About 10 months ago, after my surgery, my nurse navigator sent me a nice email in response to my distress over all the changes I was experiences. I told her I didn’t recognize myself anymore. It was too much change too fast. She told me that I would come to accept a “new normal”. I have heard that phrase many times over the past year now. One doctor said I should learn to LOVE and embrace my new normal. I disagree and reject that. I DO have to accept it and deal with it. But it wasn’t a choice to have so much change. And I sort of liked my body well enough before. (Although losing the 25 pounds this past year feels good overall…and I think looks better on me. And I think I was able to lose the weight because it IS something I had control over…when so much else in my life was out of my control.)
But one way I have found I’ve dealt with the body image is by designing and working on clothing that hides my new shape. (It’s much easier in the winter than the summer.) And most of my ideas have not been actually made yet…they are in my head. I just have to make them now. These needlefelted rabbits (I’ve made over 2 dozen so far), as a fund-raiser for the Patuxent Tidewater Land Trust, all have one thing in common: Their body shape is how I see myself…except I don’t have the cute face and big ears they have! Each one has a different personality and is unique. (They have been selling really well for the Land Trust!) And I didn’t realize I was doing the body shape thing until a few rabbits into the project. They also all get a custom-knit blue woolen jacket, like the sad lop-ear one on the left. But, before I dress them, they have the tiny recessed chest with the fatter belly below. Some of them have a very exaggerated version of this body image. I’m finding it therapeutic to work it out on rabbits… my art therapy! I think I’ll make a rabbit for my breast surgeon…but with a pink jacket! I’m not sure where this is going. But I haven’t exhausted the need to make them yet. I made one I called Peter Rabbit’s mother, with Peter as a baby felted rabbit…only 1″ tall, with the tiniest jacket I ever knit. I made up a story of Peter’s mother having breast cancer, as I made the rabbits. But I suppose she did OK. So, the rabbits are still multiplying. I may post the whole collection of rabbits on the PTLT website in the next month… It’s sort of like trying to figure out dreams. Anyone skilled at interpreting dreams …or unintentional artwork?