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Letting Go – Moving on after a Mastectomy
By: Alicia
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May 18, 2015

Spring cleaning.  The annual event to go through the closets, clear the clutter, clean the house, and move into the Spring season.  Out with the old, in with the new.  Open the windows and let the fresh air in! A time for rebirth and renewal.

The tradition of spring cleaning is centuries old.  The origins and history of when, where, and how Spring Cleaning got started varies by religion and culture, but most historians agree it evolved from a Persian custom called “khooneh takouni” which literally means “shaking the house”.  (You’re welcome, now go try out for Jeopardy).  That’s the best metaphor for this process.  Get in there, shake the house, clean it up, and face the new season.

Clearing the Closets

A few weeks ago, my husband and I were doing just that.  After a long, cold, snowy winter in Boston, we were ready for Spring.  At the first hint of warm weather and sunshine, we threw open the windows and declared an all out assault on clutter and general house mayhem and pledged to live a simpler life.  I spent time reading wonderful books about the process of living a simpler, clutter free life.  Books like “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” (h/t Patti Digh) and the “Joy of Less” gave me the power to get in there and do some serious cleaning and purging.   Clothes that were too big? Gone.  Clothes that were too small?  Gone.  Mismatched towels, sheets, and old sneakers were bundled up and carted off to Goodwill.  The process was cathartic. Freeing. We were on a roll.  Tiny House living here we come!

Steve and Alicia in the Great Purge and Cleanse of 2015

Steve and Alicia in the Great Purge and Cleanse of 2015

The Great Purge and Cleanse of 2015 was on a roll.  The feverish pace continued until I found one long forgotten item stuck deep in the bowels of our closet, underneath boxes and wrapped in an old pillowcase.  A Victoria’s Secret black bra. Size 38 D. I delicately unfolded the bra and sat down on the corner of the bed.  Why was I holding on to this?  I showed my husband, “What should I do with this?”  He responded like any husband should: “Whatever you want to do with it is fine with me.”  I thought for a moment, “I guess I should throw it out.”  When he walked out of the room, I hid the bra in my underwear drawer.  I wasn’t ready.

It’s been 7 years, 4 months, and 4 days since I had a bilateral mastectomy with no reconstruction. I have no need for a bra. Never opted for fake inserts, balls of kleenex, or  knitted foobs. Why have I held on to this bra?

Facebook is Watching

Over the years, I’ve thrown out all the rest of my bras but couldn’t let that last one go. Perhaps I was hoping I’d need it again. Maybe I held onto to it to remind me of life before breast cancer.  Was it a reminder of what could have been? I spent many hours thinking about throwing out this simple piece of fabric.  I knew it was time to let go.  But every time I stood over the trash bin, I just couldn’t do it.

Last week while scrolling through the wasteland that’s become my Facebook timeline, I saw this sponsored post.  For a black bra.

FB_bra

I know this company has no idea that I had a bilateral mastectomy but it still felt like a punch to the gut.  The absurdity of it all made me realize it’s time to let go.  That last bra had to go.  No more holding on to the past.

Goodbye Victoria’s Secret

Last night, I pulled out that black bra for the last time.  I showed it to my husband and declared I was ready to throw it out.  He just smiled and nodded.  To break the sadness that I felt, I did what I do best; I cracked a joke about the whole situation.

“I guess they aren’t growing back.”  My husband looked at me, not sure how to react, and quietly started laughing. And I did too.  A laughter that grew into a crescendo. Hearty laughter about a situation I’d never wish on anyone.  A soul cleansing laugh that made me realize I’m ready to move on.  And that’s what I did.  Out with the old.  7 years, 4 months, and 4 days later. It feels good.

“Let go of the past, and the past will let go of you” – Unknown.

5/18/15 Tweetchat Transcript via Symplur

 

 

Comments

BCSMChat

Date: 18 May, 2015

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NancysPoint

Date: 18 May, 2015

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stales

Date: 18 May, 2015

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DrAttai

Date: 18 May, 2015

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stales

Date: 18 May, 2015

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stales

Date: 18 May, 2015

RT @BCSMChat: Tonight's #BCSM - "Letting Go" http://t.co/LTv2qfslwo Join us 9pm ET

DrAttai

Date: 18 May, 2015

RT Tonight's #BCSM - "Letting Go" http://t.co/NVqKzIfVlp - join us 9pm ET

LizSzabo

Date: 18 May, 2015

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bccww

Date: 18 May, 2015

“@DrAttai: RT Tonight's #BCSM - "Letting Go" http://t.co/GsK1I20f9r - join us 9pm ET” a moving post #bccww

stales

Date: 18 May, 2015

Moving on - Tonight's topic on #BCSM - Are you ready to start living again? http://t.co/mNYbiYHIla Took me awhile

AirXpander

Date: 18 May, 2015

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lgotl1230

Date: 18 May, 2015

RT @stales: Tonight on #BCSM - 9 PM ET - We're talking about letting go. Moving on. http://t.co/n3rlRBCXeZ Join us!

ABHuret

Date: 18 May, 2015

RT @stales: Tonight on #BCSM - 9 PM ET - We're talking about letting go. Moving on. http://t.co/n3rlRBCXeZ Join us!

teaminspire

Date: 18 May, 2015

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NickiDurlester

Date: 18 May, 2015

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LguzzardiM

Date: 18 May, 2015

RT @DrAttai: RT Tonight's #BCSM - "Letting Go" http://t.co/NVqKzIfVlp - join us 9pm ET

Jackie Fox

Date: 18 May, 2015

Great topic and congratulations!

Alicia

Date: 18 May, 2015

Thank you!

Dr_Dana

Date: 18 May, 2015

RT @DrAttai: RT Tonight's #BCSM - "Letting Go" http://t.co/NVqKzIfVlp - join us 9pm ET

FiftyIsFab

Date: 18 May, 2015

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BCSMChat

Date: 18 May, 2015

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Elissa_Malcohn

Date: 18 May, 2015

RT @BCSMChat: Join us tonight for #BCSM - "Letting Go" 9pm ET http://t.co/LTv2qfJWnW - all are welcome

AirXpander

Date: 18 May, 2015

Tonight's #BCSM TweetChat: Letting Go – Moving on after a Mastectomy, starting at 6pm PT/9pm ET. Join the... http://t.co/Gzea3g4YT7

stales

Date: 18 May, 2015

RT @BCSMChat: Join us tonight for #BCSM - "Letting Go" 9pm ET http://t.co/LTv2qfJWnW - all are welcome

emily_priscilla

Date: 18 May, 2015

RT @BCSMChat: Join us tonight for #BCSM - "Letting Go" 9pm ET http://t.co/LTv2qfJWnW - all are welcome

stales

Date: 18 May, 2015

I wrote a post about how letting go of a reminder of my life before BC has helped me move forward http://t.co/TFFLfBSgZL #bcsm

TalkIBC

Date: 18 May, 2015

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MHBTmovie

Date: 18 May, 2015

RT @stales: I wrote a post about how letting go of a reminder of my life before BC has helped me move forward http://t.co/TFFLfBSgZL #bcsm

stales

Date: 18 May, 2015

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youngblood263

Date: 18 May, 2015

RT @stales: I wrote a post about how letting go of a reminder of my life before BC has helped me move forward http://t.co/TFFLfBSgZL #bcsm

stales

Date: 18 May, 2015

@AleneGoneBad took a big step in that direction http://t.co/n3rlRBCXeZ #bcsm

stales

Date: 18 May, 2015

@Dr_Dana Thank you! http://t.co/n3rlRBCXeZ #bcsm

RandieK

Date: 18 May, 2015

RT @stales: I wrote a post about how letting go of a reminder of my life before BC has helped me move forward http://t.co/TFFLfBSgZL #bcsm

LifePowerBlogCa

Date: 18 May, 2015

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DrStephValente

Date: 18 May, 2015

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BCSMChat

Date: 18 May, 2015

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7fits

Date: 18 May, 2015

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stales

Date: 18 May, 2015

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chigrl13

Date: 18 May, 2015

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