I have held off this article for a month. A month of festering humility, a month of sobering truth and hardcore self reflection.
We never want to admit to ourselves that we are truly flawed and judgmental. That our own insecurities rear their ugly head when we least expect it: but here I am am eating humble pie and admitting how flawed I am.
When I was chosen as one of the AnaOno Fashion models I was in shock and completely filled with excitement to walk at New York Fashion week. Walking in a lingerie fashion show was waaaay outside my comfort zone but I happily accepted for the cause and what this show stood for, which is women empowerment.
AnaOno is a line specifically designed for breast cancer patients after a mastectomy or surgery that fits everyone’s needs. The show was to raise money for metastatic research which is so under funded. How could I not accept the invitation to be involved and say yes.
As the models were introduced over the few months leading up to the event I became “friends” over social media so I could get to know some of the other models. I knew some where previvors, some survivors, and others were thrivers of metastatic breast cancer. All of us having a story to share and learn from each other.
As the week approached, I had no idea how I would feel or what I was expecting. But my emotions ran high for the few days I was in New York participating. The mental energy it takes to be so outside your comfort zone, meeting new people, listening to other women’s stories, and slipping into clothes that expose a very vulnerable side after your body has been ravaged by cancer is beyond exhausting to say the least.
The part I didn’t expect was for my insecurities to get the best of me.
Friday night was our meet and greet and I was so excited to meet all the women I had been “stalking” (lol) and talking with over social media. When I first walked in I was pleasantly greeted by so many women. We knew each other’s faces and names but to hug and speak with so many women who share a commonality is humbling.
So here is where the ugly green monster reared it’s head. One of the Previvors was a women who has been in the media quite a bit for her story and advocacy. She was also a swimsuit illustrated model and former State pageant title holder. To be in her presence was an intimidating experience. My first impression after meeting her in person, “her and I will not get along” I judged her before I could even know her. I judged her persona and didn’t think to look into her soul. I dismissed qualities she possesed and honestly didn’t want to try.
The next morning I hailed a cab to the location of our all day fitting, runway coaching, and media interviews. I walked into this beautiful and enormous loft where things were moving quickly and people had just started to arrive.
As I approached to sit at a table my insecurities brushed over me like a tidal wave. There she was, Miss Swimsuit illustrated. I didn’t want to be rude and grab another table so I sat down and we started to chat. Light fluffy conversation until some of the others started to cultivate around the table. By then I was starting to let my guard down a bit and was asking more questions about her and her story. Getting into a more heartfelt chat. When all of sudden out of her mouth came….”I didn’t know if you and I would get along” To my shock we both had the same feelings but for different reasons.
As a previvor she was insecure that she didn’t belong with women who have been through chemo, radiation, and years of fighting a disease she is trying to prevent by having had a full mastectomy (with a family history, her mother and grandmother passing away from breast cancer)
In that moment tears filled my eyes as I knew where she was coming from. The feeling of not belonging. The feeling of insecurity and self doubt. I then poured my heart to her and told her my insecurities but assured her we need her in this community. We need her voice and advocacy for the same reasons we need the rest of the warriors who continue to fight daily. My sticking point was my daughter. I told her that her voice would be the voice my daughter would listen to, as Mackenzie is not many years away from having her BRCA testing and decisions that may change her life.
We both listened to each other, our stories, we exchanged laughs, some tears, and we opened the doors of communication. That’s the funny thing about letting your guard down and your insecurities go. You can be present and unapologetically you.
The next day was a blur with photos, interviews, fittings, and the final walk on a New York Fashion Week Stage. The heart pounding adrenaline of waking in lingerie with a body that still seems foreign to me is so unexplainable. But when your heel breaks just as you step on the runway, that will be an OH SHIT! moment of a lifetime. Somehow I made it, somehow I managed to slowly walk, granted looking like I had a stick up my ass but I made it down and back without falling on my face.
The first person to hug me and console my bruised ego of breaking a heel was none other than Miss Swimsuit illustrated. So yes I ate humble pie and continue to keep my little green monster in check.
Fashion week taught me more than I could have ever imagined. Honestly I hope this article is a wake up call to anyone who continues to judge others, before we even know someone’s soul. We are all at fault of being judgmental, sadly, it happens daily. This is a reminder that we ALL have our own stories, our own messages to share, and our own opinions. It doesn’t mean that we are any less than or any better. We are equals, we are human and that’s what makes us Fabulous.
I will continue to keep my little green monster in check because I could have missed out on a beautiful friendship. This was a huge lesson and reminder to always be kind, to never judge the book by it cover, and not let the insecurities get the best of you. Let’s stop comparing our behind the scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.
Wrapping you all in light and love,
xoxo- Dr. Fab