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Thursday, December 20, 2012


Today was a landmark day: my first shower since my surgery on Monday. (Um. Sorry about the smell guys.) I have these blasted surgical drains in, which can't get wet for a few days, so I've been scrubbing down with baby wipes. Until now!

In addition to being the first time I bathed, it also means it's the first time I disrobed, and the first time I saw the effects of this latest procedure. I've gotten used to my body not looking the way it should, so the fact that my already malformed left boob now looks like a caved in flan was less upsetting than you might imagine.

While regarding my latest transformation in the mirror, I remembered this thing I read about a few months ago: the Japanese tradition of Kintsugi. I believe the term literally means "gold joinery," but the gist is this: rather than discarding a broken bit of pottery, or fixing it with ugly metal staples, in the 15th century the Japanese began repairing broken things with gold. In effect, making the broken things more valuable and beautiful than their intact counterparts. Here are a couple of examples:

It's an idea I relate a lot to. I like the idea of not hiding the truth about an object, and this treatment reminds me of the drawings I was doing after college. In those drawings, I left in my mistakes, because they were a part of the process. (You can see some here.)

And there's also of course the sappy thing about being better with your cracks and damage than you were before. I was at a support group last night for young women with breast cancer, and as always, the topic of "you'll be so much stronger than before!" came up. I don't doubt that this is true for many people. But isn't it also possible that it's just some crappy stupid thing people say? (I've been guilty of saying it myself.) Like when a birds shits on your head, and someone says "Oh, that's good luck!" Is it really, or is it just that a bird pooped on you, and it sucks, and that's all? Having gone through this before with Matt, I can't really say for sure if it made me stronger. I always feel like it made me a worse person -- more judgmental, less forgiving, even more anxious.

And even if Matt's cancer and now my own do somehow make me a better person, I think perhaps I'd rather still be the pre-cancer Emily. I think I'd rather be the weaker version of me. Just saying.

1 comment:

  1. As many others here, I just found your blog because of your video feature on upworthy. I love this post about the Japanese pots, reminds me of a gorgeous picture I saw of a woman who'd had a double mastectomy, and rather than getting artificial breasts, had had a gorgeous full chest tattoo done. I have found a link, I didn't know Facebook removed it