This is my mother. The woman who held my hand both times I gave birth and the woman who nursed me back to health after many breast cancer surgeries. This is also the woman who believed in anything I decided I needed to do to heal. She embraced without any hesitation. In addition to being my favourite nurse, she has always been my biggest cheerleader.
This picture was taken 4 years ago after my last cancer surgery and it is here where the story of appeeling started to be written. Life was a hassle and so I made everyone put on a tassel.
I have shared my story on the appeeling website but to it, I want to add a couple of things as I start a new year and reflect on how beautiful life is. My breast cancer journey was a lesson in life, love and acceptance. As a single mother to two young girls, I was faced with a situation where I had to fight in every way I knew how to live. What became clear to me then as it does now, is that I was not alone and the people in my life were the best possible army I could have made to get through this: to fight with me. No matter what I needed to do to cope, what I believed in that would help, I and my daughters, were surrounded by people who lifted me and carried me through without reservation.
We live in a day when there are so many comments to focus on. Regrettably we remember more of the bad than we do of the good. It is just so easy to say something without the consideration to the effect it may have. We place value and often our self esteem in the comments of people who do not give to us, but rather take. Take a moment, today, to shift that value to the people - your own personal army. Feel the strength from this.
Second, I am also reflecting on is the wealth of beauty I have seen through appeeling this past year. The diversity of the images I see, the wonderful wisdom of body positivity champions and the support of strangers. I see people filled with pride, spreading love and being proud of who they are. Each and every moment reminds me why I started appeeling. No one is the same and everyone has scars of some kind. We all have beauty to share and when you can see it, is a gift. So let's start a new year and cast our light as far as we can and remove our fears of the shadows.
My mom wore these pasties the night before my last surgery because I wanted everyone to celebrate their bodies. She wore these because she believed in me and no matter how many times a surgical knife entered my body, she reminded me I was beautiful. She is the captain of my "army" and am always so beautifully reminded how strong that army is.