Fashion Friday 6/21/13

This week’s Fashion Friday comes to us from my friend Cecelia. Yay! It’s a bit different from the usual fare but something excellent.
.
Side note: I’ve been so grateful to our guest bloggers who have been stepping in while I’m traveling and finishing novel revisions. You’ll hear more Fashion Friday stuff from me next month, and I’ll get back to posting other writings very soon, too.  Lots of publication-type irons in the fire at the moment. Everyone’s patience is SO appreciated.
.
Now, without further ado…
.
***
.
Greetings!
.
Angélique asked me to be a guest blogger this month. Thank you, sweet lady! What an honor!
.
Fashion… For those of you who know me, it should be rather humorous that I’d be a commentator on fashion. I’ve spent most of my life walking a different fashion path from most of my sisters for a few different reasons: I’m nearly 6 feet tall (yes, I know, there are several lovely women out there who are 6 feet and over, including my sister!); I have proportionately large feet (size 12 and 13… two sizes. Egad.); and I was raised, really, almost as a boy — well, at least in my mind, I was. It’s a matter of perspective. Most of my existence as a young teen and early adulthood was spent with extremely short hair, shoulders like a quarterback from digging fence posts and doing other farm work, and helping my extremely adventurous mother in her various endeavors, such as roofing the barn. There was precious little focus on learning how to put on makeup or play with accessories — we had work to do!
.
I like to look pretty. I like to feel pretty. I like to feel “feminine.” As a young woman, feeling like I was pretty and feminine was a struggle that I thought was singular to me — there was something just a little **off**, perhaps. I blamed my weight. I blamed my glasses. I blamed my large feet that just simply wouldn’t oblige me by fitting into the latest fashions. I blamed never having learned how to be a girl. Oh, Lord, I was SO normal.  🙂
.
But, as it says in the Bible, there finally came a time for me to put away childish things and look at myself and the world around me with new eyes.
.
Your fashion blog post today, ladies, is about the ultimate accessory — that inner goddess within.
.
*******
.
A little back story:
.
In 2006, at the ripe age of 39, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I had a lumpectomy, 4 rounds of chemo, 6 weeks of radiation (I referred to these treatments as my “boob-b-ques”). Yes, I lost my hair and I didn’t look half bad bald….
.
Which was good, since in 2007 I was diagnosed AGAIN with a local recurrence in the same breast. I was done playing — I told the surgeon we were cutting the breast off and, oh by the way, call my gynecologist because I was having a hysterectomy during the same surgery. My ovaries were doing me no favors — they were only making estrogen that my cancer was yummying up. I went through 6 more months of chemo, bald again, and was also a “uni-boob.” And have I mentioned that chemo caused me to put on a few extra pounds (like 30????)?
.
This experience was a little wearing on the ole self-esteem… I didn’t like wigs — they’re hot! I wore hats because the wind across the scalp made the stubble vibrate — EEEK! Nails on a chalkboard don’t compare!! — but I looked goofy in them. I threw up in neighbors’ lawns a couple times… This all adds up to what one might refer to as “a humbling experience.”
.
Fortunately, I grew up in a home where laughter was the greatest antidote. Whatever we went through, we found something to laugh at. My sense of humor was one of my best friends during my experience (and still is).
.
*******
.
So, I picked up the paper one morning in 2007 while I was going through chemo, and discovered a mention in the Religion section that the Greater Houston Hindu community was celebrating “Janmashtami” — Krishna’s Birthday — at the George R. Brown Convention Center. There was going to be dancing and lots of homemade vegetarian food, monks were building a huge sand mandala, and a guy who’d portrayed Krishna several times on Indian TV was going to be the key speaker.
.
I immediately pegged my husband Charles: “WE’VE GOTTA GO!” (I have a degree in anthropology. I’m geeky like that.)
.
It was a fabulous event, even better than promised. We both had a wonderful time and that night, I couldn’t sleep. So I started doing some free-associating.
.
The next morning, I wrote the following in my “Dear Amy” breast cancer blog (which I don’t keep up anymore, but if you’d like to read the other posts, you can find them at http://ceottenweller.blogspot.com). This was posted September 8, 2007.
.
“I started doing some free-associating while lying in bed, picturing myself sitting in front of Krishna (and, yeah, he was blue… I’ve gotta find out why they paint him blue…). I decided to pull in some other experts and visualized Jesus off to the left, and then for balance’s sake, put Mohammad on the right. (No specific order here, don’t want you to think I was exercising any favoritism. I just happened to be thinking of Krishna first, so he got the center position — plus, it was his birthday, so he had dibs.) I thought Jesus and Mohammad were good to have on hand — both of them were very pro-female and I assumed that they’d have some essential insight for me. (If you don’t believe me about Mohammad, go read the Koran. He revolutionized women’s lives in his tribal culture.)
.
Anyway, so I’m sitting in front of these three gentlemen, and they’re looking very happy to be visiting with me. (Apparently, they like me. That’s nice to know.) I asked them about how to deal with the side effects of the hysterectomy, of trying to rediscover my essential feminity without having a uterus or ovaries. I looked first to Jesus — he’s known me longer, you understand, I thought he might have some immediate insight. He kinda smiled and shrugged and looked down at the other two guys. Mohammad pulled a long drag on his water pipe and had a beatific “I dunno” look on his face and Krishna just laughed. I didn’t like this response. A bit miffed, I looked back at Jesus, and he said, “We haven’t a clue. We’re boys.”
.
Well! That’s a fine response! Some help they were! I informed them of this failing on their part and they just smiled at me and asked, What did I expect?? Jesus reminded me he was supposed to be celibate: he understood that this was a very important issue, but how’d he know what to do in this case?
.
So, I asked, I need a goddess or two to talk to about this. Where are they???
.
At this point, Krishna just laughed and pointed behind me. I turned and looked, but no one was there. After a second or two of letting this sink in, he told me that if I held up a mirror, I’d see all of the goddesses I’d need.
.
Of course, a mirror appeared in my hands. (This is free-associating. You can do that…) I gazed into the glass and behind me was a cascade of goddesses, one behind the other, smiling at me. I snapped my head around and looked back over my shoulder — but there was no one there. I looked back in the mirror — and there they were again, waving at me.
.
As I was still gazing in the mirror, Krishna laughed and told me that I could look behind me as much as I wanted, but the women I saw would not be found there. They were within me. I had to find the way to open the door to them, allow them to flow through me, find me, feed me. I had to be the Goddess and then the answers would follow.
.
As he spoke, I looked closer at the women who were gazing back at me. A single breasted Amazon warrior was off to the right, with a knowing smile on her face. Her armor was incredible: it was brass, forged single-breasted, with the Aegis (Medusa’s face) on the plate. Athena was there as well as her mother, clever Metis; Kali the destroyer; Gaia; Aphrodite; Hera; Mary Magdalene; the Virgin of Guadalupe… there appeared legions, all of them representing the kaleidescopic character of the essential Female. I could sense that they all “had my back.”
.
So, there it is. And now, I’m in BookPeople in Austin, the World’s Coolest Bookstore, writing this all down and sending it into the ether for you to read. I can’t help but wonder what you will think, whoever “you” are — my dear friends, my wonderful and wacky family, some stranger who’s looked up “breast cancer” on the web and happened to find this on one of her deeper Google pages. I wonder if you’ve read the above and are scandalized. I wonder if you get this… but as they say in some enlightened circles, what other people think of us is none of our business. So, I’m going to trust you…
.
******
.
Your *self*, the ultimate fashion accessory. The Goddesses within. Where are they and what are they offering you? Are you ready? They’re waiting….
.
And yes, I’m still going to trust you….
.
Namaste, y’all!
.
***
.
If you’d like to be a guest contributor for Fashion Fridays, please click here for more information. 
Advertisements

9 thoughts on “Fashion Friday 6/21/13

    1. Ce

      Hi Libby! It’s definitely an ebb and flow thing… And certainly a group project:) I’m very happy to be a part of your group!!

      Like

  1. Lauren Nagel

    This was amazing Ce! Angelique summed up your post as saying it was a little different and a lot wonderful, which I thought was a great description of you as well!

    Like

  2. Dear Ce – Amazing acts of courage and sensibility taken by a truly beautiful (inside and OUT) woman; thank you for reminding us all that there are always ways to deal with even the most frightening crises. Thank you for encouraging us all with your words and spirit. melinda

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s