Friday, June 6, 2014

Owning It

It's been a while since I've posted anything, a fact that isn't lost on me.  The past month I've been looking to my life for blog-worthy anecdotes and have come up short.  It was just yesterday I told my parents that really nothing has been going on except working and rearing my toddler (it doesn't sound right labeling him as such, but it's accurate!).  No more anonymous donors to speak of (duh! I'm not expecting any more either!), no earth-shattering moments, and no patient interactions that I think whoever reads this would find interesting.

But something happened.  I wore a bikini.

Wearing a bikini to the pool is actually a common practice for many 20-somethings like myself.  After my surgery, however, I resigned myself to a life in the one-piece. After all, I have a hard enough time looking at the bag of intestine and poop hanging from my abdomen; why expose the public to such an atrocity?

In the winter, when all the swimsuits hit the stores in preparation for spring, I bought what I thought was the closest thing I could get to normal swimwear: a very nice mono-kini.  It covered up the bulge from my bag decently and allowed me to feel okay enough about my "beach bod".  As long as people can't tell I have a bag, I'm good.

A few weeks ago my husband mentioned he didn't think it would be such a terrible thing to wear a two-piece.  Oh yeah, and flaunt my most major insecurity? Yeah, right! It's one thing to tell people, "I have an ostomy".  It's quite another to go to a very public place with my body on display, and with it, a bag of my waste that, if removed, will show a stub of my intestine that on first glance looks like a very red male reproductive part. No, thank you!

Since then, I have gone to the pool a handful of times.  Every trip I self consciously look down at my bathing suit, silently pleading and hoping that no one will detect an abnormality with my body. 

Last Sunday, I found myself a prime opportunity to read by the pool.  I couldn't find my one piece.  I looked to my old bikinis which were in a give-away pile; they were challenging me.  Maybe I could...  But, my one piece turned up.  How silly of me to even consider exposing my icky insecurity!

Ian's idea of my wearing a bikini came up again today at lunch with my parents.  "He actually wants me to," I said.  To my surprise, my parents agreed that it wouldn't be the worst or the grossest thing in the world.  When it came time to get ready for the pool, I once again donned my one-piece.  Then I got to thinking:

What is so bad about my bag?  Why do I let it make me feel so...freakish?  Is it so freakish?  Doesn't everyone have that one weird thing that bothers them about their body?

I grabbed a bikini from what had been the give-away pile.  I went to the pool in it.  And you know what?  It is the most confident I've felt in the eleven months and one day since my surgery.  I was finally owning it.

My sweetness and me at the pool!
For you formed my inward parts;
You knitted me together in my mother's womb.
I praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Psalm 139:12-14a

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