I needed something to wear for a charity fundraiser last Friday night. The dress code was come as you like, and as I like to dress smart most days I decided to up my game for an evening out. I wanted something that wasn't too over the top but was comfortable to eat , drink and be merry in, but also something where I'd feel confident that my bag wouldn't leak.
As it was a fundraising event, it was more about the occasion than the frock but I do like to get a bit dolled up. Admittedly my choice wasn't suitable to partake in the bucking bronco and the surfboard simulator but as I injured my shoulder last weekend trying to learn to ski I decided to sit those out anyway! :)
This dress was a leap of faith, I really loved it whilst trying it on in the shop but my bag showed straight through the fabric, it was the last one left in the shop in my size and the lighting in the dressing room was dim and unhelpful. My only option was to buy it and hope that with the addition of a petticoat or two it would be wearable. Thankfully the two half slips worked a treat, they covered and smoothed the bag nicely.
I just want to clarify, when I talk about my endeavours to to cover, disguise and conceal my colostomy bag, I'm not doing so out of shame or embarrassment, on the contrary I am immensely proud of my stoma and very grateful to it. It is simply that I don't want it to show through my clothes. In the same way that I wear knickers most of the time but I do all I can to achieve no VPL. Most women I know are the same, searching for a smooth lines when it comes to underwear and dressing. I see disguising my bag no different to that, (no VBL) It has absolutely nothing to do with feeling embarrassed about it.
I've read plenty of articles with people with stoma's and they often mention words like stigma and shame, I find this very difficult to get my head round, especially post op, experiencing having my bag. Not to poo poo (no pun intended) anyone else's experience but I personally don't have any of those feelings of negativity towards it. The rest of my family use the toilet for no 2's and they don't feel ashamed about that so why would I feel that way just because I happen to use a bag?
I can however empathise with feeling embarrassed of accidents (leaks) or noise, that aspect isn't great admittedly, but that would be the same for the bagged or the bagless alike, that can happen to us all.
I am far from shy when it comes to my bag, on holiday you'll find me sunning myself in a bikini, not because I have some burning desire to show it off but because I want as all over a tan as I can manage. I'm not proud of my body based on its aesthetics - I have eyes people! But I am proud of my body for fighting off cancer and surviving, albeit with some alterations. Stigma and shame have no place in my vocabulary nor should they be in any ostomites, life's way too short for negativity like that.
Life really is beautiful, you just have to choose to see it.
Dress from Tommy Hilfiger, Shoes from Jimmy Choo, Bag from Tory Burch
The evening was really was a lot of fun and more importantly a lot of money was raised for a charity that's very close to my heart.
(* no VPL - visible panty line and no VBL no visible bag line) ;)