Wednesday, January 21, 2009

You Can’t Really Take a Vacation From Yourself

It was really great to be in Hawaii. I loved the warmth, and the sun, and I didn't hate the wind or rain. I liked the opportunity to swim in the ocean whenever, even if that wasn't very often. I was ready to be home when we arrived back here, but it turns out I only wanted to be home for a day. The next day I was ready to be back at the beach. Alas . . .

It's interesting to travel with other people, when Ian and I have developed such a good dual traveling style. There's a lot of negotiation in travel, even if it's perfectly cordial and functional negotiation, and it's increased by each additional person. We shared a car, and there seems to be nothing in day-to-day life I have a harder time with than not having a car to myself, even though I got to go everywhere I could possibly have wanted to go. But still, I'm not used to having to check with other people about my plans (yes, this was why not driving last summer was such a hardship for me, waa waa). Nevertheless, the chance to spend time with loved ones who we don't see very often really made up for any minor inconveniences about total independence.

The part of the trip that got to me, eventually, around Thursday, was the part that I was really planning to leave at home: the cancer part. It's hard to be in an environment where physical beauty and physical fitness are expected, or assumed, and be bald, pale, pudgy, unusually sun-sensitive, and have only one boob. Oh, yes, I do have certain masking techniques—one, my wig, is obviously good if it completely fools me. I also have lots of hats and two different boobs—the standard one which I always wear in my bras, and a slightly sturdier, clear silicone "swim form", which fits into boob pockets in my swim suits. So yes, I can at least generally present the illusion of normalcy (and I would guess my pale pudginess probably keeps me from being "checked out" too closely—blessing in disguise that . . . although come to think of it, pudginess doesn't keep me from checking out other people . . . hmmm) . . . but I got tired of trying to keep up the illusion.

One way to deal with this "illusion fatigue" is, of course, to not try to keep it up. Go out on the beach with a bald head and one boob case flaccid against my chest. But that method seems very "in-your-face" to me. I don't want people to be looking at me with pity, or surprise, or really at all. Yes, it's self-centered of me to presume that they would, or that they'd care, but there you have it. I care.

So yeah, Thursday night I was sad, and really, really tired of this cancer stuff. I'd like to have my eyelashes back. I'd like to have my hair back. I know I'm not going to get my boob back, and I'm really okay with that. I think the illusion there works pretty well. But I'd like to have my weeks back, so I have the energy to get my form back. I miss riding twice a week. I miss rock climbing. I miss taking long walks (although, to be honest, what's holding me back from that these days is pretty much Hoover and his annoying leash aggression). I miss feeling athletic and toned and strong and fully capable.

1 comment:

The Sanders-Wehrs said...

First off, Calin, pudgy? I don't think that adjective applies. But if you want to go somewhere where no one judges because everyone is winter white and has something unusual going on in their bathing suit, you'll have to go back to the Virgin Islands. It is truly anything goes there...just ask one of the SEVERAL hefty German men we saw wearing tight, tight Speedos. Or for that matter you can go the Brooklyn Bridge Park near my house wear there is a man who sunbathes wearing nothing but a canary yellow g-string.