I would consider myself a confident person but what I’ve realized now since cancer is:
14. I really wasn’t very nice to myself.
This is very different from taking care of myself and being good to myself. This is actually about the voices in my head.
One of the best song lyrics ever written is from Pink’s Perfect. It says, “Change the voices in your head. Make them like you instead”. That’s exactly what I’m talking about. I remember vividly a time when most mornings I’d get up and get ready and I’d actually send myself out the door after looking in the mirror and saying, “You’ve seen better days.” No joke. And I didn’t think it was cruel, I just thought it was fact.
The amount of critiquing of my looks, my hair, my weight, my teeth was out of control. And what’s funny is I held myself to a higher standard than anyone else. Not that I expected or considered myself prettier than anyone else but that the minute I saw one of my girlfriends tearing themselves down, I’d immediately jump in to reassure them and lift them up because I knew they were wrong. They were beautiful, inside AND out and I could hear and see what the voices in their heads were doing to them without any doubt. But I couldn’t see it in myself.
Now don’t get me wrong I had a healthy self confidence. I wasn’t walking around thinking I was unattractive or ugly. But even in that I was much more focused on my faults.
Right before I was diagnosed with cancer, I got my teeth cleaned and the dentist was telling me that I was an aggressive brusher. The main concern with this is that your gums start to recede and as you get older, you’ll get that long toothed look. I was terrified. I told my sister cause I was sure she was probably an aggressive brusher too. We had a serious discussion about how to change this habit because God forbid we have long teeth when we’re old.
And then I get diagnosed with cancer and I realize I’ll just be happy TO BE OLD! I’d be happy to be old – fat, with long teeth, with too many moles, with crazy hair, all of it!
I guess I was tearing apart the little things because they seemed important and core to who I was before all of this, but I know now that they aren’t.
40 pounds heavier, bald, no eyebrows- I’m still me and I’m loved by a lot of wonderful people, who would be really mad at anyone who talked to me like I sometimes talked to me in my head.
So I’ve changed the voices in my head. I don’t know they ALWAYS like me but they are much nicer to me these days.