Cancer changed so many things about me.
The way I looked at life, the way I looked at other people, and how I looked at myself. I couldn’t wear the mask anymore when everything, all my hair, my breasts ,and parts of my soul, were taken away from me. It’s true, I still tried to cover myself with a mask; a long, flowing wig to cover my bald head and penciled in eyebrows which chemotherapy and radiation burns had taken from me. To this day though, my style of clothing has undergone a transformation since diagnosis.
Overly Conscious of My Newness
I used to wear V- neck shirts and closely fitted attire. That was never a worry before, how it clung to my chest. It still surprises me to this day, that I was never self conscious of my 36I breasts! I guess I didn’t notice how large they really were!!! But now, I am very aware not to wear clothing that is so low or so tight that you can see the imperfections on my chest. For years, I would wear scarves, spring, summer, fall, or winter, to hide the lumpiness you could see even through the best mastectomy bra. I would wear heavy sweaters, or a big black vest to also cover the imperfections that were hiding beneath my clothing.
Seven years later, my style is still evolving. I am still very aware of what to wear, what not to wear, and what I’ll never be able to wear again. Long gone are the days of wearing some outfits. Clothing will never fit the same way with implants that don’t move and scars that can’t be hidden. But that’s okay at the end of the day. I’m okay with finding different clothing. I am grateful to still be here. I’m grateful to go through some of these changes.
Taking Charge of My Style…and My Life
In some ways, it brought me out of my shell, forced me to try new styles and pushed me in a new direction. I evolved. I evolved in more ways than just my outward appearance. By changing the way I dressed, it actually pushed me to cut my hair, after years of growing it back post-chemotherapy, and develop a new style for myself. I’m evolving even more years later and it’s quite liberating. Yes, there have been so many changes during this journey of cancer. Changing of body, mind, and outward appearances, but the inward development is still taking place. Developing a new style can be quite empowering.
It took almost 7 years after my diagnosis to finally dress in a style that I’ve always wanted to but was too afraid to. Now I am buying pieces to incorporate into my wardrobe little by little. Cancer took a lot of things from me but this was something it gave to me. It gave me the push to just go for it. To wear the clothes, wear the makeup I wanted to, and to frickin cut my hair the way I’ve always wanted to!
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