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Lucy II: Imperfection

In this image, Lucy’s damage is plainly visible. But in spite of the damage she’s suffered, she is still unmistakably Lucy.

I like this image of Lucy because it symbolizes the fact that people can suffer great damage and still retain the essence of who they are.

This idea used to be important to me because for years I felt damaged on the inside and was absolutely certain it was visible from the outside. It’s important to me now because, while I no longer feel damaged on the inside, I am visibly damaged on the outside. And I am still unmistakably me.

My physical damage—the scars that extend across what used to be my breasts—are road maps that indicate where the cancer lay beneath my skin. Sometimes they piss me off. Sometimes they make me sad. In more lucid moments, they make me grateful and happy beyond expression. I now look different. I now feel different. I now am different. But I am not less; I am more. I am more me. With everything that was taken away from me--my breasts, my youth, my vanity, my peace of mind--I have gained strange and beautiful blessings.

When I was a kid, I would put records on my little turntable and change the outfits on my Barbie. "If you are really there God," I would challenge, "you'll make my Barbie talk." Then I would hold my Barbie at arms' length and stare at her, unblinking, while Badfinger played on my record player. Of course, nothing ever happened in those four minutes. (Although, I can probably attribute my 20/300 vision to the Barbie tests). Forty years later, God still hasn't proven His presence to me. And He didn't protect me from breast cancer. But I now believe He is there, in some form. The series of events that began two months before my diagnosis and that still continue make it difficult for me to believe that they were simply random.

When my son was in elementary school, he and his buddies would take the camcorder and record the Legos on the carpet, the dog sleeping in the sun, the grass growing. They called their films "Random Shit Productions." I thought it was brilliant, their videos about nothing. I now look at the random shit in my life as brilliant. It's all coming together in such a lovely way.

(And I'd love to write about it, but I'll have to continue this weekend. I just started a new job today, so my posts will be infrequent and brief. Be patient with me...)


bella said…
MORE me.
This is how I feel too.
I love how you said it.
love to you.
Jena Strong said…
I'll be patient. And have so much to learn from this, from you.
Anonymous said…
Wow!!...the kid not only walks the talk but hellz afire, doesn't she just have the thoughts! Just look at you and what you said! You are something beyond believin in this tired ole world, you got me breathin again. My very soul is leapin cause of what you been writin. I am sure not kiddin you are a miracle! Go look in the mirror...see God? I do. You are the walkin talkin blessin
creative expression of the Infinite Unknowable but all-ways so loving Higher Power. Thanks for doin just how you do. My world has changed since you. Bless you. (church)
SweetAnnee said…
i'm patient here..
this post is wonderful..
so true to heart..and how I feel
too, but never knew how to say it
..could the damage inside of us have
caused the damage we now show on
the outside???

God is there, He shows you Himself every day the face of your children, your friends..
and in your smiling and SWEET face..

as for random shit productions..LOL
it made me LAUGH out loud AND share it
with hubby..

thanks for the books..HUG YOURSELF FOR ME
your pink friend..Deena
Jenster said…
Great post. GREAT POST!

I always believed God was there but my whole breast cancer thing just solidified my faith. Different starting points, you know.

I love your kids' movies! LOL

As usual, I'm looking forward to what you have to say next...
Yes, I am proud of my battle wounds. My wedding dress is even going to open in the back and it shows my 1st spinal surgery scar-I'm so excited! I'm so proud of them!!
lahdeedah said…
I'm happy you feel more you. I love reading your blog because it's so full of self-discovery and awe.

The feeling is clearly mutual.

My world has changed because of you, too. You make me feel as if my words mean something. I so enjoy our offline discussions and your clear take on the world. I am happy Deena has you for a friend.

I know how intense things are for you now, so to see your sweetannee name makes me especially happy. You say such kind things. To answer your question, I believe our cancer was not caused by our damage inside. My inside damage, and I would expect yours too, caused many things: sensitivity, compassion, understanding, empathy, introspection, to name a few. It caused good things. I think my son is right about shit...a lot of it is just random. We wouldn't be able to experience heart-bursting joy without heartbreaking pain. I just wish you didn't have to experience this particular pain. I pray chemo goes seamlessly for you. Much love to you.

I like the idea of different starting points, same conclusion. You have such a meaningful and sustaining faith. I hope to get to that point on the road.

I hope you post a photo of you in your wedding dress. You are such a beauty, and your scars are such a testament to your resiliency and strength.
KT said…
Hi Jill, I love this post. I love your Lucy plates, too, and I can't wait for the next installment!

I may be "damaged" on the outside but I've noticed I don't look at the mastectomy scars when I face the mirror in the morning. I look at the smile on my face and how it must look like I'm so incredibly happy to be here. (And my scars are actually kind of pretty, for scars!)

I admire how you write about these topics, and how you frame them, and capture what I am feeling before I even realize I am feeling it! Enjoy your new job, and please (when you have time) don't forget to share the rest of the 7 plates with us! Take care, Katie
Chloe said…
“Random Shit Productions”…yes that is brilliant. It’s beautiful how you found God through all of this. I too have had many moments of begging for proof, and it never came as a talking Barbie for me either. It sort of snuck up when I least expected it and looks nothing like what they taught all those years at church. Loving your Lucy Plates and your stories.
lahdeedah said…
Oh good grief...I just left long responses for Katie, Chloe and Jena and somehow lost the entry. Rats. Here goes again:

Katie: You are such a sweet soul. I just love reading your words.

Chloe: I love reading your blog, and would love to know your thoughts on God.

Jena: Thank you for thinking of me in my absence. I can't wait to find some time to catch up on my reading.

Sherry said…
Nothing in life is random. That is my truth.
And congratulations on the new job!!! Hope it's going well.
lahdeedah said…
You're right, Sherry. Like meeting you and this terrific group of women :)

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