#MyBodyStory is a series of reader submitted pieces about what it’s like to live in your body. Because every body has a story, and every story deserves to be heard.
Do you have a #MyBodyStory to share? Send it to [email protected]
And now, here is Dom’s Body Story:
The opinions expressed in #MyBodyStory are the writer’s own.
I used to love my tits. Everything about them. As a preteen and a late bloomer, I was the girl who would stuff socks similar in size in my training bra to imagine what it would be like to have actual breast. They were my entry into womanhood. They were adored by anyone who I was intimate with. I can even remember the first compliment they ever received. On a day that I needed a confidence booster, I could wear a low cut top and feel on top of the world.
When I became a mother, they fed my children and gave them the nutrients that they needed. After they served their purpose for them, they went right back to being my best friends.
I knew that life would eventually take its toll on my breasts… but I did not expect to part ways with my beloved boobs at 26 years of age due to a diagnosis that was so unexpected, so untimely and so completely unfair.
Words cannot describe the level of hate that was in my heart because of what happened to me. During the recovery process from my mastectomy and beyond, I used to spend days hiding from my (now ex) boyfriend. I went from my shirt being the first thing I took off, to keeping it on during intimate moments. When the time came to get in the shower, I would let the steam cover the mirrors because I didn’t want to see my reflection with these battered, botched breasts
I was in the lowest point I had ever been, and it was reflecting in every aspect of my life.
Something had to change.
My first f*** you to cancer was my first topless photoshoot, and I was not even remotely aware of how much power was in what I was doing.
I had so many people sharing their opinions about my decision to reveal my scars.
“Wow, why would you show that?”
“How would you feel if your children saw you like this?”
“I can’t believe you would let everyone see all that!”
My response to it all was “I have to do what I have to do to love myself again.”
I also received a great amount of body shaming from the internet. I chose not to respond to any of it. But then something amazing happened: I started getting a HUGE response of women sharing their insecurities with me! They would tell me that after reading how I was working through my experience, they felt strong enough to get through theirs. People were looking up to me even though I was broken and botched, but I was also brilliant and dare I say…beautiful.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I used to leave my beauty at the hands of others. And they couldn’t appreciate me, when I wasn’t able to appreciate myself. Even before cancer, I never fully appreciated ME. I don’t like to give cancer credit for any part of what is great about me, but I have to admit that without this battle I would never have taken the time to discover my true beauty. Sometimes I wonder what it would have taken for me to find…me.
Looking back on who I was versus who I had to become to get to this level of freedom…It sends chills through my entire body. Freedom is not free…but it is worth everything to me.
Cancer fucking sucks…treating cancer sucks even more. There is NO way to make it pretty. It is awful and emptying. It took everything I thought I was out of me and forced me to change. This sounds mortifying, and in a lot of ways it is. Some days are hard, I can admit. Some days I still cry and I still want to scream. But I remind myself that I have the ability to do these things still.
My message to anyone who is fighting, whether it’s cancer or any other sickness, you have to keep pushing through. It isn’t easy and you will definitely be different after. You may never go back to who you were before and this is alright.
Take what happened to you and become the best you that you can be. You owe it to yourself. The only chance you have at 100% happiness is to be 100% happy with yourself. At every level. Under EVERY circumstance. Every damn day!
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