Looking back, I don’t recall a time that I wasn’t self conscious about the way I looked. I wanted to change anything I could about myself, from my hair to my toes. I know that doesn’t set me aside from the pack, but takes a toll on you nonetheless. The insecurity got to the point that it wasn’t only affecting me but others around me. I would infatuate on being skinnier, prettier, etc. I wanted to be anyone but myself. I really never learned to love myself, but I learned how to ignore it and focused my time and energy on other things.
When I found out about my cancer, everything resurfaced. I mean in a whirlwind of so many emotions. I would cry, not even because I had freaking cancer, I would cry because I thought it was just another thing added to my plate that made me not so great. It pulled back all the feelings of not being good enough and hating my body. I would avoid the mirror or anything with a reflection if I could, ESPECIALLY after I said goodbye to my hair. I mean, I would go out of my way not to see my reflection. Which is crazy because I am the annoying one that ALWAYS looks at her reflection if there was one to look at, pleased or not. I applaud Steven for putting up with the crying and the insecurity of it all. Not only did/does he put up with it, he reassures me when I need it and even when I don’t that I am beautiful with or without my hair and more importantly just how I am. He knew how I was and sees how I am day in and day out. He has watched my self-esteem fluctuate dramatically throughout our relationship. When I was upset one day following shaving my head, he was comforting me and we were talking. I told him something along the lines of it all (self confidence and loving myself) being so much harder without hair. I don’t remember the exact dialogue from this conversation, besides one quote.
“Why don’t you use this as an opportunity to start over and learn to love yourself?”
I want you guys to know right now that this did not sound like a good idea in the moment. I didn’t want to do it, not because I didn’t want to love myself. It was mostly because I was appalled that he would suggest it, not because it was rude but mostly just the fact that I’m stubborn and all I thought was, “pfff, I love myself plenty.”
I started looking in the mirror again, not because I liked what I saw, but I was going to FORCE myself to find something I liked. Even if it wasn’t a physical feature at all, I would stand there until I came up with something. At times it felt stupid and maybe it sounds stupid, but that little time spent being POSITIVE about yourself DOES make a difference!
I wish it wouldn’t have taken me having cancer and losing my hair to come to the point of learning to love myself. I would have loved this positivity in my life sooner! I do admit though, taking away my hair has given me more reason to search deeper for reasons to love myself! Beauty does go deeper than the outside, but even I was too shallow to find reasons within myself!
GUYS! This is seriously one of the best things I have done for myself. I am not saying I don’t have my times full of self-hatred still, but I want you to know how much less it happens. Not only that but my overall mood becomes so much more positive. The little things don’t completely tear me up and it is so much easier to be happy, genuinely.
I am so thankful for the hand I have been dealt. I mean for everything, including the cancer. I don’t think anyone understands how much my outlook on life has changed through all of this. Not because I ever thought I was going to die, but because everything is always changing. Life as you know it could quickly and easily become life as you knew it. Never at 20 did I think I would have cancer, but here I am. It wouldn’t help me or anyone around me if I dwelled on how unfortunate it is! I have been so much happier because I can see what really matters in life!
Life is going to happen whether you are ready for it or not, you might as well make it all worth it!