Bod, don't comment.  Keep all your crass comments to yourself please.  

Thankful thoughts for today:
New wheelchair
Box of Wonder Woman goodies from my sister
Schedule that is still balancing

If you like what you're reading, please follow this blog.  It's a great way to see when I've posted something new.  And leave comments.  I'd love to start a conversation!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Feel free to comment or ask questions any time. Please be kind and respectful.