YOGA AND (RECONSTRUCTED) BOOBS
I forgot how much I love yoga. Not the hardcore kind where the heat is up to 105 or some crazy ass temperature causing hot flashes that I already have naturally thank you very much. But old school yoga of gentle conscious stretching where you feel the move and feel the after the move. I learned this at Kripalu Center in the Berkshires, hence the name Kripalu where I went on a Yoga retreat when I was about twenty seven. Yoga changed me. Yoga created a self awareness that I was unaware of at the tender age of 27. Typical of major life changing events where I think I am on some high level path to a huge shift in consciousness, I stop. Yep. Stop. Because why continue something that makes me feel so unbelievably grounded and peaceful? Kind of like when you go on a diet and lose weight feeling better than ever and then eat your way back to your previous weight. I don’t know what it is that makes me do this, but this has been a self sabotage pattern for a good portion of my life. Maybe it has something to do with feeling deserving or worthy, I don’t know. But the past two weeks I have reentered the paradise that yoga is and have felt that self connection I remember.
So when Yoga teacher Tracy and spiritual friend had my super flexible and somewhat newly balanced body from a few strengthening warrior poses move back down to the mat and flat on our fronts, that self awareness came barreling back like a rocket launching to Mars. Me and my upper rack do not do full frontal. It is impossible. It would be like putting two baseballs on the front of your upper body and lying face down. Now normally this would send me into a roar of laughter at the silliness of the experiences I continue to find myself in, but this time I was feeling so zen groovy, I started crying. Yoga does this. Yoga taps into that depth you didn’t know was there and in that resting pose after some vigorous warriors and tree poses, yoga brought out the tears I forgot about. Usually I embrace the tears, allowing them to flow knowing that my body knows what it needs. But this time, the tears came from a place of annoyance and frustration. Will I ever be able to lie on my damn stomach again? I am tired of tissue expanders and I am tired of thinking about my body in this way. I just want to go back to BC to BM. (aka before cancer, before mastectomy).
Then I have these thoughts and actually feel guilty that I have them. Alayne’s brain 101. Mad at myself for thinking that I shouldn’t feel a certain way because I otherwise feel so great and I know that I am fortunate in so many other ways. Like who the hell do I think I am whining about not being able to lie on my front in a fucking yoga class? This compartmentalization of feelings really irritated me. Then there is that. Getting irritated about a feeling, judging a feeling. How fucking absurd. I have had enough good solid therapy, read a bzillion self help books to know better than to judge a feeling, but I also was raised by some bad ass grandparents who screamed resilience and pull up your bootstraps and stop complaining. “Enough with the crying already.” I can hear my grandmother say after only four months of losing my young brother. Wahh wahh wahh. “Keep a stiff upper lip. You are an emotional girl,” I can hear my grandfather’s voice as tears stream down my face because poor me can’t lay on her front in a resting yoga position at my fifteen dollar yoga class in my $150 of lululemons. I am embarrassed at even writing that. I have a lot of goodness and the fact that I am crying because of this really pissed me off.
Add to this now that I have just completed my second night of Ken Burns and Lynn Novick’s eye opening VIETNAM, I feel even sillier for crying over the trials and tribulations of alayne’s breasts. But as we all know, tears wherever they come from for whatever reason, are valid and at some point they must have their own moment of reckoning. Loss is loss, and I presume our bodies and spirits don’t know how to differentiate. So even though I felt silly crying in full frontal because I couldn’t lie there, I know damn well I must allow these tears to flow because the alternative is to bury and most of us know by now what happens when we bury the shit. It has to come out sometime, somewhere, somehow.
As I approach my hopefully upcoming last and final surgery that by the way is purely cosmetic and as the great Dr. Hottie reminded me at my first consultation, “Alayne, this is elective.” Elective because I want boobs. I want the hour glass shape I have been accustomed to for most of my life. The shape I have ironically and finally after all of these years accepted after so many years of body loathing. So these very elective balls of fire on the front of my body are part of my own party. I chose this. I chose to participate in this. As much joking as I do, as much of an open book I am about this experience, having a cancer diagnosis twice even though it was caught so early has been a game changer, a life changer as a matter of fact. I also realize that I have had the luxury of many choices because of my privileged life, privileged because I have worked my ass off for my life by the way but surely was given a launching pad that many don’t have the good fortune to start off with. I recognize this.
I was thinking as I wrote this piece how many women were going through this surgery and may have been living in Houston or Puerto Rico or parts of Florida. Yes I am lucky, resillient and bad ass for sure, but I also get to say this from the my joyful perch. This experience has been mostly for the positive and the reconstruction piece of it oddly has been kind of fun in a twisted way. Like playing dress up or Barbie for the summer. I have been able to change the size of my boobs and decide on the shape, size look. This is crazy, but I have tried to spin this in the best way possible and I can wholeheartedly say with a most grateful heart it has been a wild ride. Let’s hope that the replacement models will be the softer and easier to lie on version as promised. Fingers crossed.