I’m getting used to daily life with my new self, both mentally and physically, and my energy level seems to be increasing day by day at the moment. Wanting to give an update for a long time, but I’ve prioritized otherwise; I’m very fond of the idea of me as a busy bee again. It’s been almost two months since I wrote last time and it’s quite flabbergasting how much things have changed already. I’m back full time at work, back in my old role with a full schedule and a lot of interactions with colleagues – that in itself is a big deal. My memory is improving day by day and my abilities are definitely way closer now to what was before this ordeal. I would go as far as to say that I’m in place now where I’m fully functional again and to obtain that in such short amount of time is a little insane. There are still some glitches in my memory, but that is something I can work with. It requires new routines, but I’m slowly getting the hang of it. Furthermore I started working at sexelancen, a volunteer project using a redesigned ambulance, aiming to provide safer, more hygienic and more dignified circumstances for sex workers on the street.
All in all I’m very much out and about again, catching up on lost time. At the moment, getting my life back to normal feels like a gift.
By now I have had some time to adjust to my new body and not the least how other people perceive my new appearance. Often people will say to me, “no one is going to notice, you have such a small breast.” But I don’t see why that should be the desired outcome. I wear the same fitted clothes I used to, I haven’t changed my wardrobe. I’m a visibly uniboob and I’m just not going to hide it. I can’t see that it’s my responsibility to not make people awkward towards the fact that I was ill. On that note, last week there was a messenger pm waiting for me. It was a message from a woman named Sreeja:
So this is exactly it! An exciting project; I have of course filled in the survey. If you’re flat and also want to participate in this survey, just write me and I’ll send you the form. I hope that her statement, about more people choosing to not reconstruct and still feel beautiful, is indeed true. And as I have said many times before, visibility is such an important factor in achieving that. Let’s flash our flatness!
So, last Friday I did just that. Going swimming in the public swimming pool with my kids. I know that people are intrigued by what they see and at times I try to put myself in positions where my eyes are covered, for example with a towel drying my hair, or closed, when I’m in the shower, to give people a chance to take a look undisturbed. I think of it as an education – I look very different indeed and there’s no reason why people shouldn’t want to look. One little girl approached me and asked “why have you taken off your breast?” I answered I had been ill, but by cutting it off I had become well again. Whilst I was heading for the showers she ran off and told her friends; they all came running to look at the spectacle, but alas, I was already gone.
Some part of me thinks it crazy that it isn’t more common to see this. I almost feel obliged to show it, to make people aware that it exists. I feel very proud of it, but I do realize that it isn’t always easy to keep that mindset. There are very strong forces pushing you towards feeling awkward and different. I realize how this choice can be very difficult if your not convinced yourself that this is a beautiful choice and even then it’s not straightforward. It’s easy to wobble in your beliefs. So how can this be a real choice for anyone that haven’t had the time to think it through or be presented to this choice beforehand. People that don’t have a ton of supportive friends and family? It’s not that I want everyone to not be reconstructed, but since potentially there is so much pain and many surgeries involved, I really would wish that there were more people that would be content without it.
To push in that direction I decided to contact the hospital ward that performed my surgery, to ask if they wanted an after picture of me without reconstruction. I had a before picture taken “if I changed my mind and got a reconstruction”. But I pointed out to them that I’d very much like to have seen an after picture without reconstruction before my surgery. Maybe this could be helpful to coming patients, to have the possibility to see what to expect when not reconstructing. Fingers crossed that they say yes.