by: Suzanne Maiden
My body is no longer beautiful. I am disfigured. Cancer surgery to remove a fist-sized tumor that attached itself to my lower spine, hip, and back of my stomach muscle – left my body rearranged. What a humbling, deflating reality. My right hip is significantly bigger than my left because the surgeon stuffed “live” tissue into the gaping hole the tumor left. Who knew you just can’t take a big tumor out without replacing it with something else? The doctor took my right stomach muscle and wrapped if over the hip area. And, because I don’t have that muscle anymore, the right side of my stomach sticks out more than the left.
When I wear dresses or skirts, the right hem is always higher than the left side. I look like I’m constantly standing with my left knee bent and right hip jutting out. I’m cockeyed. For someone who loves clothes this really stinks. Of course, I could pay to have everything altered. It’s a cruel twist to be robbed of something you’ve kept up and taken care of. But the oxymoron is it must be exactly what I needed. I believe the Universe always seeks balance, and when the pendulum swings too far in one direction – it must reset itself. Finding the fulcrum, the center, is a constant battle. What needed realignment? My over-identification with my body. I was blessed with a beautiful figure. My mother had a beautiful body and professionally modeled. I inherited her physique. I naturally had a flat stomach, long lean legs and full breasts. Years ago, I applied for a modeling job. The interviewer said, “Well, clearly you hit the gym hard.” I nodded, hoping he could not detect my deceit on my face. I was not working out at that time. I didn’t need to.
I hate to admit that I slightly judged over-weight people when I saw them chowing down on junk food. I was inflated and arrogant. How funny and synchronistic is life! My soul needed to experience my own disfigurement and loss of body beauty to increase my empathy and decrease my judgment.
While I sometimes experience grief when I look in the mirror or try on clothes, I am growing. I am less identified with my body and more interested in my soul’s growth and inner journey. While I hate this lesson – being robbed of my beautiful body – I know I needed this experience for my own realignment. It took a dramactic event like cancer to correct my vanity and arrogance.