Since my double mastectomy in 2011, I’ve had this obsession with shopping for lingerie online. I wrote about how much I love my new boobs here. And I really do. They feel more like mine than my old ones. And when I’m down or the guest of honor at my own pity party, I wind up online looking at bras and panties. Actually I tend to do it no matter how I feel, but more so when I need a pick me up.
I’ve gotten great at finding sales (Barneys Warehouse is one of my favorite places to go) and there is nothing like getting a matching bra and panty set to make me feel beautiful and frisky and to elevate my mood.
I chalk up these purchases as acts of self love. Ways to pamper myself and remind myself of the femininity that came into question early on in treatment. This was something that was important for me to find again. My body had changed in so many ways. Aside from the obvious loss, I prematurely lost my period, I lost my ability to have children. There was noting gradual about this. It was all of a sudden. And the question was how do I find my womanhood in the context of such a dramatic shift of self?
For me one of the tools is this new joy of lingerie. Every little package is like a love letter to my body. A way of saying I deserve to continue feeling like a sexual being. I deserve to feel pretty. And for that I am grateful.
What I find as I navigate this whole experience is that the more I am able to focus on gratitude and joy, even in things that seem as trivial as underwear, the better the journey is. Every time I look for something pretty to wear, I am shifting the focus from loss to gain. The gaining of a new sense of self, of self confidence and of a little bit of joy that helps get me through that moment.
There are certainly less material tools out there to find acceptance in the now, but I wanted to share this one. I often hear people deny their sexual selves after treatment and I can imagine that some may also deny themselves material pleasures. I wanted to weigh in to say there’s nothing wrong with wanting to feel sexy post surgery and there’s nothing wrong with a little retail therapy now and again. Especially if it helps you romance your new self.