|That's me on the bottom right doing my best to fit my square peg in a round hole|
|Attempting to be Supermom|
Cancer brought my life to a screeching halt. Little by little with every treatment, surgery, indignity, stab of the needle, and falling hair illness stripped me bare. There was no where to run and nothing to hide behind anymore.
|A battered blank canvas|
Cancer began to define me. It still does, in a way, otherwise I'd have no interest in writing about it. I resented how cancer forced me to throw away the worn out, familiar me. I mean, who am I if I'm not that woman-child who smiled and performed on cue?
I don't know. All I can say is I am in process, a one thousand step project with no instruction booklet included. I constantly add a new pieces and toss aside those that don't fit any more. The results can be shocking, especially to the people who knew me before my dismantling.
To the chagrin and annoyance of some, I've shed the drive to please others because it will make me look worthy and good. I've replaced it with a desire to do for others (no agenda attached) because their happiness makes me feel alive.
I'm rebuilding beauty. My mood and self-image is not swayed by perfect hair, make-up, clothes, and a number on a scale. I look to my heart to tell me if I am beautiful or not. Beauty is as beauty does or as Forest Gump's mother taught him, "Stupid is a stupid does." It was stupid and not beautiful to demean myself on the basis of what I saw in the mirror. No more of that.
I threw away my easily intimidated nature and discovered my strength in the realization that we are all equally vulnerable and equally strong. I used to be afraid of what others could do to me. Now I'm aware that there is nothing anyone can do to me because I am so much more than one difficult moment in time. Cancer made me keenly aware that I can survive a massive storm and be better for it in the end.
And a needle guided lumpectomy brought home an important lesson in a painful but necessary fashion. Here is the epiphany, my friend...Every day is a treasure and every moment is a gift. I get to decide how to feel and how I will react. I am in control of my inner life because that is all I can control. To see my life this way is a complete turn around. Once, every day was another set of problems to solve (or avoid) and every moment was a minefield to be cautiously navigated. I lived in fear of making the wrong move.
For two years it was obvious to the world that I had cancer. My short, spiky hair, pale skin, and various treatment apparatuses (i.e. drains, neon colored bandages, port-a-cath, tissue expander, ace bandage wraps) gave me away. Not so now.
Now the "apparatuses" and changes are all internal. I can choose to share them or I can hide my pink ribbon survivor status. It's a decision I make every minute of every day. Yes, in many ways the big C defines me but it doesn't control me.
Amen for that.
|We are works of art|