When I had FBC (f-bomb breast cancer for new readers), my dear friend Elizabeth Messina photographed me. She said, “I’m your good friend and a professional photographer. I don’t know what the f-bomb else to do for you.” When she proposed the idea, I thought not about the photographs themselves, but that it would be a great opportunity to spend time together. I mean, really, if I had actually been of sound mind and thought of seeing photographs of me while I was in the bottomless pit of chemo despair, I would have said no way, Jose! But – thankfully – I wasn’t thinking clearly.
Here’s the thing: during treatment, when I looked in the mirror, I saw breast cancer, mutilation, chemotherapy, radiation, scarring, illness…need I go on?
However, the images that Elizabeth produced of me – non-photoshopped by the way (because I asked!)- were extraordinary. She showed me that even though I saw myself as a sick, bald skeleton, that underneath the disease and treatments, I was still me. There was no – absolutely no – greater gift or Silver Lining that I could ever have received in the world!
This reminds me of the Dove Real Beauty Campaign. Have you seen it yet? I’m sure that you have, considering millions – literally millions – of people have seen it. Quite frankly, it’s one of the most powerful ad campaigns that I’ve ever seen. So powerful, in fact, that I forgot it was even an ad campaign after the first 2 seconds.
Please – whether you’ve seen it or not – take the time to watch this video. I’ve seen it time and time again and want you to have the pleasure of watching it and reflecting…
Powerful, right? The video stopped me dead in my tracks. The lesson – it seems to me – is that people tend to fixate on their imperfections. I know I always have. I recognize that this is a commercial, but nevertheless, this video highlights the real and often unspoken insecurities among women, myself included.
My huge takeaway is to not only change my perceptions about myself, but to teach Suddenly Seven to be happy in herself and not worry about conforming to an idealized beauty. The only way to teach this is by modeling (on the runway of life) this behavior for her. This will be one of the greatest Silver Linings that I, as her mother, can give her.