Stepping into 2016, this is my Mantra. The seed of it was born about 6 weeks after the silver lining moment when my plastic surgeon informed me that my insurance would cover brand new bras at Nordstrom’s after my reconstruction surgery. Free shopping trip to Nordy’s – game on!! 🙂 I knew immediately that there was one friend who was made for the job of supporting me in this next step so I called my friend Mersi and we were off to a shopping adventure! They have actually trained some of the sales clerks at Nordstoms to understand the special needs of post mastectomy patients and our clerk Tia was our right hand lady for that afternoon.
I brought this green dress that I had actually bought about 2 weeks prior to my diagnosis last May. I had tried on this dress on several occasions between mastectomy and reconstruction, but much to my chagrin, it never seemed to work. So now with my new breasts (and my new bras), I thought this gorgeous green dress might finally work. I tried on the green dress and almost immediately, my heart sank. My friend Meredith looked me in the eyes and said “Erika, fuck the green dress.” And we both burst into a tearful laughter. Then I looked into the mirror again and said, “or fucken own it. I mean I like the damn dress so I’ll just wear the damn dress. This is now my body and I need to just own it.” I knew in that moment that while I was not quite there, I would work toward this final stage of my healing journey – to embody and integrate my experience. After all, this is what I preach as a healer myself, that we must integrate the darkest parts of ourselves and our experiences in order to be whole.
I have sat with this statement for the last 6 weeks. Obviously it’s about more than the green dress – although the dress is damn cute! 🙂 The green dress was a doorway into claiming this whole journey as a part of who I am and who I am becoming. I know that it will be my guiding light for 2016. Just as my Mantra for 2015 “Let it emerge” had such important lessons to shed that I never dreamed of, I am eager to watch how “own it” unfolds for me in 2016. One of the most fitting parts of this mantra is that a big part of my cancer story was that it has felt utterly surreal and shocking. But it is real, it is a part of me, and now I must own it.
As I wrote in my last post, understanding my decisions and my medical prognosis better has all been a part of me moving towards “own it”. Reconnecting with my body through movement and exercise is also a part of owning it. Stepping into teaching Nia again in the New Year is a part of owning it. I recall Eve Ensler’s words about cancer being an opportunity to become more of who she is meant to be. To me, it seems that owning it is a way for me to continue to step into more of who I am meant to be. And how about you dear friends? What part of your story/experience do you need to own or claim? Join me in 2016 and let’s step into our fullest selves!