Me, July 2008
Kinda cute huh? Maybe even attractive in some one's eyes. Yes, I was thin, younger and confident. I felt I could rule the world!!
BOOM! Pregnancy. Oh the bundle of joys and how they trash our bodies for months! Unless, of course, you are some wealthy wench that can afford personal trainers and expensive diet plans. After bearing so many children, it took 2 years to get back to my near pre-pregnancy weight. I still had 10 lbs to go when the unthinkable happened. CANCER
It totally changed my appearance and not for the good. The steroids they pushed through my port every chemo packed on the pounds, not to mention the fact that I was so exhausted that I could barely prod myself to get out of bed with the exception of peeing. Yes, TMI for some, candid to others. I put all my weight back on that I had lost and then some! I lost my hair, and I gained chemo-teeth.
Wig-wearing me and my BFF Jill, 2011
Chemo-teeth, you ask? Well, a lovely side effect is the rotting of your teeth, but only some are affected. It doesn't matter how well you take care of your teeth, some will just have the misfortune of them rotting. I once had a lovely smile, and I can smile no longer. I will show rotting teeth that I could not help and can not afford to change thanks to my insurance plan. Not being able to laugh heartily or smile at a cute guy hurts far worse than losing my hair ever did.
2 years and a cancer-free body later, here I am now...
Me, post cancer, March 2013
I am still over-weight, hating my outward appearance and trying to make the best of it. My smile is different, my hair is growing and my eyes now require glasses (another side effect of chemo). Yet, because of my looks, I am vain enough to regret ever getting treatment. I'm sorry if that is a slap in the face to all those people that lost loved ones to this dreaded disease. I'm not intending it to be at all. I am merely baring my soul, my tortured, once pretty soul for all to understand. Not being able to be "me" anymore has changed me so dramatically, that I don't even know myself anymore. I like to pretend my mirrors are broken, but it's not so, I am the one that is broken. I have let myself fall into the trap of beauty that society has shoved down my throat since I was a little girl, dreaming of being a gorgeous princess.
Society, you suck ass! You force all women into believing we have to be a Barbie doll to be anything. I swallowed that hook, line and sinker! I don't know how to release myself from that rod and reel. The deeper I attempt to swim away from what all consider beautiful, the more I drown in my own sorrow of ineptitude.
I am NOT asking for pity, nor for the "beauty is on the inside" BS that will undoubtedly be heard as a response. I am asking you to raise your children differently! Show your sons and daughters how unhealthy those size zero models really look!
I was bulimic for a time in my life and that is a dark secret that has only been shared with very few people. I had an anorexic best friend, and I was the opposite. It's like we were in a "who can get skinnier" competition. STUPIDITY! I weighed in at 85 lbs at the age of 21, being 5'4"... totally unhealthy! Eating disorders are so very dangerous and it's just another pressure from society AND men that we girls/women MUST BE PERFECT! It's not true and don't let anybody tell you any different.
I wish I could take my own advice. However, once I was bitten by the "vain bug", I will be forever infected. The infestation will NOT pass down to my children. They see me hide daily behind hats and glasses, not smiling and avoiding people.
Hopefully, my daughters will realize just how gorgeous they are, no matter their size, teeth, hair or whatever! I know I am not sending a positive message by acting the way I do about my looks, but maybe it will have the reverse effect and they will accept themselves, willingly, for who they are and not what they appear to be.
UGLY IS INSIDE AND OUT, NOT JUST BEAUTY.
Words hurt. They cut deep. I know I'm fat and I don't need you to point out how "thin" I used to be, or how "cute" I was. I know that. Why do you think I am in such a dark place right now? If I didn't suffer from COPD and lose breath with every step, I WOULD exercise to lose the weight, but it won't change my teeth, now will it?
Remember, bullies come in every age and at every stage of life. I think I am my own biggest bully.
My mirror will forever be broken, just like me.
Hats off to you, society, you win this round.