50 Shades of Pink. Women of Breast Influence - AnnMarie Otis

Posted by Tina Doueihi on

This month I introduce you to an amazing woman who loves stiletto shoes, Unicorns, is a passionate advocate for metastatic breast cancer, and loves with her entire being.

I met the gorgeous AnnMarie through social media and we connected instantly.  We both have a love of lingerie (surprise) and we love supporting other women (surprise).  Instant connection!!! 

I met AnnMarie last year in New York City and she was even more than I expected. 

I asked AnnMarie what her shade of pink was and she replied “I would say bubble gum! I keep things fresh, have a soft yet tough outside and I pop when I get all blown up. Lol”.  Yep, this is AnnMarie and you will love her honesty, her story and how a pair of stilettos help her deal with the breast cancer card.

You can follow AnnMarie on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Stupid Dumb Breast Cancer.

This is AnnMarie’s story. 

Shoes, attitude shoes

Stilettos before a mastectomy, please?!  Some very rude woman sent me a private message saying "You are dumb to worry about shoes you should worry about cancer". Yet she never asked me why I did.  Just made some judgmental comment knowing absolutely nothing about me and my reasons.  And it dawned on me had I ever explained why, mind you I do not need to, but I think maybe just to be a nice pink princess I will.  The reality is we are so quick to judge how someone handles a situation, when it’s how we would; we do not think that maybe they needed it to be that way.  Maybe just maybe those stilettos helped, well yes they did!

 

A shoe has so much more to offer than just to walk.  Christian Louboutin.

A shoe has so much more to offer than just to walk.  Christian Louboutin.

 

I will start with the pink sparkly ones that I strutted into my mastectomy with.  I am all of 4 feet 11 inches and have no choice but to wear heels.  If I do not I am a midget, no really, I am a legal one in some states.  My BFF is significantly taller than I so whenever we are together I make sure I wear heels.  Her daughter has forever loved to come over and find her way to my closet and try on my shoes.  There was a time when my shoes were too big for her; since then I have taken her hand me downs gladly!  What is it about putting on a pair of stilettos that makes you feel so WOW??  I saw it every time Riley would rock my shoes, but I would feel it when I put them on.  Something comes over you.  When I wear heels I feel strong, powerful and full of attitude.  Riley saw these shoes and decided I needed them for my surgery.  How brilliant is this child at 12??  After a pedi (yes before my surgeries I always get a pedi) I opened the box.  I looked at Riley and Nikki and said "I am wearing these into surgery.  Cancer can take a lot but not my sparkle".  They both squealed with delight because they were hoping I would say that.  These shoes gave me attitude and I wanted as much attitude as I could get.

 

Don't reject a shoe because you can't run in it. It's OK not to run.  Christian Louboutin

Don't reject a shoe because you can't run in it. It's OK not to run.  Christian Louboutin

 

I think about how when you go for your prom dress, wedding gown or any party attire when you try on the shoes they make the outfit because they give it the attitude.  Now let's admit that hospital gown needs some bling for sure.  The shoes with that gown changed the mood.  Everyone would walk in and stop and SMILE.  I was dubbed "the Diva in heels" and I was completely fine with that.  They all wanted to see if I could walk in them which cracked me up and kept me laughing which is the best medicine.  Now I am not saying this was a light subject, no way was a mastectomy, swap, hysterectomy, and DIEP easy or light.  But I needed to be calm and laughing, smiling and having power was how I was going to handle it.  This was the way I choose to deal with my process, this is after all my story of stupid dumb breast cancer not yours, isn't it?  So why really does anyone care if I wear heels, if someone sings and dances, if someone cries or if someone silently goes down to surgery?  We are all so different I do not expect anyone to fill my shoes must least wear them!

 

Strong women wear their pain like stilettos. No matter how much it hurts, all you see is the beauty of it.

Strong women wear their pain like stilettos. No matter how much it hurts, all you see is the beauty of it.

 

Sometimes those stilettos sat at the end of the bed because I physically could not put them on.  The pain, the medication, the surgery were all taking over.  But they were never far from reach, always there to remind me that there was strength in a shoe, in me.  The pink ribbon is fine for some but a stiletto now that is power.  See sometimes I didn't wear them, I just needed to see them to make me see that I could still sparkle with power and all the attitude I needed to overcome the beast that lurked inside of me!  I wanted to be reminded that somehow I was going to still be able to walk in those again even if at that moment I could not.

 

“A woman and her shoes… it’s a beautiful thing.”

“A woman and her shoes… it’s a beautiful thing.”

 

I did however send a pair of shoes to two of my sweet darling friends who were in their teens.  Jackie who battled cancer and called them her chemo heels and guess what they did for her??  They made her SMILE!!!  She even wore them to prom.  Did they stop her chemo from making her ill or make it less scary?  No way but for a moment they brought her just the smile she needed.  The other darling was my ray of sunshine, Lola, who has taken wings.  Lola could not walk in the heels, she was too weak but they still made her laugh and bright a glimmer of life to her that day.  Those crazy ass heels did not cure Lola's cancer they did not stop it from spreading but they made her laugh, loud and carefree.  Her mother was grateful for those heels that day when Lola played in that beautiful moment.  For those moments a pair of shoes have become a beautiful thing at a dark time.

 

“You put high heels on and you change.”- Manolo Blahnik
“You put high heels on and you change.”- Manolo Blahnik

 

When I wore those sparkly pink stilettoes, I felt powerful like there was no stopping me.  I wanted them on my feet hours after surgery which gave the nurses and my father a mild heart attack.  My father actually cut off my blood flow because he was scared to let go of me, shhhhh, do not tell him, but if he did, I would have let go, I would have fallen.  Here is a secret even though I put those heels on and walked to the door to prove that I could, I needed my daddy to hold me.  Which was ok, it was better than ok.  It was what we both needed at that point.  I felt strong and he felt needed.  See cancer doesn't just effect the person who has it but it effects every person that loves them and I have this big ass ever loving family.  They needed those shoes just as much as I did.  The stilettos gave them something to think about, focus on, laugh at and bitch about.  To see me wearing them, reminded them that I was still their princess and I was going to pull through this stupid dumb breast cancer.  Yes, a changed version but sparkly tiara wearing me.

 

Give a girl the right shoes, and she can conquer the world.  Marilyn Monroe

Give a girl the right shoes, and she can conquer the world.  Marilyn Monroe

 

So next time you judge someone for wearing stilettos to their mastectomy, chemo or grocery story, shut your friggin mouth!  How someone deals with their life is about them and has nothing to do with you.  Maybe just smile and clap your hands as they go by. Only a true princess can wear 6 inch stilettos and never once let her tiara tip.

Above - AnnMarie with her darling Dad and wearing her gorgeous stiletto shoes. Surgery and drainage tubes were not going to stop AnnMarie's style.

Below - a selection of the bright and sparkly stiletto shoes that AnnMarie wore during surgery and recovery.

 


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