Fried Shrimp! – Forgiving the Bitches that Betrayed Me

A double mastectomy is an incredible loss. No, it’s not just loss it’s worse than loss, it’s betrayal of the worst kind.  It’s the kind of betrayal that can only come from someone you thought was your friend only to discover you were wrong. The kind of loss that leaves you with questions.  If you were ever my friend, how could you act like this?  How could you put me through this?  The type of loss where you start to question yourself, how did I not see it sooner?

But after all the tears and the anger there comes a day of reckoning. A day when you look at yourself in the mirror and decide to accept the situation as it stands now.  You run your fingers along your wounds and take note or your scares. There’s a sad almost poetic elegance to them. They haven’t cut you too deep.  In fact, in some places you can hardly tell at all.  Of course, you’ll never be the same.  It’s possible that one day you may opt for prosthetics or tattoos, but all the cosmetics in the world can’t erase the past.

The problem with burning bridges is they can’t be unburnt.  There is no possible way you will ever be able to go back to the way you were.  You’re only choice now is to build a new bridge.  It’s the only way you’ll ever be able to move on.  Holding on to anger and hurt keeps you in a painful place, one you have come to realize you no longer have time for. Life is just too short.  Cancer has taught you to respect the fact that at any moment it all can change. It gives you a profound perspective on what is important and more importantly what isn’t.

But how does one forgive the unforgivable?  How do you come to terms with having been wronged and somehow manage to let it go?  It’s so much easier to simply avoid or put on a brave face and act like you don’t notice.  It’s easier to bundle your feelings up and stuff them in a drawer or sweep the under the rug.  After-all, how do you stare down the pain of betrayal and make it okay?

The first conversation after a painful breakup is always awkward.   Starting a conversation after you’ve been hurt is no easy task.   There are some things you just can’t apologize for.  There is nothing that could be said that would make you whole again. There are no right words.

Fried Shrimp!  It’s the only thing to say when you’ve had an awkward break up and don’t know what to say.  Seriously, try it some time.   (Thank you Iliza Shlesinger for that tip!)   Fried Shrimp works wonders. It’s fine that it doesn’t make any sense because the only thing worse than an awkward first conversation, is perpetual sadness.  The first step to forgiving is recognizing it’s time to not be sad anymore.  The worst of it is over.  You don’t want to dwell there anymore, it’s time to move on with your life.  It’s time to let go of your hurt.

Sometimes to truly let things go, you have to embrace them.  Just look them in the eye, smile, walk right up, chest to chest, wrap your arms around them and squeeze. (Hopefully, not too tight because it’s a little painful.) It will never be like it was, that time in your life is over.  As fun as it was, it ultimately grew unhealthy and nearly tragic. You’ve had to accept the fact that removing a part of you was simply doing what needed to be done.

Breath.  The letting go is hard.  Sometimes letting go is harder than hanging on.  But, you have a choice.   The situation is what you make of it, you can continue to let it hurt you or you can choose to feel something else.  Once you’ve had cancer, it’s never very far from you mind. You develop a sense of gratitude for the moments. You become grateful to still be here, to live another day, to tell your story. You are one of the lucky ones.  Not everyone is so very lucky.

Only then do you recognize the awesome power of forgiveness.  Forgiveness, is a personal choice one only you can decide if and when to give.  The beautiful thing about forgiveness is you can give it, even if it isn’t being asked of you.  Sure those bitches betrayed you, but it’s not worth the energy it takes to remind yourself how much they hurt you every time you think of them. It’s time to make peace or at least make civil because thankfully, life goes on.

Cancer has a funny way of putting things in perspective.  It touches too many lives.  It’s a bit ironic that cancer is the ultimate common ground.  No matter how significant the rift is, cancer has a way of reminding us that there’s only one kind of people in this world, people who die. (If you’ve never listened to the song One Kind of People by Amigo the Devil you should seriously look it up on YouTube.)

Finally, you have found humor.  Once you have learned to laugh again you can step back to take in your new form and wonder what the final stage of reconstruction will look like.  Gradually, the fear subsides and you realize it’s going to be okay.  As you stare in the mirror and wonder it hits you, the way they left that one piece of skin… you burst into song, who lives in a pineapple under the sea? SPONGE BOB SQUARE TITS!  There is no greater medicine than the ability to look at yourself and laugh.

You take a moment and just marvel.  The doctors really can do amazing things. Hell, with no nipples you kind of look like a Barbie doll.  WOW, with those expanders in there you kind of feel like a Barbie doll.  Suddenly, the awkward first conversation stops being awkward and becomes acceptance.

Here, feel my boob. No seriously it’s cool, our relationship has changed.  It’s more like a hands-on science experiment and it is genuinely fascinating.  The human body is truly amazing but only half as amazing as the human mind.  Our ability to lose, to grieve, to evolve, to choose what we make of every situation is a gift.

Whether it is Fried Shrimp or Here, feel my boob.  You’ve managed to break the ice.  The relationship is no longer stagnant, it is no longer painful, and it is moving forward.  With every conversation and telling of your story you take a step toward accepting your status as a survivor and forgiving the bitches that betrayed you.

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