DOUBLE M OR PLASTIC B
The toggling between observation and judgment is a cautionary one. Sitting on the beach on a cool March morning praying for the slightest peak of sun to take over the overwhelmingly cloud laden sky causes an inordinate amount of people watching. There is so much to watch and consider as I try to keep my judgmental side at bay and just tune in to the show of vacationing humanity. This is hard and I am annoyed by my thinking as I try to consciously and kindly observe, but I find myself plastering adjectives and nouns to just about everyone who passes in a stream of descriptors that won’t shut off. Is this just human nature? Fit. Fat. Family. Rookies (they definitely get a label at anyone who feeds the seagulls). Rednecks. Newlyweds. Europeans. In love. Out of love. Active. Miserable. Happy. Deliberate. Old. Young. Healthy. Weathered. Stunning. The list is a long one and it is automatic. This disturbs me as I try to train my brain to not send out anything other than kind thoughts so I smile. This usually helps as I make eye contact with the people walking past. We looked like we were on some type of conveyer belt moving up and down the beach on our walks taking in the Florida air. I attempt to watch unencumbered by the auto thinking that spews because there are just so many people moving about. Besides the timeless joy of of book reading, writing, napping and eating a cooler full of beach food and no phone deliberately left home to not distract, this is my literal facebook. I sit here today in much different garb today than yesterday. Hat, scarf, pants, dress, sweater, two towels as blankets; it is chilly but it is also only 10am. The temperature is supposed to climb. Yesterday the beach got up to about 75 and I was stripped right down to my bathing suit because it was hot with no breeze which brought me to the water. My bathing suit is what brings me to the title of my essay today.
People watching is one of the glorious pastimes of beach going no matter if you are walking a beach or sitting on one. The shapes and sizes of men, women and children are here for the taking. It occurred to me yesterday as I fiddled with my now too small Lululemon top I wear as a bathing suit that as much as I people watch, so does everyone else. My top is too small I thought and I must get another one, a larger one to house my immobile breasts that not only point straight out, they also have no feeling either. So my dilemma became one of perpetual fidgeting as I was in a constant battle to keep them tucked in and hidden. Because they no longer have feeling, this became an almost full time watchathon to make sure they didn’t pop out for the full exposure to the entire beach population. I know luxury problems for sure, after all I am on the white sands of Siesta Key and life is pretty splendid despite my personal bathing suit challenges.
Up until this moment I thought my implants from my final surgery looked pretty natural. The fact that I even have breasts as well as my own nipples is such a positive after all of this we caught it early breast cancer that has been my life for the last three years. Lying in the one spot and not needing to go in the water was one thing, but walking down to the water with this first roll out was entirely different. These bad girls that are part of my upper half are their own force to be reckoned with and this round out proved that maybe they are more natural looking behind the safety of a nice crew neck t shirt.
I found myself fidgeting a lot because the bumps and curves (and not the good kind) just seemed like they were in the wrong areas and this small tank was not helping. I went into my old stomping ground of Swim City where I have bought a new bathing suit every year for thirty years and was for the first time at a loss. I didn’t need the support, they do that on their own, thank you. I didn’t need to be strapped in like a Scarlett Ohara corset, I already feel like I have one on 24/7. I needed coverage, I needed something hip but not young and easy for the straps to come off of my shoulders to avoid the dreaded tan lines. In case I haven’t made it clear, I am a professional beach goer and tan expert. I walked out of the store for the first time with no purchase which is great anyway because I am on month three of no shopping and have been doing exceptionally well. Not great though because of my present dilemma.
I couldn’t tell if I was making this up because the fact is I was looking straight down, not straight at so I did what every crazy chick does when in doubt, yep, I took a selfie. What am I in eighth grade? I am embarrassed for myself even writing this. I know any readers out there are wanting to scream at this piece, “Are you fucking kidding? You just had a double mastectomy, who CARES?!!!!! You are alive and you had a double mastectomy! Are you out of your bleepin mind?!!!” I would say that to any woman I know too, but when it is you, I don’t know, it was my first ride out at the beach and I was self conscious. And clearly my ego was let loose at this wild rodeo. Let me just say that taking a selfie was a bonehead idea and my great Dr. M. should have given me a warning card in October that said this:
Warning- You will be tempted to take a selfie of your body in a bathing suit on your first beach trip. Don’t. I repeat. Don’t. Just enjoy the beach and your good fortune. You are alive. Nothing else matters.
But I didn’t get the card and my observation head turned inward as I made the assumption that everyone at the beach was staring at my saying, Wow. That is an awful boob job. Why would anyone do that to themselves?
I realize that this writes and sounds completely insane. I was insane for a moment. I am being honest because maybe just maybe someone will read this having contemplated the same exact scenario. I clearly understand that not only will I never see these people again, I don’t care at all what they think. I know my truth and this is all that matters. I am likely not even in their thoughts and I am not the center of anyone’s universe except my own and clearly for a few moments it was spinning out of control. This first jaunt at the beach was another milestone to get used to with these new contraptions permanently affixed to my top half. These are those weird moments no doctor prepares you for as you navigate the endless emotions that come up at the least expected times. I realized that in my own observations and occasional judgmental people watching, why wouldn’t I expect the same from my fellow humans? What interests me in this process is the assumptions that any thoughts coming my way yesterday were negative. This is the work. As Wayne Dyer said in one of his many profound quotes,” When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” I decided to see myself as lovely bad ass bodacious, and my walk out of the water and back to my spot with my lusciously fake and silicone companions sassed right back with me. Double M AND Plastic B. Who cares? I am alive.