Tina Martel—Living Flat

I have gone through two cancer diagnoses, several surgeries, chemotherapy, radiation and more tests than I can count. This culminated in my double mastectomy with no reconstruction in December of 2019. I am one of an increasing number of women who have beat cancer or are currently fighting or somewhere in between. We are trying to put all of the pieces of our lives back together. Some don’t fit, some never will again. I am only marginally talking about clothes.

There is this myth, after we have wandered through the treacherous shifting landscapes of the CancerLands, that we emerge on the other side with shining locks, restored breasts and enlightened minds. Time for a reality check. First don’t get me started with the enlightenment that one is far too long a topic for here. My locks never came back, much less in better condition. I do not have much larger and better breasts. I liked my old imperfect ones just fine, but they did try to kill me and for my own health and well-being they had to go.

Now what? I have this body that doesn’t look like the mainstream anymore. We live in a society of judgement. One that is obsessed with breasts. Regardless, I say let’s embrace the “flat”. Let’s embrace our new “fabulous”.

One of the things that has always made me feel better is dressing up and feeling good in my clothes. I have said frequently I am delusional and I frequently pretend I live in Paris, which explains some of my fashion choices.  I will use any excuse to dress up. I put on lipstick every time I had chemo. 

Oddly, I refused to wear a wig. When searching for a wardrobe for my newly streamlined body, I did the same thing I did through my diagnosis – I searched the Internet for ideas. Not all of them I liked. It seemed that I was supposed to wear a number of things: patterns, ruffles, camouflage, prosthetics… which at this point I am viewing more like earrings. I might want to wear larger ones someday.

 The issue with all of this is I’ve never been good with rules. Only wear white after Labour day? Don’t wear combat boots with an evening dress? I did not want to lose sight of who I was and what I liked.  I think what we are all after is acceptance as we are. Women come in all shapes, sizes, colours. This is simply one more. 

For more from Tina, follow her Instagram @not_in_the_pink