Friday, 5 August 2011

Beauty V's The Beast

When I did my photo shoot even when I did the calendar shot in 2010 I still do not see what others see. Those images are not about vanity even though it may look that way. They are about paying off my debts and regaining my independents within a currently strained marriage.
Yes, I am a confident individual who hides behind her voice i.e. I talk a lot, but I am no different to any other women who have gone through this disease head on. My needs are important and I wanted to show my husband look I am still Sarah. I am better than the old Sarah and don’t you forget it. I have become more confident, wiser and not so shallow with my attitude to my own mortality.

Before cancer I would say you know what I’m a background person not a person who poses for a camera. This is because I was told that is the position best suited to me. This is still true because I am comfortable being in the role where no-one sees me. I like to help others, not bathe in the sunlight of false compliments.

Me in red, Brother in middle, Eldest sister in tartan dress, youngest sister
of head back.  
This Sunday gone there were 127 images taken of me in various poses? On returning home I chose twelve that I feel are ok to gain work in a competitive industry. When I placed those images on my FB page it was for my mother to see because growing up I was told I was the ugly sibling. My mother peeks onto my blog every now and then, but she finds I talk about cancer too much. So for her to see those images and invite a neighbour to see them was my way of saying, ‘Look what I have achieved in such a short space of time.’ I am slowly moving away from the doubt which was instilled in me as a child.

2004 I had just discovered I was pregnant
Me and mum chatting in garden..
When I was diagnosed with breast cancer I received a card from my eldest sister and all I thought was well I am the ugly sister and now I am going to become even more distorted. Even though I was happy to be where I was Mother Nature wanted to make life harder. I grumbled and burned that card because I knew for me to walk with my head high I had to keep those cobwebs of pain at bay. To me receiving that card was not out of concern; it was to weaken an already weakened and worried mind.

We are born to be who we are we just have to learn that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. The beholder is you and once you realise that you are half way there. None of us are Kate Moss because she is Kate Moss. Visually I may think I am ugly, but for some reason I shine. And the shine attracts people with a belief that my shine is beautiful. People may doubt my sincerity and believe I am talking crap, but trust me the most beautiful of people have the ugliest of shines. I know because in this industry you see plenty of them. That is why they are fighting to be noticed. Personally it is not about me being noticed even though that is involved. I just want my debts cleared, but if I gain anything else I know it is because of my journey that I shine hard not because of my looks.


  1. Oh Sarah, your post touched me very deeply and I don't know if you remember, or maybe it's me who doesn't remember it right - but if I didn't say it at the time (although I am pretty sure I did) of our email correspondence when you guest authored a blog post for me and I asked could I use your picture on your blog - how beautiful you were. In fact, I'll let you in to a little secret, I was a bit intimadated by your beauty - honest truth!

    I understand so very much what you are talking about for when I was 10 I had a large cancerous growth removed from my arm which left me badly scarred and I grew up feeling disfigured and ugly and that no one would ever want me. It led me to such low self-esteem that I made bad choices in men over the years. Like you, when I got breast cancer, I thought, great, more disfigurement, and I won't deny that it knocked my confidence again, but my husband chose to marry me, even after cancer and he has done a lot to help me feel better about my body again. I do still feel intimadated when looking at magazines or out and about seeing good looking women on the streets, and I don't think that will ever leave me. The damage done in childhood when you are made to feel less than beautiful stays with you always and it requires a big effort of will to not let it dominate.

    I just wanted you to know that I understand what you mean and that my impression of you is not what you see in the mirror. Oh and I'd love to see more of those photos you had taken - the one above is gorgeous with that fabulous dress and your hair like that!

  2. Hi Marie,

    I guess we all forget we have a past and the past we have can impact on our thought process in dealing with Cancer.. I never experienced low self esteem.. just a nasty temper.. I liked being the ugly duckling because I was the ugly duckling and no-one else had to be.. If someone said hey your ugly I would shout 'Yes so what!' But when you get married it is different.. all of a sudden you are bloody ugly after BC. You need to get past the ugly and realise you are who you are not a polished image. I am proud that I can walk down a street with zero make-up and know people are seeing Sarah plain Jane without a brain Sarah. Photo's can be easily polished ..

  3. Oh, Sarah...I'm so glad to have gotten to know you in this miraculous village of cyberspace. I am tearing up now for so many reasons. Despite how far we've come to change things for women in our culture, that culture still places a ridiculous emphasis on our outsides, while not valuing our insides. I'm so touched by the way you have shared your own journey & what that journey has entailed. That 'shine' you speak of is what comes from the inside, from who we really are. It's been such a delight to see & share that shine of yours on our respective blogs, by sharing our goofy comments on FB, by sharing the fun of our mutual love of sewing & making kids' costumes, as well as the deeper knowledge we share about breast cancer. As I sit here at my desk, that wonderful calendar is in view, reminding me of how much the cancer journey is about turning lemons into lemonade, transforming the fear & disfigurement into something far more beautiful & resonant. It reminded me of an old post of mine, written about a year after my diagnosis:

    Love you to bits, Sarah.

  4. I really love the images in your post Kathi... and thank you for your lovely reply.. it is amazing how far we reach with the whole cyber blog thing.. I have been able to chat to some lovely people and make friends xxx