Beach Bag Lady

I’m at the beach, bikini is on. Looking around me I see beautiful women, confident in their skin. Suddenly I’m overwhelmed with grief. It doesn’t matter what I look like, how much effort I make with my appearance, I will always have the bag. A little girl walks past with her dad and stares at it. I feel irrationally hurt. I tell my boyfriend and his ever practical response is that people are going to look. Of course they are I tell myself. Moments later a couple walk past and the lady is looking at my bag and the thought that my boyfriend might be embarrassed of me flashes through my head. Argh. I lay down in the sun and cover my face with a hat, gulping down the self pity that‘s washing over me. This is miserable.

A few secret tears then I realise I have a choice. I can recoil at every inquisitive look, every judgemental glance. Or I can meet their gaze and smile. Be open to the possibility that maybe they’re not looking at me with disgust. I don’t feel helpless, there are things I can control, my attitude is one of them.

Someone said to me recently I could wear a one piece on the beach if that made me feel more confident. I do have one and i would probably feel good wearing it, if not a bit overdressed. But.. I would never have worn a one piece before surgery. The thought of wearing one now makes me feel like I’m denying who I am and makes me feel resentful at giving into my imaginary view of other people’s perception of me/the bag. So bikini it is. I’m not feeling angry and resentful now. I did earlier and it felt pretty crap.

This week it’s two years since I had surgery. I guess that makes it fairly recent in the scheme of things. I am grateful to be here, to have the life that I do and all that’s now possible. I’d love to not care what anyone else thinks and sometimes I can do that. Just not all the time. It’s a work in progress.

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