After the landscape of my body changed, one of the biggest challenges for me was getting naked. For a year, I didn’t look very closely in the mirror, I hated what I saw, and the missing piece of me was too much most days. I know some think it’s just a breast and, yes, that is true. I am so in awe of those who had a mastectomy and have no urge for reconstruction – that was not me.
For me, not having a breast was not an option. This decision was not without its challenges, yet I am now happy with what I have. It is still a process. I still work on making it feel like me – not sure if it will ever be the case – I don’t have any feeling in it – and how I describe it one of those things is not like the other. It makes me laugh.
Back to getting naked. I get to say it here: I have a lover.
For the first time in a long time, I had the opportunity to get naked recently. Wow, talk about nervous! I was so nervous the day leading up to it that I knocked my coffee over twice (I know – crazy). My emotions were all over the place, I was up and down, and at one point I almost bailed, but I wouldn’t let myself go there. I liked this guy, we had a connection, and this was what I wanted. That was the key – this is what I wanted, and it was a huge realization for me. This man is the first man I have actively chosen to come into my life for a very long time.
This is not just about sex…
This is not just about getting naked, about how my implant was not an issue, or how much fun we had. This is about the realization I had about what I wanted. I chose this, I made the decision. I was an active participant in choosing what I wanted, I did not just take what I could get.
When it came to sex and intimacy, I realize now it was never about what I wanted, it was about what I thought I could get. Let that sink in for a moment. It wasn’t about what I wanted, it was about what I thought I could get.
I had a massive realization
Yes, I was an active participant in my activities, I enjoyed them (for the most part – everyone has had bad sex), and I made my choices. I realize now that yes I made my choices, but there were not based on what I wanted, they were based on what I thought I could get. Wow. That made me stop on my tracks. How the hell did this happen? This answer, I know, has many layers and it is something I will continue to work on.
I realize that when it came to sex, I would be what I thought my partner wanted me to be, I wouldn’t say what I wanted, I would just go with it, he wanted me, and apparently, that was enough for me. Holy shit, when I think about this now, it makes me incredibly sad that I thought so little of myself. Then I got married, and all of this wasn’t an issue. I was in a committed monogamist relationship, so I got to put all these feelings away, and they didn’t come out for 20 years – not until after we split.
Then it caught up with me
All the insecurities, the self-doubt, the lack of self-love came back full force. I get it now, it was all me; the way I felt about me, the way I felt about my body. Outwardly, I wore confidence and acceptance, yet I didn’t believe it, I hid it really well. I didn’t see the beautiful woman I am, the amazing, strong woman I have become. Before the surgery, I had my boobs to hold on to. They were awesome, and they gave me confidence, they kept the voice in my head at bay. I used them a lot but once they were gone – one due to the mastectomy and one due to a reduction – it fucked with me. The one thing that I held on to was gone, and now I was left with this.
Left with this…
Yes – left with this: this amazing, beautiful woman who now is stepping into different even more. This amazing woman who had a breast cancer journey that took her to dark places and almost left her there but didn’t. This amazing woman has now found her worth. Yes, she has one boob down yet she has shed the shame and the guilt she carried for years; the idea of beauty that she picked up along the way. The changed landscape of her body has taken time to get used to, and it will always be different, yet the altered landscape of her mind – that is welcomed and embraced.
When I look in the mirror now, I admire my new boob and actually talk to it, one day it will have a huge tattoo over it – I am claiming it as part of me. I also talk to my belly, I am back to that every day, and I admire how amazing I am. I am beautiful, I am strong.
When I welcome a lover into my life, it will be because I want to, not because I think that is what I can get.
Please let me know if you have ever felt this way. Share with me.