I’m not one to avoid going out if I don’t have make-up on. I quite often throw on a coat over my PJ’s and slide in to some big boots to drive my daughter down to school. I’m just waiting for the day that I, for some unforseen reason have to get out of my mint green mini-van at the school in front of professionally dressed parents in my old, well warn PJ’s with a pattern that resembles lucky charms.
The day is coming. And I am prepared. Seriously.
But here’s what I’m not prepared for. Ever.
It strikes a fear in me like no other.
Are you ready…..it’s THE LOCKER ROOM. Yes, the locker room.
I feel a bit like I’m back in 5th grade and you start to hit puberty and you realize you are changing, but aren’t sure changing is really ok, so you dread being naked in front of 20 other girls after gym class.
It’s that kind of fear.
Now, I’m not so fearful of the normal women’s locker room. I don’t fear damaging anyone for life when they might see my scarred and nipple-less breasts, but I do worry about the shock factor. Like, whao….I was not expecting that. Because frankly, lets just be honest here. Breasts without nipples is a bit scary.
Even I was scared after my initial reconstruction. It just looks, well, different.
But here’s what really gets me nervous. The locker room at the water park in town where I take my kids, that’s what makes me nervous. You see, my children are used to seeing my body. But other children aren’t. And there are no family changing areas there and no curtains to hide behind. Just me, the locker room and young children all curious and wondering why I look so different. I caught a teenage girl staring the other day. And I’m quick. Super quick. You’ve not seen someone change from a bathing suit to a shirt as fast as I can. The problem lies in how wet the shirt gets.
So the other day I came in to this locker room and started helping my kids get ready. And there stood several women from my children’s school.
Lovely. Just lovely.
I am wrapped in a towel, I look horrible, dripping wet, and they are standing next to me chatting. One of them says, “are you an Angling Mom?” I look slowly at this woman and smile a nervous smile, as she proceeds to say “you drive a green mini-van.” Yes, yes I say.
I really want to melt in to the floor at this moment.
I can’t believe the predicament I’m in. I have three children yelling and screaming at me to get their clothes. And my kids, bless their hearts, don’t get it. And Jeremy would get really angry if he thought I was being all self-conscious about my body in front of the girls. So I’m draped in a towel in front of women that RECOGNIZE me. Shoot. What to do. I did what any other laid back mother who recently went through reconstruction surgery for breast cancer would do. I LEFT my children to fend for themselves and I found a bathroom stall to get dressed. Thank goodness my 3-year-old didn’t run off.
I just couldn’t bear to change right in front of these women who may/may not know I’ve had breast cancer.
If I were being really truthful, this really is one of the hardest thing for me to deal with emotionally. It sends me in to a pathetic emotional downer. I dread it before we go and I dread it as we leave. It takes me a day or two to recover.
Until the next locker room trip.
But like everything else, I will not let fear keep me from enjoying life. I will conquer the locker room for the sake of my children’s water park adventure. But man, am I so tempted to skip it.
Can any other breast cancer survivors relate. You’ll make me feel SO much better if you tell me you can. Or better yet, overcame your locker room fear.