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My Body Ain’t a Wonderland!

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The following is an excerpt from my book Life Beyond Size 6:

“In the eighth grade I earned the nickname “Budweiser” from my gym coach, Coach Jordan.  Why such a name for an impressionable teenager on the brink of womanhood?  Because I had what some call a pouch, a pot belly, but what my gym coach called a beer belly.  I was a 13 year old, skinny kid, with little legs, knock-knees, and big breasts, so you can guess that my body had become an issue.  For the first semester of the eighth grade at Graceland Jr. High, I was always called P.W. 

The second semester came and my nicknamed changed.  The students had to dress in shorts and a tee shirt for gym class, the standard gym uniform with the school name on the front.  We were not allowed to wear our gym shirts outside of our shorts, but some of us girls tried to get away with it anyway.  The coach ordered us to tuck our shirts in almost every day.  We gossiped among ourselves that it was because he wanted to see our little developing butts.  We were soon threatened with a paddling if we came out again not properly dressed. 

Now each student was given the opportunity to lead the class in the daily exercises and my day came.  I walked up front slowly.  Speaking in front of an audience always struck fear in my heart and that day was no exception.  I positioned myself and attempted to call the first exercise when Coach Jordan walked up front and called everyone’s attention to me.  He stood behind me and said, “Oh look at P.W.’s little beer gut.”  He proceeded to pat my little belly and announced that my new nickname was “Budweiser”.  He continued to tell the class that it looked like I had been drinking beer, which was evident by my “beer gut”. 

MeinHighSchool2Mortified, I stood stock-still.  Now I must mention that in that class was a cheerleader or two and a couple of majorettes, girls whom I, at that time considered to have the perfect body and perfect boyfriends.  Also in that class was Bobby Ford.  Bobby was probably the prettiest chocolate boy in the eighth grade.  He played drums for the band and the majorettes (anyone that has attended an inner-city public school knows about the drummers and majorettes), and I was totally in love with him, although he never knew it.  As I stood there in shock, I was snapped out of my reverie by the gym coach as he told me to proceed with the class exercises. 

A couple of weeks passed and I soon forgot my embarrassment, but the scar of that day would stay with me.  I didn’t have to worry about my classmates, but to Coach Jordan I was “Budweiser”.  I took gym class from this same person in the ninth grade and yet my name remained “Budweiser”.  I didn’t realize it then, but that set the stage for me to obsess over my body.”

 

Untitled-1Fast forward a few decades and a potbelly doesn’t seem like the end of the world anymore.  Truthfully, I have always had issues with my body.  I don’t know many women who don’t.  These issues compounded when I faced and went through a double mastectomy after being diagnosed with a very rare form of breast cancer.  Faced with the choice of losing my life or cutting off my breasts, I chose the latter.

The chances of cancer reoccurring greatly increased to eighty percent and I couldn’t take that twenty percent chance that I would remain cancer free with my breasts intact.  With that choice came the change in the way my body looks.  The massive triple H size breasts I had were to be replaced with C cups.  The changes in my body were dramatic physically and psychologically.

The most excruciating thing to deal with were the scars.  You see in order to start the process of reconstructing my breasts; the doctor had to cut and pull a muscle from my back and literally pull it across to my front to build one of my new breasts.  Yes it is as grueling as it sounds.  While the pain was not as bad as I anticipated, the fact that I felt I looked like Dr. Frankenstein’s monster unnerved me to no end.

I’ve had double D’s since the ninth grade and the attention from gawking boys was never fun. So I was okay with a C cup, but the scars were the bane of my existence.  Here I was this vibrant and I thought beautiful woman with scars from several surgeries everywhere.  While I was thankful to be alive and cancer free, I wondered if I could ever marry.  A melancholy smile would cross my face accompanied by a wistful sigh as I would watch colleagues and friends walk down the aisle to say “I do.”

I mean what man would want a woman who looked as though her body had been through a meat grinder.  I’m exaggerating a bit, but that was how I felt at the time.  I worried that a man, any man would be repulsed by my less than flawless skin.  I didn’t struggle with my femininity because of the loss of my breasts like some women who had undergone something similar, I struggled with who and if anyone would want me because of the scars.

cghjcghjcYears after the “all clear” from my oncologist declaring me cancer free didn’t change the fact that I was fearful of dating again.  I was afraid of not just the reveal of the scars eventually, but of the rejection after telling a potential suitor that I am a cancer survivor.  I remember asking a guy advice on when a woman should reveal something so serious.  His answer dealt not so much with the when, but what would happen once that information was on the table.  Said guy warned me that most men would choose not to date or marry a woman who had been through something like that.

My heart was dismayed as I contemplated being alone and never experiencing true love.  The thought made my heart ache.  Then it hit me.  The fact that I survived and won my own personal war with cancer showed not only my strength but my ability to fight.  The man that falls in love with me will not only recognize that, but will love every scar and see them as a beautiful testament to who I am; not repulsion, but adoration.  He’s out there, and he will find me.

 

6 Comments

  1. Sinse

    October 14, 2013 at 9:04 pm

    I APPLAUD YOUR UNDYING STRENGTH MY SISTER! & HE WHO FINDS YOU WILL INDEED FIND A MOST PRECIOUS JEWEL!!! <3
    -SINSE

    • Pam

      October 16, 2013 at 2:58 pm

      Sinse, Thank you so much for your kind words! I know that my King that is pre-destined for me will find and see exactly the jewel you have described.

  2. Jay

    October 30, 2013 at 7:19 pm

    Pam any man who’s mature enough to understand that as sure as we breathe we will all stop breathing one day has the capacity to understand you having had breast cancer. Honey you survived!!! Who wouldn’t want a survivor? There are men out there who’ve encountered some life challenges of they’re own and I think they will respect and admire your strength. I can tell you for sure because I’ve heard this from many men – Confidence is sexy! You’ve been strong in a way we all hope and pray to be. Let that strength fuel your confidence. You’ll be the flame that the moths (men) can’t help but be drawn to.

    • Pamela Williams

      October 30, 2013 at 7:35 pm

      Jay you are surely right. I wake up everyday assured of the strength that I have been gifted. I have realized over the years, that if a man doesn’t recognize that strength, then I didn’t need nor want him anyway. I love walking in confidence. It fuels my very being.

  3. look these up

    November 4, 2013 at 7:24 am

    Hmm it seems like your website ate my first comment (it was super long) so I guess I’ll just sum it up what I had written and say, I’m thoroughly enjoying your blog.

    I as well am an aspiring blog writer but I’m still new to everything.
    Do you have any recommendations for first-time blog writers?

    I’d really appreciate it.

    • Pamela Williams

      November 7, 2013 at 7:16 pm

      Hey! Sorry about your comment getting eaten. I appreciate you visiting my blog and I’m super happy that you are enjoying it.

      Blog writing is not hard, it is just building an audience for it. My first recommendation would be to write from your heart. Be your authentic self. It may sound (read) cliche, but there is a market and audience out there for what you have to say. Next I would say to plan things out a little. What do you want to talk about? Who do you want to say this to? Figure those things out. If you are making posts on Facebook, you are already blogging. Social Media can help you get your blog out there.

      Also do you want to invest in a site or do want to go slow and start out on a free site. You definitely have options.

      There are two good books I would suggest “Problogger” by Darren Rowse and “Angel’s Laws of Blogging” by Concrete Loop’s owner Angel Laws. Darren is the blogging god. He has a great website with the same name as well that will walk you through the things that are in his book.

      I’m also open to talk with you more about this. Email me and we can talk more. In the meantime Google these two books. I wish you well with your endeavors.

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