On reflection, some things you have to leave in the past, other things you have to face and see if they still fit on not.
Zumba – oh I used to love Zumba and blend into the crowd of bumping, grinding, ass shaking, hair flicking women. Smiling my way through a class as an antidote for a bad day at work. Yet here I was today hoping to shrink and disappear from the brightly lit studio, pounding music and lycra clad lithe bodies. I wasn’t the only woman to be out of condition, or out of time, or maybe even self concious, but I felt really out of place. My newly grown hair hidden under a head scarf and my painted on eyebrows smudging from sweat. Do I only feel comfortable wholly in the blanket of the cancer community, not judged and feeling accepted ? Not these women were judging, they were actually quite oblivious, which should have helped, as typical of London you can be anonymous even in a packed gym, you can fly under the radar and not be seen. I didn’t feel like that though, I felt a huge, hulking character and the floor to ceiling mirrors taunted me and reminded me.
Now you can say, well you are getting older and your body will change anyway, accept it. Sure and we go forward not backwards. You can say, well considering what you’ve been through you don’t look too bad, true and why even measure myself against others. You can even say it doesn’t matter what you look like on the outside for what’s inside that counts. And I can nod and agree that of course you are right , But I also want to scream Bollocks !! People are judgemental we live in a society where 60 year old’s dress like 40 year old’s and 40 years like 20 year old’s. Women are pumped with botox, lift their faces, extend their hair and nails, whiten their teeth and plump their bosoms and butts to look youthful and firm.
I am nearly 5 “10 and never looked vulnerable, sports sculptured my shoulders and chemo has left me lost. My muscles trying to remember where they should be. Strong has become my favourite description of myself as femininity has been stolen, my eyelashes, my curls and of course my curves. Tell me again they will grow back ….I’ve always felt one of the boys but had the soft touches of hair and bright lippy to remind them I am a girl.
I don’t like myself very much right now. I can say it , why shouldn’t I say it ? Do I always have to be positive and upbeat ? Why can’t I feel sorry for myself and feel unhappy about the fact cancer has robbed my youth, health and I don’t want to imagine what else. I can have a bad day or a bad few days, I’m not perfect and I hurt and feel pain the same way as anyone else, whether that’s expected or not.
I can say I am scared it will recur, that I’m fearful that by returning to poor eating habits will bring it back but I can’t change every damn thing about my diet and lifestyle to prevent it. I can’t live in fear that stress will trigger my dna to spiral out of control again as stress surrounds me and I always try to deflect as much as I can. I can’t worry that if I don’t think positive then the law of attraction will bring all the negatives to me, that I have to choose to ignore that nagging thought within that wonders if I will be lucky enough to see my kids become young adults or have chidren, that I can’t show people my tears or when I am sad for being told, come on Al, you’ve been through worse. And so maybe I have …
Just for tonight I acknowledge I feel crap, that my radiated skin is burnt, blistered and covered in a rash that screams angrily out of my top, my skin in my armpit is shredded and peeled and so swollen that I can’t extend or stretch my arm, getting dressed is a struggle. My scar is angry too, stretching from beneath my arm to mid centre of my chest, leave me raw and open
I’m sexy and I know it boomed in the class…..ummm not quite how I feel right now.
What a difference a few months makes. I may not be shimmying at the front of the class and shaking my fake maracas but my wig is off and my crop is out there. My energy and fitness can match anyone in the class now, I used to feel exhausted and breathless and now I power through 2 classes a week. I’m glad I’ve captured my feelings in this blog, so I can see my improvements : )