My last stay at the hotel not of my choice was as much fun as all the others. Doubly so because no rooms were available at the inn so I shared with a very obnoxious woman. Compassionately she was not dealing with the loss of her breast, I know this because she woke up and said I thought I’d be sadder than this. Her husband and her then spoke nonstop about their tesla, apparently it was broken into, their yacht, he needs more vit D it seems and half an hour on his yacht is not sufficient, their range rover. Anyway, it is annoyingly distracting trying not to hear when people speak as if you’re not in the room, but I felt my waning compassion return when it was apparent his life beyond that room mattered more as she said, stop arranging your social calendar, I just had my tit cut off. Harsh but true. He still only returned at two the next day. My returning compassion wavered a tad though as she treated the nurses like they weren’t there. But I did know two things. One, she just wanted to be seen. I am blessed with the presence of B. And I’m not meaning in a physical sense. I know how much pressure he is under and how much more pressure this puts him under and he is also who I rage against. Yet his presence is unwavering. And second, as my compassion welled up till I couldn’t breathe, she is at the start of a journey (still hate that word) I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. Then again, I also relish the unbelievable learning opportunities she and her husband will encounter and hope it enables her to be seen and him to see her. And them to see others. The lesson in it all remains, see each other. Really see each other. And not only when times are tough. But at least then for fucks sake.
So, had my last surgery three days ago. I’m saying last on purpose with my middle finger up. My stylish Canadian plastic surgeon formed a nipple out of the back skin on my breast. It’s all crusty and enlarged and seems to be pointing in the wrong direction, but apparently it will shrivel and I must be patient. Some divots and dents have supposedly been filled in with fat from my tummy. My tummy is sore but I see once again no evidence of fat being transferred. To me my manufactured breasts seem unchanged but I know to give it time. I have a huge slash under my arm so I’m guessing that all wayward tissue has been successfully removed. I am biding my time. But I am done. Apart from some tattooing once everything is healed to complete the smoke and mirrors, I’m done. And in case I forgot all I’ve been through every doctor and nurse I encountered these past few days reminded me as I had to relay my history time and again. Some with dangerous head tilts. Some thankfully not. My goodness you have been through a lot, hopefully this is it. Hopefully it is.
13 January. My friend Leigh. I am grateful for my friend Leigh. For my pioneering friend Leigh. She is a teacher, a sage, a leader, an inspiration. I am grateful for her honesty, her bravery, her sharing, her ear and her forever friendship. She has lived through some serious shit, and that smile is always there. She has taught me there is always a way. To fok maar voort. With style. And grace. And dignity.
15 December. I love my daughters. And I held them a little closer in my heart today, like I’m sure everyone did their own children. I am so very grateful my children are safe and at home, I wish with all my heart those tiny little souls and their courageous carers were too.
Yesterday was a good day. A day filled with much laughter, far too many margheritas and good honest fun with lovely and at times delightfully mad friends. But a day that also left me quietly deflated. I saw so many sad women looking for happiness, in what was obvious to all but themselves, the wrong places. Beautiful successful women sadly clearly not realising quite how innately beautiful they are by selling themselves short. Women so desperately and so sadly needing reassurance they’ll take it no matter where it comes from. You all know how much I love women, how much respect I have for our inner strength, how deeply capable I believe we all are. How much I know we all care. But you also know how sad it makes me when women let each other down. And that I believe it’s usually due to fear, fear of not being good enough, fear of being left out, fear of being ignored, fear of being alone, fear of not being loved. But what makes me the saddest of all, is seeing women letting themselves down. I wish every woman could know her worth. And know that it’s not to be found in a bottle or with someone else’s husband or by accepting dismissive or disrespectful treatment by others. I wish all women the respect they so dearly deserve, the only respect that really matters. Their self respect.
2 November. I am grateful for a gentle squeeze from a friend. For her compassion, her genuine ongoing support and her authenticity. And for the solidarity of a silly pink wig. Year after fabulous year.
I rushed in to do a quick grocery shop today and found myself mesmerised by this wonderful older couple. They chatted and discussed every little purchase with much intensity and care. I overheard as she told him she’d found some of his favourite mints which she thought he’d enjoy on the journey home. He thanked her. He wandered off on instruction to return a packet of fresh beans to the grocery section. I must admit I was loath to leave their sweet presence but I had to make my selection and move on. I was down the next aisle when I noticed the gentleman shuffling past heading in the opposite direction looking down all the aisles for his wife. I went back to where she was and told her he had gone past looking for her and should I get him for her. She sweetly told me not to worry and headed off after him. Next I saw them it was whilst unpacking their trolley at the checkout and I had to capture them. I didn’t want to intrude by asking for their photograph. Hence my slightly voyeuristic shot. But it was more my observation of them that I was grateful for today. For a little flash of hopefully how B and I will be one day. They were so caring of each other, it genuinely brought tears to my eyes. On leaving the centre I spotted them again, in a little sedan with the elderly gentleman in the driving seat, as he very cautiously backed out of his parking with his precious cargo. Too cautiously for the lady in her 4×4, who rushed past, hooting at him. This threw him a little. I wish everyone would realise that they too will be elderly one day and hopefully somebody will treat them with care, patience, tolerance and respect. I am so grateful to this wonderful pair for unknowingly sharing a bit of their lives with me today. I will hold it dear.
When both our beautiful daughters were born I remember being overwhelmed, not only with love (and relief that it was all over), but also with gratitude that they were healthy. And still today, right now, this moment, I am so very grateful that my precious girls are healthy. I do know this is something most of us do take for granted and seldom even realise or even consider how grateful we should be for that reality. Every now and then something makes us stop and think and give thanks. Today it was the link I was given to a youtube clip of a wonderful brave young boy with cerebral palsy. What a beautiful boy and family, who bring joy and empathy and compassion to the fore in so many people. The wonderful image of his courage and tenacity hasn’t left me all day.
10 April. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to enjoy a spectacular offering of The Phantom of the Opera with my family. And in particular my girls. I loved how moved they were by it, but even more so by the empathy and compassion shown by Kate at the young man begging in the street on a cold night with only a blanket for company as we left the theatre. At the unfairness of it all. At the sad jolt of reality. I only wished I could find the words to stop her tears. It is just not right.
No-one said it was going to be easy. To be the mother of a teenager. And I am keeping it in perspective. I am. But this was exactly what I didn’t want to happen. And exactly what I knew was going to happen. And exactly what I told myself I had to step back from and let happen. My baby being hurt and let down by some little prick. I know she believed he was more than he was capable of being right now, but he should never have let her believe it. I do have compassion for this boy, because he is going through some serious stuff right now. Far too heavy for a boy of his age, let alone a girl of Kate’s age and sensitivity to be dealing with. I think he gets this and wants to protect her from it but is incapable of treating her with the respect she deserves. Well, I hope he gets this. Or of understanding how much true compassion and empathy she has. He couldn’t have wished to have a more perfect angel at his side right now, but he has no idea how broad and beautiful her wings are. He has no idea how to lean on her. And nor does she know truly what she has. But I see it, fuck do I see it. Maybe I should thank him for not forcing her to find out just yet. She gave him chance after chance after chance to be the man I think he is down deep inside.To be the person she saw he was, or is going to be. He made her happy, but he also made her sad. So very very sad. And for that I’d like to wring his neck. And mine and B’s, for knowing we were right to forbid it, but didn’t, because we knew it was her choice to make.
I am grateful that there were two cars between me and the little maroon number who sneaked into the gap left for cars coming and going from prep at pickup today. Grateful because it gave me time to practice my patience and tolerance and compassion and not blast my horn at them. I am sure they had a good reason.