“What should I write about this week?” That was the question I kept asking while running last Wednesday. All I heard was, “Make it funny.”
Humor? Me? I really don’t consider myself an amusing person. But this answer made perfect sense.
As we round the curve of isolation and prepare to venture into the post COVID-19 environment, many will be wary, unsure of what to expect. But what if we knew that unanticipated opportunities lie ahead? Perhaps then we’d be able proceed more comfortably. That’s why I’m telling you my side boob story – to share that change is OK. We just need to learn how to adjust a bit…
In the spring of 2012, I received a new set of boobs. This wasn’t because I wanted a trade-in. No, I had a double mastectomy the prior November and chose to replace what I “had lost.”
Let me begin by saying that I knew nothing about implants. Apparently, in order to end up with the appropriate projection, size is necessary, otherwise your chest will resemble two flat pancakes. This was difficult for me to comprehend, as I was adamant about not ending up with large breasts. After all, I was a 34B before all of this happened. I just wanted things to return to the way they were, how I’d known them, what I was comfortable with.
Now how does this relate to COVID-19 and reemerging into the “new normal”?
Before the mastectomy, I had a fairly flat chested figure, and I was fine with that. It actually made things easy. I knew how to dress for my body type and could wear tops without concern of “things” spilling over or too much cleavage. Plus, bathing suit shopping was easy. My top and my bottom were the same number size. And, running… I didn’t require a super supportive bra. Simple jog bras worked just fine. While what I had certainly wasn’t anything special, it was what I knew, and to be honest, I felt apprehensive about the upcoming change.
Yet, my implants quickly became my new normal, the reality that had to be. What was I supposed to do… hide, wear XXL shirts, and never put on a bathing suit again?
I still remember one night that June, only six weeks after my final surgery, when my husband and I were coming back from a party. He gently said, “Please never wear that dress again.” Baffled, I asked why. After all, it was my favorite halter sundress – orange with flowers. And hadn’t he had told me earlier I looked nice?
“Yes, but I didn’t see you from the side angle,” was all he said.
When I got home, I immediately ran to the bathroom, turned sideways, and looked in the mirror. That’s when I saw that side boobs – something I’d never had before - had emerged… and they were in full sight.
Horrified with my “new normal,” I realized that things had definitely changed, I’d changed. Certain clothes would no longer fit me like they had in the past. I needed to make adjustments, determine what worked as well as what had to be discarded.
As restrictions begin to lift, we’re all sporting a new set of side boobs – or challenging – which will require us to make changes. What worked before (like hugging friends) may no longer be appropriate. Hanging out in a crowded bar and going to concerts might initially be a bit “too much,” just as the side view was of me.
But this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It is just a shift from what is familiar. And before long, we’ll become comfortable making changes so that we can once again live together in harmony. The trick is being aware of the behaviors that no longer work so we can adjust ourselves and habits to fit this unknown future.
It may sound kind of scary, and you might be forced to retire a “favorite dress” or two, but what lies ahead will be fine, no much better than fine. Just like I rebuilt my wardrobe to fit my new shape and feel more confident, we will all make adaptations as we figure out this new path. I found a few perks (no pun intended) with the new boobs. Likewise, we will find unforeseen benefits this upcoming summer, as we all emerge from our homes and reenter society. After all, haven’t we learned quite a bit about ourselves these past weeks?
The truth is, I’m excited about the future. Yes, things will be different, and as I learned in 2012, I will need to alter some habits and behaviors for this new environment. But just as the whole cancer thing transformed my perspectives in so many ways, COVID-19 can do the same. What if our fears of tomorrow are truly unfounded? What if the future is better, not only for us, but for those around us and our planet? Maybe the biggest thing that we all need to alter is our attitude. For if we modify our expectations, remain open to new opportunities, and leave behind what no longer serves us, well, our new normal might be pretty damn good.
Trust, let go, allow. And when the side boobs pop out, accept that things are no longer as they were and then make the necessary adjustments so that you can proceed with confidence and love, living your greatest life yet!