Sonya was struggling with the way people averted their eyes from looking at her. The effects of chemotherapy were obvious and friends were now awkward around her.
She knew their response was a natural reaction and one she herself was prone to. But, still, it hurt. Sonya was a mature and successful woman, yet, suddenly it as though she had no presence. She felt ugly, alone and invisible.
Because of this, however, she found her authentic beauty. In honor of breast cancer Awareness Month, I humbly share her words with you:
I have been on two journeys over recent years: one visible; one less so. Both have been major. I have journeyed both with breast cancer and with an internal search for identity. Breast cancer is something you can't run from - not if you want to succeed in the race. A search for identity is also something that is always a companion - something I couldn't escape. For me, both these entities were twin companions. Where I was, there they both were. Losing all my hair, eyebrows and almost all my eyelashes was confronting. I didn't fall in a heap, however, because I had learned earlier in my life that the way we see ourselves really does manifest in how we are. I was determined to see myself as beautiful, because at our deepest core, all of us are beautiful. God made sure of that: He created us in His image and likeness. I knew I must make this profound truth part of my journey - if I was to journey well. I consciously determined that my first and immediate words to myself, when I looked into the mirror after my husband had 'shorn' all traces of my very fast falling-out hair, would be, "I am beautiful". And this I did. It really helped. Catrina Welch speaks with the same voice in her books on Confident Beauty and Supreme MakeOver: We are all beautiful because we were made that way. There is, however, an aspect to this truth that is crucial to our confidence and it is often left unsaid. But not with Catrina. God didn't give us all the same kind of beauty. Further, finding our special kind of beauty is synonymous with finding our identity. As Catrina explains, some of us have refined beauty; some glamorous; some bold. And there are other types of beauty. One thing is for sure, however, all of us have beauty. In Catrina's books she gives specific information that helped me determine what my personal Image Identity is. I found that I have Glamorous Beauty as well as strength and boldness! I am essentially a combination of tender compassion and bold strength. Fantastic! I always knew I had a tender and compassionate heart but was not familiar with my capacity to be bold and to be a voice both for myself and for others. Catrina not only helped me find my Image Identity and what to wear, she also affirmed to me who I am on the inside. And more than this, she has left me with direction in my life to keep growing as the beautiful woman God made me to be. I extracted from Catrina's writing that I am a person who brings comfort and healing to others. I must also give this gift to myself. I have tenderness, compassion, strength and boldness I can use for myself and others. How powerful is that?! There is much wisdom in what Catrina says in her books, and I thank her for that. My search for identity is greatly resolved and I have a future I can be passionate and confident about! Sonya, Australia