My double mastectomy crushed my idea of what love looks like
I constantly get asked how my double mastectomy has affected my relationship with Justin. Before I can fully answer that, I think the better question is how has my double mastectomy affected my relationship with MYSELF.
Before my surgery, my friends and family would have described me as confident and sure of myself. I owned every room I walked into. I was ALWAYS happy. But in reality, that was fake confidence. On the outside I was outgoing and self-assured but on the inside I was full of insecurities, fears, and doubts. I learned from an early age how to push down all of my feelings of sadness and how to cover them up with happiness and fluff.
When you are constantly hiding your true feelings and trying to project perfection, you are never really able to be comfortable in your skin or with who you are. Because it's impossible to be perfect so you are setting yourself up for completely unrealistic expectations, both from yourself and from others.
After my surgery I discovered a side of myself I never knew existed. I became the person I always wanted to be. I started caring less about what people thought of me and started caring more about what I thought of myself. Now I allow myself to be vulnerable. To be scared. To admit when I am not happy or when I am uncomfortable. It is a very scary feeling to let others in to see who you really are. But once I was able to be honest with myself, I was able to be honest in my relationship.
I used to think that love meant never fighting, always being happy together, and feeling light and airy. That every day should look like a Hallmark commercial filled with laughs and tons of PDA. But what I learned is that love means accepting the moments that are good AND bad. Justin has seen me with scars and scabs and it feels like he loves me even more now. He didn't bat an eye when I had drains hanging out of my sides filled with blood. He has seen tears streaming down my face during the moments where I have wanted to give up. And he accepts all of me. THAT is what love looks like. That is the kind of relationship I want.
So my double mastectomy definitely crushed my idea of what love looks like. But it was replaced by something SO. MUCH. BETTER.
I saw this quote the other day while scrolling through Instagram and I want to print it out and frame it on every wall in my apartment:
"Love is not:
i will give this to you
if you do this for me."
i will give this to you
so that you may shine."
I think that we should try to love like that in ALL of our relationships.