This isn’t your typical Fashion Friday blog so don’t be alarmed… I’m not suggesting you go out and buy an outfit like the one I’m wearing. When I came across this old photo of me and couldn’t stop laughing, I had to share it with you.
Have you ever tried something on, hoping your spouse or girlfriend would validate your purchase?
While I was going through chemotherapy for breast cancer, because my immune system was so low, I rarely ventured out of the house except to a doctor’s appointment or to church. There were many days I didn’t have enough energy to even get out of bed. One of the few times I went out, I wanted to do something that made me feel normal… and I came home with two pairs of shoes that were so not me.
One pair was lime green, fake crocodile with thumbnail-sized, blue rhinestones across the top, and they smelled like something had crawled up and died inside of them. The other pair were glow-in-the-dark sneakers. Except for some white Keds, I didn’t own sneakers then. Both pairs were ahead of their time. It was 2004. Now these shoes are tame compared to what’s on the market.
When I showed them to my husband, his response was, “Who are you, and what have you done with my wife?” Without taking a breath he then said, “Those look like clown shoes!”
The next night my Bible study group surprised me with an “End of Chemo” party. I think they brought cake—I was “on drugs” so I don’t remember—but I do remember my friend, Mary Jane, brought 25, heart-shaped, red foil balloons. Undaunted by my husband’s remarks about my shoes, I showed them to my girlfriends.
Anyone—but me—could see they were stupefied by my shoes, but my friend, Linda, diplomatically broke the silence by saying, “They’ll look great with the right outfit.”
The next morning—still feeling the effects of eight rounds of chemo and a pharmacy full of other drugs—I put together “the right outfit.” Then I called another girlfriend and asked if she’d come over and take a picture of me wearing it.
Did I tell you I got a drama scholarship to college?
When I opened the front door, there I stood, in all my post chemo splendor: bald and glassy-eyed with 25, heart-shaped, red foil balloons stuffed down the back of matching, red foil pants. If that wasn’t strange enough, I was naked from the waist up except for a giant pair of red silk lips DUCK TAPED over my mastectomy scar… and I was wearing my clown shoes.
TELL ME THIS WOMAN DOESN’T LOOK LIKE SHE’S ON DRUGS!
My friend just stood in the doorway. Like my girlfriends the night before, she was stupefied… By now I knew the look… I’m guessing she was stifling the urge to scream, run down the driveway and holler for help. Would you believe she never uttered a word… NOT ONE WORD… about my strange outfit?
I have the best friends! When faced with a crazy lady, they smiled and acted like what they’d stumbled into was an everyday occurrence.
I hope none of you ever have to take chemotherapy. If you do just know YOU ARE ON DRUGS and don’t be surprised if you make some crazy decisions. You must be wondering how I happened to have those red foil pants in my closet… LOL!
Brenda, you are truly a breath of fresh air. I was recently diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma and although I am not undergoing chemotherapy I am being treated with some extremely strong cancer drugs. All of my friends say I have a great attitude and positive outlook on my situation. I say why not, why not be positive, being negative doesn’t get you anywhere. I am also very fatigued and don’t leave the house much except for doctor appointments either. I must say that your post today made me smile, and it is good advise. I definitely won’t go shopping while on the drugs, however, I think your outfit is outstanding! And you are a very daring and bold person. Thanks for keeping things real. XO. M
Hello Michaele, I’m sorry you’re going through this and are being treated with chemo. It’s a lot to handle. Some days are better than others. I, too, had a positive attitude. If you don’t have a good outlook, it’s easy to slip down the rabbit hole of worry and depression. Your comment has inspired me on so many levels, and I thank you!! xoxox, Brenda
That last line….YES!
Hi Val, Red foil pants aren’t exactly my style, but I was always planning ahead for things I might wear as Mistress of Ceremonies for one of Fiesta’s most popular events. (San Antonio’s version of Mardi Gras) Fiesta runs for two week. In addition to three huge parades (two are night parades, one on barges down the San Antonio River) and the Coronation of the Queen and her court–all debutants–and the King–all old Texas $$$–“Cornyation” was a bawdy, outrageous spoof of Fiesta itself. Some years I wrote the script as well. We did four shows downtown at one of the glamorous, old theaters, and tickets sold out in about 15 minutes. I did that for 11 years. My outfits were always elegant, but over the top. Because I was diagnosed with breast cancer, I never got to wear these pants except in this “chemo brain” photo. XOXOX, Brenda
There ate times where one needs to “cut loose”! Fashion can be whinsical or gaudy…that’s the fun part. Tjabks for allowing us a glimpse…
I love your comment, Don!! You’re right. We don’t always have to be so serious about what we wear. Where would fashion be, today, without the hippies? Thanks so much, Brenda
The lips remind me of the Stones.
Me, too, Terry! I don’t know, but perhaps that’s why I bought them. They’re silk and feel so divine. I bought them when I was in my 20’s. They didn’t fit in any room of my house, but I just had to have them! Thanks for stopping by! Hope to see you, again! Brenda
YOu’re the best. I hope I’m as creative and free on drugs if I ever have to be on them. Keep telling us your story. It’s endlessly fascinating. In fact I’m mad that you won’t tell it all. You’re a wonderful writer with a great story that I think we can all use. I now know never to buy green shoes with aqua stones nor glow in the dark sneakers. But they do look good on you. In fact I must look in the back of my closet to see if I have bright red shining pants. WE still laugh at the pants my mother bought they were black but had cut out red hearts along the side. She was in her 70’s when she made that purchase. Now you know where I got it from. Love your posts and your craziness.
Hi Sandra, You always make me smile, and you’re so appreciative and supportive of my nontraditional life. Perhaps that’s because you’ve led a glamorous, exciting life as well. We must meet someday! After the Contessa’s event in May, I’m thinking about coming to LA to do just that. We’re still a couple of months out, but do you know if you’ll be in town then? xoxox, Brenda
Give me dates and I will make sure to be here! Oh, happy day. Meeting you in person. Who knows? By then I could be doing high jumps? Can’t wait. xoxoxSandra
You’re adorable! The Contessa has me scheduled for the last of her three lunches sometime in May. Let me see if I can get an exact date from her, and we’ll make plans! xoxox, Brenda
I love the shoes, for real. And I love the red balloons for the spirit they tell me you must have!
Hi Lisa, Now I love the glow-in-the-dark sneakers, but in 2004, they were outrageous and so not me… If you can believe that, coming from a woman who stuffs 25 balloons down the back of her pants! Thanks for reading and I love your comment. Please stop by, again! Brenda
Dahling, you are fabulous and I love your stories! Who else would have the perfect outfit for those shoes?! Do you still have the traveling pants? You’re delightful! Thanks so much for sharing these great stories from your life! They are so much fun, and so are you!
Beckye, Do you mean the “yellow traveling pants” that were going around the world from blogger to blogger or my red, foil pants? The answer to both is no. I gave the red pants to the Salvation Army! LOL! Would love to have heard their comment when they unboxed those! Thank you, sweet friend. xoxox, Brenda
Brilliant! I think you looked wonderful, Brenda!! Those lips, and that show-stopper pose… you knew how to roll, even on chemo-brain!
You’re funny, Donna! Like I said in the post… I got a drama scholarship to college! xoxox, Brenda
LOVE IT ALL………………………..WE NEED MORE PEOPLE LIKE YOU!