i have reached the much awaited halfway mark. where i can finally say i am halfway through cancer treatments. it’s a huge milestone. and i fully recognize that. but i am having a hard time using that as my guiding light these days. i realize how that seems silly. i mean, halfway! that’s huge. and it is. and i am super grateful to be here in this place, knowing what i know now about my disease and my outcomes and everything in between. but it’s also been so freaking hard getting here. and i am really really reallllllllly struggling with my self identity. there is nothing that strips you down to the foundation more, than having cancer. i mean, literally- down to the freaking studs. i have absolutely no idea who i am anymore. i wake up and rush right past the mirror. when i brush my teeth, i just stare at the sink. i wear massive amounts of pink and often feel like i am a billboard for breast cancer. i dig through fifty medicine bottles just to find the right cocktail to take the edge off for today. and try not to notice that everything is different. my nails. my face. my skin. the hair that’s left is falling out. and watching tiktok videos of girls with pretty hair makes me cry. it’ll be years before i have hair that’s brushable again. stripped down to the very beginning it feels like. and while rebirth and a chance to start over are super cool; i am kinda missing what is gone. i spent the last few years, building this house. each day tending to it. some days better than others for sure. and sometimes i could’ve done better. i worked hard on the upkeep. invited only the best people to visit and hold space. cultivated relationships and battled the mental health game too. but it’s hard to watch the whole life you’ve created shrivel up around you. all the tiles and bricks and walls. everything that’s been created along the way. the hard work and labor. the tired days and long nights. it’s hard to sit here and watch it vanish. it’s been a safe place for me and now, the gaping holes and missing drywall have me feeling pretty raw and vulnerable. i feel kinda like a hermit crab searching for a bigger home. it feels a little empty without the walls. without everything that i carried for all of these years. my career. my education. my health. my relationships. my stability and grounding place. i am feeling a little lost. and i am certain i have used those exact words in recent times to describe this existence, this experience. it’s like losing yourself. no, it is losing yourself. it all kinda sloughs off you, like the shedding of skin. and while it sounds so rejuvenating and spa like, you are kinda left cold and naked and vulnerable. exposed. all the empty parts of your house are just there. the uneven surfaces and patchy wood. the stains and marks and scuffs. it’s all there. and i feel this sense of being lost that feels like it’s never going to end. because that house. that house. that took thirty one years of work. of sleepless nights and overthinking and anxiety attacks and too many therapy sessions and not enough coffee. and i built that. i freaking built that. and now, here it is. just the groundwork. just the foundation. which has some cracks and dust. solid but not without its faults. and it’s hard to watch it vanish. it’s hard to stand here and see it empty. it’s hard to imagine what it will look like next. but even harder to imagine how i will even get there.
these days have been hard. no one wants an existential crisis on their identity while battling cancer. it’s more than i feel capable of most days. it takes every ounce of my energy not to lay tears down at the feet of these battles. this new house. the one that i have to fill. the one that is sitting here before me, empty and hollow. the one that even though it’s been through a lot, it’s still standing. the one that has good bones. it’s still my house. it held me all these years. it’s still mine. and while it’s stripped to the frame and in need of a lot, it’s still good. and that’s what i keep forgetting. this year has taken so so much from me. and it has made me face so many demons. and conquer so many battles. and the war wages on and i am still good. i have the foundation that i built on my own. i have the frames that i hammered myself. and that’s still good. it’s what will stand through the next set of storms and will hold the walls of what i was born to build next.
i am quite lost in all this. trying to make sense of my purpose. trying to latch onto anything that will hold me in one place. trying to find out what i am supposed to be. and trying to fashion a new house for myself. but i’ve got good bones and that’s all i need for now.