I’m a big fan of feeling good about yourself. I don’t always practice what I preach. But I do try.
I’ve recently started a meditation course and part of it is learning to use kindness and compassion on oneself.
I am, and always have always been, very self deprecating, it’s a protective measure I suppose, in that no one can say worse things about me than I have said about myself.
But I have found since having cancer I have been kinder to me. When I used to look in the mirror I hated what I saw, I starved myself on and off since the age of 16 to 36.
At one point when I was 16 I was 6 and a half stone…and later as an fully grown, mother of two adult I was down to 7st 9lb. (I’m a lonnnnnnnnng way off this now).
I can say in all honesty I still wasn’t happy with how I looked though. My life was happy, but I disliked what I saw in the mirror.
I was striving for an acceptance from others and from myself in some ways, in my skewed belief that my low as possible weight was the pinnacle of this endeavour.
When I came round from my operation 9 years ago I felt different. Obviously I now looked different but I didn’t feel stressed or traumatised like I did pre operation.
It’s possible that my education in being more self aware and less self condemning started a few months before I was diagnosed with cancer, when my then 13 year old son Sam was in hospital being treated for cancer. When you’ve seen your child suffer horrifically and other children suffer things a child never should I’d say it’s almost impossible to worry about what you look like.
The inconsequential things in life are exactly that.
We’re not here for a long time, we’re here for a good time.
It’s very freeing. I’ve heard cancer be referred to as a ‘dark gift’, I totally agree with that, it really sorts out your priorities. I don’t recommend it as a pathway through life but I’m perfectly happy to collect all the positives it brings with it along the way.
When I came round from my AP resection I felt a beautiful sense of calm. It’s something I never expected or experienced before, but that calm has never left.
I agree it’s very weird that now having a bag of poo attached to my abdomen I like what I see in the mirror (not because of the bag of poo itself you understand, we’re not starting all that nonsense again!) More startling than that I feel positive about how my body looks.
Even though it’s much much bigger than it used to be, the pre cancer me would have had a fit at the now me, and even though I always have to have a colostomy bag on I feel I look great. That’s not to say I do look great, it’s just that I feel great! What others think of me is none of my business.
Years ago an extended family member called me chubby when I had gained weight and gone up to 8 st 3lb….eight stone!! Chubby!!?? Hahahahaha classic! Luckily we don’t have contact with them now, which has probably done wonders for my self esteem and self confidence.
See, yet more positives cancer can bring. It not only shows you who’s important to you, but also who you’re important to. That can also be very freeing.
Am I frustrated that I’m over weight? Yes, to a degree it’s annoying as I know I’m not over indulging. But is it repulsing me when I look in the mirror? No. It really isn’t.
I so wish I’d felt this way since my teenage years. How wondrous would that sensation be!
On holiday I tried on my new bikini, when buying it at the airport I said to my friend Fay oh I’ll Just save it for sun bathing on the roof terrace - a safe place, where no one can see me.
But then it struck me, why would I hide this gorg bikini away. It just screams summer beach fun.
My friend and I decided on a day at the beach and I wore my bikini with pride!
I’m still here on God’s green earth (God’s quite parched earth in Spain).
Getting to love life and enjoy walks on the beach and eating delicious food, seeing friends, holding my children tight and holding my husbands hand, smelling the flowers and admiring the night sky. That’s what surviving cancer does for you.
For everything negative I have found 10 positives.
The main one of my favourite positives is body positivity!
It’s been so liberating!
There is no perfection and that’s ok. I feel for the young these days, being bombarded with Instagram perfection and ads for this and that cosmetic procedure.
And no, I’m not encouraging obesity either, there are definite health risks from obesity.
I know I need to lose 10lb to get me back into a healthy weight bracket but while I attempt to lose some lbs I’m kinder and more compassionate to my outward shell, because my inside me is at peace and calmed.