Saturday, July 9, 2011

Day 430: Katy's Guide to Glamour

There are many things that change after you are diagnosed with cancer; everyone warns you about this and the list of what will change is vast and overwhelming. Some of these things are true, and some are complete bullshit. Some are very unexpected, and tonight I have discovered one of those things.

I can no longer read women's magazines. At least, I can't read them without feeling like an expatriate reading about home and wondering why I don't recognize it anymore.

I might be an intellectual person on some level, but I've always loved reading fun magazines--People magazine during chemo; Glamour magazine on my couch; trashy celebrity rags on the airplane. The celebrity stuff is still entertaining, but I'm having a hard time with fashion magazines these days. As I was reading my most recent issue, I kept skipping around, wondering when I'd get to something I could relate to, and this is what happened.

Katy's Guide to Fashion:

How to find jeans that fit your shape. So they cover what to buy if you're: plus size; tall; petite; pear-shaped.

I don't think I am any of these things. What do you buy if you're somewhat apple-shaped but not entirely, and you have memories of having a big round butt that you don't really have anymore, and your legs are longer than your husband's? Oh well, never mind, I found those size 26 silver jeans and I have a million pairs of them. Next.

Katy's Guide to Beauty:

10 New ways to do your hair! Wait, what do you do when you don't have much hair? When you used to have long curly hair that you never needed to style, and then you were bald so obviously no styling was involved, and now you're just lazy? And what the hell is a fishtail and why would I want that on my head?

Moreover, why am I supposed to be impressed that Carrie Underwood does her own makeup and that she wears four kinds of mascara at a time (OK, that's kind of impressive in a creepy way). Now, I might be impressed if she managed to look "fresh" and "dewy" and "glam" with no hair, eyebrows, or eyelashes at all, but at some point you get past all that and go out of the house anyway.

Kate Moss, style icon! Yes, I suppose, but why does she cover her face with those huge sunglasses all the time? She's pretty, right, doesn't she get paid for people to look at her face? Is that really Kate Moss at all? Imposter alert! But maybe she's just used to them and doesn't know what else to do. I can relate to that, at least. I still laugh when I see those pictures of me from last summer when I was completely bald, but I still put my sunglasses up on my head, like I did when I had hair and I used them to keep the hair out of my eyes. So ok, Kate, rock those out. You win.

Katy's Guide to Health and Body:

(This one has too many possibilities, so I need to just narrow them down):

The summer snacks even skinny chicks eat! These writers need to get a clue. If you're skinny, and you're at the fair, the ice cream shop, the cookout, the movie theater, or the ballpark, you don't give a shit how many calories are in the ice cream (or you wouldn't have gone there) or the burger (or you would have complained about your thighs and refused to eat). You just eat that shit and exercise later. And no one over the age of 5 likes cotton candy, regardless of the zero grams of fat. It's sticky and tastes like cardboard. Come on.

Two of the five articles in this category related to sexiness: Have the sexiest vacation of your life (but don't forget the condoms! I guess this is why it's in the health category) and 10 reasons why you're sexier than ever this month (you're exercising more, wearing less, happier, etc.). I'm thinking, I can have sex now! It's great like before! My menopause is gone! Who cares if I have a week long period every three weeks! That's what towels on the bed are for! And, wait, did I just go on a 10 day vacation? Hell yes that's sexy! It was a VACATION! I came home sunburned, and bruised all over my legs from falling off a bike, with my hair finally looking red in natural light, weighing four pounds more than when I left, and yes that's sexy! Or healthy, or something, but who cares, it was vacation!

Katy's Guide to Men, Love and Life

The sex he'll never forget: Oh come on, this is ridiculous. Many of these supposedly embarrassing and bizarre things that people talk about have happened to me, and none of them were really mortifying, they were just funny. Besides, we've got the whole puking after chemo sex thing on lock. Don't try to beat that.

Can men and women be friends? Let's ask men! And find out that all six give different answers! My feeling on this is that men and women can be friends, especially if women stop trying to figure out what men are thinking because it doesn't really matter if you have fun together and he doesn't act like an asshole. Men might have trouble being friends with women who have breast cancer, however, because it's hard to be friends with someone going through something that involves both boobs and suffering, two difficult subjects for many men, and when you bring them both together it might be easier to just avoid that friend for about a year or so. The ones who don't do the avoiding are keepers though. Reading this made me think, do I still have friends? I think, that's impressive! I work full time, have two kids, had cancer, am dealing with two houses, and somewhere in there are some friends...good deal!

Why are women so obsessed with turning 30? Good question! Rather than go on and on about the sadness, the loss of youth, needing to turn to your mom for advice, just be glad you're turning it, honey. I probably had cancer at 30; 35 could have made me sad but I was a little too sick from A/C to notice, and I'm kind of psyched about turning 36. I feel like I've been 90, and very recently, and now I feel about 19, except for the old-lady stiffness and the post-baby hips and all of that. Forget 30, I'm talking about 40--I want to be 40! I would like to live that long, and get to middle-age.

Now, I know that Heidi Klum might have something to teach me about being hot after age 35, and I appreciate that she seems like a happy, nice person who really loves her husband and thinks he's the hottest thing ever, but I don't think it's practical for Gabe and I to find a babysitter and then have a "sexy week" in London that involves me wearing garter belts and really short skirts. And please, please, tell me, what in the hell is a "fallopian-length" dress?

I couldn't have made that up. Seriously, I'm dying to know. From my vantage point, it just sounds like something cancerous.

So, I get to the end of the magazine in about 10 minutes because I just don't find anything I can read for long. I tried to read the article about children who were abandoned by their mother and left in a horrifically abusive environment but I just can't read stuff like that, not when I'm just trying to see my kids grow up and I feel physically ill thinking about bad things happening to them. So what else to read? I don't have much hair and what I have is totally unruly. I wear the same minimal makeup as before and I wore the same stuff when I was bald (I guess that's known as a "rut."). I know I'm supposed to diet, especially since I'm triple negative and fatty foods are bad, but I'm enjoying eating food right now. I've had to buy new clothes so many times over the last several years as I've changed sizes that I can't just buy clothes because I like them; I usually buy them because I can't fit in the old stuff. And advice on how to cover up imperfections? There's a lost cause. I've got scars, tattoos, cellulite, that mommy middle that doesn't go away no matter what I do, and I think I can wear a bikini anyway. Why not, who cares, I'm over 35 so no one's looking at me anyway right?

Gabe and I had fun taking these pictures. How do I pose in a bikini? Wait, I know! Put on some nude heels! All these models do that, and it's completely ridiculous, because no one wears heels at the pool or the beach unless she is a moron, but here goes. And Gabe googled "how to pose in a bikini" and found an actual website tutorial, with pictures and step-by-step instructions. There was no advice on what to do if you have an enormous ribcage for your small frame, as I do, but we did our best. Good thing I was never a model, we were literally "ROFL" from some of the pictures we took of me clowning in the living room, but we found one that doesn't look terrible. So I ask, did I pass the Glamour test? Is this a Do or a Don't?

Or maybe an I Don't care?

Where's the article for bathing suit-buying advice for women with breast cancer? Mastectomy suit, anyone? Suit that covers your scars and tattoos? Nah, just wear the damn thing, if anyone's looking that closely, and that person is not your husband, you have bigger problems anyway. (One of my tattoos is visible with all of the swimsuits I own, but I didn't really realize until we were taking these shots that my lumpectomy scars are visible if I wear a bikini. Oh well!) These magazines are for fun, and I love clothes and stories about what women are doing around the world and I even love men, but right now I just don't relate. Don't get me wrong, I'm not canceling my Glamour subscription. I still enjoy reading it, but it just doesn't take me as long. And I laugh more, and think about weird things ,like did these models all get lessons on how to look cheerful and playful and exuberant?

I suppose they did, but at the end of the day, they didn't need to...just remember when you were a kid, a real one, jumping up in the air because you're so excited about throwing a rock into the lake. Remember that, take it with you. That's kind of what it feels like sometimes to be on the cusp of 36, while you look like a stranger to yourself and you have decided to wear a dress every single day to work because it's summer, damnit, and your husband paws at you all the time and you have a new job that doesn't yet make any sense and you fall off your diet and do daily, rather than monthly, breast exams, and you obsess about your birthday next month because you think...36, I think I'm gonna make it!

And I will just add one thing to the two last pieces in the magazine: "10 Times You Should Trust Your Gut Already:" followed by the Dos and Don'ts Page:

I say you should trust your gut all the time, because it's the only thing that's kept you alive these almost 36 years. Hair, makeup, yes that's all fun. But I'm giving a shout-out for this thing I've honed for years: An over-developed instinct for self-preservation. I hope my daughter has it...I know she will need it. It might not work for me forever, I might have worn it out, but in the meantime it was a definite Do.

'Night, all.

1 comment:

  1. This is a great post. Plus I love that you Googled how to pose in a bikini.