08/27/2012 11:25 am ET Updated Oct 27, 2012


I have advocated for women my whole life. From the time I was a teenager, I was the girl telling her friends to be who they are and not care what anyone else thinks. I believe there is beauty in our imperfections. It is what makes us unique. Where I got stuck is in the perfections...

I think I was so used to believing that it was okay to be different and I was so used to telling people to love themselves as they are that when things changed and I had to become "unoriginal" in one aspect of my life, I really struggled.

I was diagnosed with breast cancer in my 30's and had to have both of my breasts removed and replaced with very "perfect" looking implants. To many people that would not be so bothersome, but to me, it was completely unnatural. I have nothing against implants or the people who get them, but I had lived my whole life as the person who liked my very imperfect self the way I was and adjusting to this new body image was a struggle. People looked at me differently. Not in a bad way. Just differently. I had a very hard time accepting that. I never wanted perfect breasts. I never wanted to be anything but myself. By the time you're in your 30's, you've pretty much accepted yourself warts and all, so to speak, and I was very content with myself and my body. Far from perfect, but I was me.

I spent my whole life being this "champion for women" and saying, "we have to love ourselves no matter what!" It just never occurred to me that "no matter what" wasn't just going to mean even with a few extra pounds or thighs we're not crazy about. It may entail unscheduled detours along the way. Loving yourself despite it all may include a body image you didn't start out with when you were born. It may include some "spare parts," but if those parts save my life and let me be who I am for the next fifty years, I'll get used to them! It is an adjustment for sure and sometimes I don't always recognize myself in the mirror but I'm still here. They're not an asset or a liability. They're a method by which I get to keep being who I am-perfectly imperfect and happy to wake up every morning!