Cancer and the Beauty Industry

IMG_2544On the best of days, a woman’s relationship with the beauty industry is fraught with desire, self-loathing and disgust. Throw in cancer and everything escalates.

The beauty industry. That thing that exists to make sure that we never feel thin enough, that we  need more makeup, that we must never look our age and we must have hair that is long, luxurious and oh so shiny.  That last bit is part of the explanation as to why hair loss is one of the hardest thing cancer patients go through. We can hide a lot of cancers effects on us- but that hair loss is a tough one. It lets anyone who sees us know “I’m sick”. The impact of the beauty industry on us prior to illness only makes it worse as cancer and it’s treatment marches on. You can’t help but look at yourself in the mirror and think oh my god. Sure, there’s wigs….hot itchy things that they are. There’s makeup that helps us look like we have eyebrows and eyelashes, to give us color in our face rather than looking pale and wane. Are we doing all that for ourselves or for society?

For me I was doing it for society on most days. Otherwise the looks you get can be overwhelming.  It’s quite frankly exhausting to do an entire face that looks healthy and human when you’re completely exhausted from treatment. About 6 weeks ago, as I sat on a stool in the bathroom painstakingly painting on eyebrows, I got very angry. Angry at myself for all the years I fell under the spell of the beauty industry. Angry at society for the same. Why aren’t I beautiful just as I am? Why don’t I accept myself just as I am?  As one does with too much time to think, I contemplated my anger, my visage in the mirror. My changes in my skin, my body and of course my lack of hair. My hair will grow back. My body will never be the same. I’ll never be the same

In the midst of all this, I finally see I am beautiful just the way I am. I finally understand that whatever I do makeup wise, I do for me. I finally see my scars as survival, my hair loss as another badge of battle.  Things that once mattered, no longer matter. Looking younger than my age- no longer matters. Worrying about my weight (outside of being at a healthy one) no longer matters. Wearing what society deems acceptable no longer matters.

Living your life authentically you, that matters. Loving yourself- that matters.

Living. That matters. Life is a gift. Stop wasting it on what others think. Society. The beauty industry. The fashion world. They don’t matter. You do. If you dig all that fashion/makeup/hair then do it. If you could give two fucks, then don’t. Just do you.

As always, #FuckCancer

P.S. I love this picture of me because of all the joy you see. My daughter took the shot during Mothers Day last year ❤



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