Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Fashion Forward

"Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening" - Coco Chanel 

I've lost weight. Usually every woman would turn green with envy at that statement... but not when it's part of a "constellation of weird symptoms" of an unknown illness. It's been hard to be independent because of the pain, and it's even harder to drag yourself out of your apartment when literally you have nothing to wear.

Enter two of my amazing students - Cody and Sam - who were both in my 12th grade World Literature Honors course last year. Last week, they became my personal shoppers for the day. We ravaged "Forever 21" as they grabbed dozens of clothes from the racks, and then stood patiently outside the dressing room as I tried on dress, after dress, after dress. We got some good finds, and then I treated them to a post-shopping dinner at California Pizza Kitchen.

Chipotle Chicken Pizza: spicy chipotle sauce, chicken, mild chilies, mozzarella and enchilado cheese - topped with roasted corn, black bean salsa, cilantro and lime cream sauce. GENIUS!

The day made me feel "normal" again...  as my friend Joe told me, "You gotta get out in the world... you can't just feel like an ugly pair of shoes shoved in the back of the closet." Just picking out some clothes for the upcoming school year, and doling out relationship advice to my girls, made me feel more determined than ever to get well enough to return to teaching this fall.

When I was in Sloan Kettering for the week after surgery, I participated in a patient "make over" by "Look Good... Feel Better", which is an organization dedicated to helping women with cancer feel better about their physical appearance. Their philosophy is simple: a woman's self-esteem is ravaged by disease, and by helping women feel better about how they look, patients feel more hopeful in all aspects of their fight. This may at first sound vain, but there is real science behind it supporting the organization's mission. My little mall make-over did exactly that for me - made me more hopeful.

So a special thank you to my girls for not only helping me feel better about how I look, but for also helping boost my determination that I will be able to get back to doing what I love most - helping my students in their own journeys - using literature as a vehicle for self exploration.


  1. Our organization is an online community connected to the Look Good Feel Better program here in Canada, so I'm very glad to hear you enjoyed the experience. But having two personal shoppers for a day of normal girlie fun - that sounds like the best make-over ever. Glad you had a that day of fun, and I'm glad to have recently found your blog!

    Take care,

    1. Thanks Catherine... It's such an important aspect of healing.. thank you for being part of the movement to help women feel more like themselves and less like patients while fighting cancer