What I see in the mirror: Eve Ensler (November 2011)

‘I have been clear of cancer for two years, so I have a hard time saying that a little bit of extra skin on my neck is problematic.’

Looking down my body, I see a foot-long scar. It reminds me that I got to live after uterine cancer. For me, it’s like a scar of gratitude. When you come close to death, your appreciation for life and everything about it increases hugely.

I have two moles above my eyes and for years my hair covered them. But I lost my hair and now I keep it really short. My granddaughters, who are five and 15, push my moles like they are buttons and then I make a noise. They’ve done it since they were babies – it’s how they know it’s me. I love that my moles are visible now, so they can find them more easily.

In some ways I feel I look much better than I did before the cancer. It cleaned out elements of my past that needed to go. When you come from violence – my father physically and sexually abused me – you are rooted in a type of ongoing self-hatred and I feel that the cancer was a traumatic experience that purged the last vestiges of that. I no longer feel like anybody’s victim.