woof. what a week. actually that’s my new catchphrase. i don’t even need to tell you why it’s been a week. but i will say that this week has been one of enlightenment. it’s been eye opening in some of the wildest ways possible. and when i lie in bed in the fetal position sobbing hysterically, i just keep hearing this voice saying the word ‘rebirth’ over and over and over again. is that what this is? this whole experience? an opportunity to be born again and start again? i mean, i think if we all were given the chance to start fresh or do things differently, we probably would jump at the chance. for me, i have always been the type of person to say that i have lived my life, every single moment and experience, good or bad, without regret. not because there wasn’t something i wish i could’ve redone. and maybe that looks like regret to some people but in all honesty, everything that i have done or experienced has helped shape me. so i really can’t say i regret anything. because without it, who knows what i would’ve come to be. but it kinda goes without saying that there is a lot going on right now. although i kinda feel like i have been saying that for the last two years. it has just felt a little non stop but whatever. i am sure my day will come. when the world slows down a little and i can breath a little softer and my shoulders aren’t up to my neck trying to hold onto the world that’s tumbling onto me. but for right now, it’s just a lot. the pessimist inside me tries really hard not to be a dweller. you know what i mean; someone who just sits in all the hard stuff all the time. unable to move from it. and while i respect that everyone is going through something, it can be really hard to walk away from whatever is consuming your life. and let me tell ya, there’s just a lot consuming me right now. from the outside, it might just look like the cancer diagnosis is the one carrying that torch but i promise, it’s so much more than that.

quite honestly, it’s the collision of just about every single element known to man in my life. cancer kinda jump started things. but since then, it’s been straight treading water. which y’all can’t see. because i am kicking hard. under the surface of the darkest and toughest waves. i spent forty five minutes sobbing in the shower two nights ago. after my hair started falling out while i was sitting at the kitchen table. just huge clumps of my hair. my hair is literally my favorite thing about myself. it’s my main source of identity. it’s probably the only thing i like about my appearance. and to watch it just disappear. in front of my eyes. to watch my body change. without any control over it. i find myself kicking the waves harder and harder each day. just trying to stay afloat amongst the currents. losing my hair. losing my identity. losing faith in people who have been close to me for years. saying goodbye to a twenty year friendship. over text message. while battling stage two cancer. packing up to move to a new place in six weeks. battling stage two cancer. weaving in and out of the side effects of, you guessed it, battling fucking stage two cancer. watching everything i know and love slip away. my hair. my career. my doctoral degree. my identity. my structure and routine and schedule. my norm. i am just here. treading hard. sometimes dipping under just because my legs are tired. but i am here. kicking like hell. splashing like crazy. making a damn tidal wave just trying to stay afloat. there’s just so much going on. and so much that i wasn’t ready to say goodbye to or tuck away for another time or pack back up for a few more years. wasn’t really ready to jump this deep into fighting cancer so soon. thought i might have a moment to try the fight out. see how it felt. write a cute comment card and see if the suggestion box is open for round two. but here we are. gearing up to fight like hell.

it’s funny. today i posted about my hair loss on social media and an old friend of mine commented and said that it was a sign that it’s time to fight like hell. and she’s not wrong. but at the same time; how do you do that when you’ve spent all of your energy trying to stay above water? it feels like i have been treading water for months now. pleading for a break in the current. while at the same time, trying to save my own life. i know i have said that i am tired. but man, this is a new kinda tired. tired of being in the boxing ring; particularly in the boxing ring against some ruthless opponents. and sure, bravery and resiliency come from putting on your game face and hitting as hard as ya can. but sometimes, i just don’t have it in me. ya know? it’s not that i don’t wanna fight. because i do. i really do. and i wanna be brave. believe me, i do. but i also just wanna float for a while. to just lay back and rest and be at peace. instead of standing here, every day. looking in the mirror, knowing that there is a full on war going on inside my body. for the second fucking time in eight months. and my entire existence has to dedicate itself to the cause. and there have to be sacrifices. like my hair. and my beautiful, glowing acne free skin. and my body parts. the ones that i have had since i hit puberty. which means that everything will be different. the way my clothes fit. the products i buy at the grocery store. the need for a hair tie when it’s a million degrees outside. and when i start to list all the things that have changed, that’s when it feels heavy. that’s when the fight feels huge and unfair and that’s when the treading makes me tired. because while i am fighting. and crying in the shower and walking past mirrors without looking; other hard shit is happening. like the end of a twenty year friendship via text message. literally. and watching my teacher friends return to their classrooms without me. or deferring my enrollment again and packing my dissertation materials in the back of the closet. taking the cute stuff out of my amazon cart and adding in side effect management meds and oncology creams and masectomy pillows instead. ugh. this paragraph is literally so woe is me that i just wanna click backspace and crawl under the covers but ya know what, no. because the hard parts of life are just as important as the easy parts. and while sometimes i believe i have been given the oars in some seriously uncharted waters and other days, i wanna smack the person who handed me the oars to begin with; i am still here. treading.

it’s hard. there have been moments this week that have been flooded with the sheer passion to hit the i quit button. which by the way, isn’t some suicidal passive aggressive thought. when you begin chemo, you actually sign a waiver. it’s a consent to receive carcinogenic poison to kill cancer for however many cycles your oncologist recommends. but at the bottom in small print, it says “you may quit at any time. this is not a contract”. and sometimes, i wanna quit. i just wanna go back to the way things were. i wanna tread less. i wanna float more.

but. yes, yes, yes. you knew we would make it to this point. that final set of stanzas that make this whole thing make sense. but. the battle rages on. and even though the fight is hard and the days ahead are far harder than the ones i have left behind, i know i have the power to keep treading. and i know that i have an incredible team beside me. ready to hold me while i rest and they will kick like hell to keep me above water. and even though i said goodbye to a person who i thought was on that team; it feels hella {is that still a word that we use?} good to know that i have one strong ass army and one badass fighter in me. to keep on treading. to keep on fighting. to weather the waves, tides and currents. and to eventually, float to shore.

keep on treading water. eventually, it’ll be shallow enough to just float. xoxo.

One thought on “tread.

  1. You have been, and are going through, hell. Of course there are times when you want to quit. Being strong can be exhausting! Sometimes you want to just not have to be strong. It’s okay to cut yourself some slack. Find little ways to pamper yourself. Buy yourself some beautiful flowers; take a bath and read a good book; Eat chocolate; look at wigs online and pick out a new look- whatever feeds your soul, whatever recharges your will to keep fighting. You can’t be strong every minute. Lean on your army of supporters. We are all here to help keep you afloat and kicking!❤❤❤❤

    Liked by 1 person

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