Everything that’s aesthetically appealing to the world. Cancer even stole my dignity. Like a thief in the night, it comes and makes its home insidiously.
But chemotherapy is what really did me in. Chemo permanently stole my hair. It took my walk and my ability to wear heels, and oh did I adore wearing heels! It left patches on my skin and the aftermath of rashes. It put ridges in my fingernails, making them even more brittle. And it left me wearing diapers. So of course, chemo stole my dignity.
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Somehow, I believed that beauty was tied to this thing called “dignity” in my mind. I use to cherish the way that I walked. My sexy swag as my hips swung from side to side. And though it took me a long time to appreciate my voluptuous curls, they quickly disappeared. Not temporarily, as I was told, but permanently (or at least more permanently than I could have ever imagined). Chemo also stole my hormones and my sex drive, my vigor and vitality went with it, too. I’ve felt my breasts get saggier, and stretch marks are appearing in places I would never think they could.
I’ve felt uncomfortable vaginal dryness and I’ve had no menstrual cycle for years. My womanhood felt as if it was stripped away.
The scars on my chest (where my port & central line were placed) are a constant reminder of the battle I’ve faced. And my baldness is a constant reminder of the fact that I’m sick. My heart sinks at the bare image of being stuck in sickness. Trapped.
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Voices like: “You’re not a woman without your hair. You’re never going to have a kid. No man will ever want you because you’re not woman enough for him.” And of course every other lie rung in my mind which led me to compare myself to other women around me.
The classic: “She’s prettier. Her hair is beautiful. She can probably have kids. A man would prefer her over you any day.”
I’ve come to realize that these were all lies pointing to the sole fact that I believed I was not good enough.
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On the other hand, there was a confidence, a unique beauty, a peaceful presence, and strength that awaited me on the other side of a very trying battle. And I finally realized, like Alessia Cara’s “Scars To Your Beautiful,” that everything I’ve battled was worth it.
The problem was my thoughts. Not me. My entire perspective of beauty needed to be gutted and revamped. It was either that, or sink deeper in the trenches of low self-esteem. So, I got a makeover. Not a makeover in my physical appearance, but a makeover in my perspective.