by Jessica Donatelli
When we think of the word “activism,” we are often flooded with images of brave, iconic individuals throughout history. People that stood up for the greater good despite rampant opposition from those around them. People like Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., and Malala Yousafzai. Sometimes, however, activism occurs amidst the familiar faces we see around us. They are our friends, neighbors, or relatives displaying brief moments of bravery in order to spread awareness and truth where it is lacking.
Right now, there is a movement happening. Across the globe, women facing mastectomy are taking a stand against society’s antiquated ideals regarding the need for reconstruction following breast cancer surgery. While implants or flap transfers are a viable option for some, they are not for others, and this needs to be acknowledged and addressed. That is why we must speak up. That is why we must stand united, bound to one another by our matching scars, and show the world that we are healthy, whole, and happy with our choice to go flat.
My name is Jessica, and last week I had the privilege and honor of doing just that. I walked shirtless beside my flat sisters at a local walk. Together we marched side by side, heads held high, with our Stand Tall AFC banner flying high. Our proud loved ones and supporters shadowing closely behind us and cheering us on. No words can capture the experience of taking something that would otherwise be considered traumatic, devastating, and shameful and turning it on its head.
As I walked proudly with my flattie sisters, hand in hand, not one of those sentiments came to mind. On the contrary, I was filled with pride for our collective bravery, determination for spreading awareness about this healthy option that is seldom discussed, love for my fellow sisters and our shared journeys, and gratitude for the outpouring of support shown to us by our loved ones and fellow participants in the crowd.
Anyone can be an activist. Last week, I was one. If you haven’t had the honor of participating in a Stand Tall AFC walk with your fellow flatties, run to sign up for the next one near you! I promise you won’t regret it.