Tuesday, July 15, 2008


I've noticed something recently.

Looks from people.

Smiles from men. As I pass by random strangers on the street there is a nod or a look of acknowledgement. At the very least there is a focusing of their retina's and I know that they know I'm here. They can see me.

I seem to have finally come out of the shadows of invisibility.

Even during the time people refused to see me I was still here, still the same person. The lack of acknowledgement was painful. I became used to people avoiding eye contact and forgetting about me as soon as they were able to turn in another direction. There have been a lot of doors shut in front of me. A lot of getting ignored in stores. A lot of painful silence.

The most painful moment I have, though, is not of silence. Just before I was diagnosed I was out with friends and had several yummy guys vying for my attention. They were 24 and I was 33 so I didn't pay much attention although I did go out for pizza with one of them. Why not? He was really hot.

Flash forward to six months later and I looked like this. I was travelling to Vancouver on a regular basis for my treatments and was very ill. I had a black eye, patchy hair and a huge face. As I hobbled through the ferry to go to the bathroom two young adult men walked by and as soon as they were directly behind me, still in earshot, they said, "What was that? Dude, that was messed", and burst out laughing.

My heart broke into tiny pieces. I turned and watched them as they continued walking down the ship hallway, laughing. I felt ashamed and angry. I felt like a monster and ached to look like myself again. I learned vanity in an instant. I had been keeping my chin up about my disfigured body, refusing to feel less than who I was but that moment was devastating. The pride I held in, Me, was crushed. My entire being was categorized and dismissed because of how I looked. My body had failed me.

All I could think at that moment was how they would have been trying to get in my pants, 6 months earlier. Now I was a joke. I have never been vain but suddenly I looked back to what I used to look like and realized...I was beautiful. I will never take my looks for granted again.

So, very recently I must have changed. It's remarkable to be walking among the living again. To see their side glances and their smiles. They check me out when I'm in my car driving by. I'm actually startled when men of all ages flash me a flirty smile. I feel a little cold inside. I feel like a shroud has suddenly been pulled off of me and part of me feels a little bitter knowing that just a few weeks ago these same people would have stepped over me if I was laying in the street. They would have ignored me as I struggled through doors, bumped into me without a thought...

So, I seem to have morphed into another stage. I'm no longer an outsider but an equal participant.

I seem to be fit for human consumption again.


Anonymous said...

I had a terrible accident several years ago that disfigured my face. I understand the pain caused by the shift in public emotion when one strays from the normal strictures of beauty.


becca.elpy said...

wow, this was sad, but beautifully told.

Kelly Kane said...

Well my love, I say it's time to start moving forward and try (I know it's hard) to focus on the future and not the past. Live your life. Get that smile back. Have some fun! Drink some of your appletinis. Pick up some men, and most of all, laugh.

I miss you.


Miss Melanoma said...

You are the bomb. I wish I had the guts to write the truth the way that you do.

Thank you for writing the truth. I hope that somehow, no matter how hurtful it is to relive it in words, it brings you the peace you deserve- or a pair of fabulous shoes that make you feel extra sexy and illusive- whichever you prefer.


Hedgelands Glass Lass said...

Thank you for posting this. You've had a glimpse of what many many people endure all the time and never escape from.

I'm glad you are turning the corner and feeling more like yourself.

Michelle said...

Hiya, i'm so glad you are being noticed, but you know what...who really cares? Your still you, inside and your beautiful no matter what!!! Beauty?? Again i say who cares??? I'm just saying!!

Miss Melanoma said...

I wish I knew what to tell you about your son not wearing sunscreen. I remember being 18 and invincible and extremely strong willed. I sometimes have trouble getting my 5th grade students to apply sunscreen but they tolerate me and listen pretty well after my story about being in the hospital for 35 days. If I hear any tips for teens, I'll pass it on to you. Sorry I'm not more help.
Weird that I just read an article the other day about Canadian kids and sunscreen. http://www.citynews.ca/news/news_24639.aspx

Good to hear from you! Keep writing- you're giving me hope.


High Desert Diva said...

Society is strange.

I'm invisible until I fall under a certain weight...then I get noticed.

Usually I'm not under the weight, so frequently I'm invisible. Which is strange since at 5'10" you'd think that would be hard.

All that just means I've felt your pain...although differently.

Glad you're not invisible anymore!

BaldyLocks said...

So strange. Very sad too.

Ryan Armbrust said...

So sorry those asses knocked you down. Don't let a few chuckledicks ruin your great attitude.

Morgan Street said...

This made my heart hurt! For this very reason I have ALWAYS taught my children to never ever ever think less of another human being because they look different!

I wish that by some twist of fate those 2 stupid boys could somehow run across this post during their lifetime and realize the amount of pain they inflicted on you that day.

April H said...

That is heartbreaking. The insensitivity of people is maddening. But good for you for standing up tall now. You deserved it then, you deserve it now. You have one bright future ahead of you.


Kim said...

I have spent the morning reading your blog and watching your videos and you my dear are an amazing human being. The memory of those boys in their moment of complete ignorance will some day make you laugh. I have been pretty darn lucky in life (knock on wood) to not ever be sick but I was fat and ugly in high school and have so many stories just like yours. Boys who would push me down the stairs at school, call me names and tell me how ugly I was behind my back and right to my face. Now almost 20 years later I laugh in the faces of those jerkoffs as I enjoy my extremely perfect successful and much prettier life. I have even gotten to turn a few of them down when they asked me out after I blossomed. Just keep that in mind as you continue to heal and blossom.

MindyG said...

Thanks for sharing your story...keep your head held high!

BaldyLocks said...

Thanks for all of your beautiful and supportive posts. I also taught my children to care for people who don't fit the status quo and now they are very kind and considerate to persons with disabilities.

Their empathy and love is amazing to watch.

Bohemian Chic said...

You have and always will be beautiful...I knew you before and I seen you after...you still have the most stunning eyes. Those of us that know the real you except this was just another stage in your on going quirky style....but as a person who walks through life constantly ignored and unseen...I feel the pain you feel. I know what its like to be put on the shelf and forgotten. Even when you are feeling lousy...you radiate something extra special we all don't have.