Sunday, June 13, 2010

Self Esteem

It's remarkable how much of our self esteem is tied into body image. Duh, you say. Well today's views of body image weren't really a part of our growing up. When we were in high school, way back then, I don't think any of the girls ( I am sure I will be corrected) aimed to be a size ZERO and none of the guys worried about a Six Pack. Hell the only six pack we knew was the way soft drinks came ( no self respecting Canadian ever bought a six pack of beer, even if you were Jewish you knew to order a 2-4).
We were able to buy our self esteem, it required having the coolest, latest fad items.
Please let me take you down memory lane.. The Right Clogs, Sport Root, Painter Pants, Pukka Shells, Kodiaks, Denim Overalls, Camaros...I must have forgotten a few...feel free to add on...oh yeah my all time nemesis...Frye Boots.
I laugh because I was far from athletic. In fact I got caught doubling back with Hartzman smoking on a 12 minute run, but somehow I had these huge calves. These same calves which today are my pride and joy were so big even then that I couldn't wear Frye Boots...they would bunch around my ankles. You see, now I get stopped in the street about my calves.
In my lowest point wandering aimlessly down the corridor of the Royal Vic last month, hooked into I have no idea how many life sustaining apparatus, an orderly came over to comment " Hey man, nice calves, do you do a special exercise for them?" Someone even thought I had implants.
Hmmm...that's it my calves are the saving grace of my physical self esteem. You see I need to hold on to or find something to be self redeeming.
Over the last 6 years, although I have joked about it, the scars that crisscross my body have come with a heavy emotional price. I have tried to view each with pride as a memory of a noble fight, fought and won, but the truth is that it is not that simple. The doctors call them Red and prophetic....if they only knew.
I remember conversations with Carmen and issues with Mastectomy and body image...back then I didn't get it. I didn't get the heavy emotional cost of having no choice but to agree to surgical mutilation ( sorry for the word...but ultimately it is what we agree to), but I do now.
5 surgeries later my body is not a canvas I recognize. So I struggle with body image issues. I wonder if I will ever take my shirt off in public again....will I scare small children on the beach?
Oh how I wish it was 1975 all over again...I would just buy those clogs, painter pants and even the pukka shells if it would make it all okay. If I could only buy back my self esteem...oh wait I almost forgot...I still have my calves...maybe things will workout after all.

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