i have been trying to find the time and space to sit down and blog a bit. things have just been a little crazy lately. not in a bad way; just very busy. lots of moving parts. long days. and the head space to sit down and unpack what is going on just didn’t really exist. and in all honesty, my brain is processing a lot. and my heart is also processing a lot. and there’s a couple reasons for all of that, and sure- i would consider myself a silent sufferer. i tend to lend myself to not being a burden. especially after my former best friend of twenty two years ditched our friendship ten days after i started chemo. quoting that my ‘cancer diagnosis was a lot’. and don’t get me wrong- it for sure was a lot. but more so for me than her. anyways, in a solid effort to not have a repeat of all that, i try to keep things to myself. i try to lay low and keep the focus off me. but honestly, i am processing a lot right now while also trying to delicately navigate my own life transitions. i am trying to become more comfortable being lonely. but most importantly, i am continuing to keep it real. authenticity is the name of the game and i am player one. and one of the biggest parts of being real is really just owning it. the whole thing. the good, the bad, the really good, the really bad and of course, all the uncomfortable things in between. something i learned very early on in my cancer journey is that not everyone sticks around for the good, the bad, the really good or the really bad. and not just when it’s cancer. i mean, in general. i used to think that when someone walked out of your life, there had to be some sort of big, extreme reason or moment. but the truth is, sometimes being real is just too much for people. it’s not always this blow up moment that leads to some dramatic exit. sometimes it’s literally just that life is too much or too real. and right now, at the milestone of two years in cancer remission- i am finding myself having issues with people being real with me. hashing things out. being honest. keeping the drama to a minimum. especially since i spend my days tackling middle school drama. and my whole life i have been craving authenticity. the ability to be myself. to be real and open. no holding back. and when my whole life was flipped upside down fresh prince of bel air style; i guess it became my mission. that if i had to lose everything else; if i had to be stripped of everything and lose all of myself- well then i surely was not about to lose the parts of me that were the most valuable to me. and that felt real and that felt raw.
it felt like it was finally okay. that just two years ago, my body suffered a great loss. an identity shift. an amputation surgery. a life saving surgery. a life changing one too. and in it all, something inside me changed too. that i don’t have to accept the hurt and pain that the universe gives me. that i have the power and the opportunity to take all of it and blend it into whatever i want. and this week, so many beautiful people reminded me of my own power and my own realness. so many people lifted me and celebrated me. so many people understood that what i have been through is not only something no one should ever go through but that it’s also something very real. it’s something very authentic about me. this side of the story and this side of the pain- i exist as i am. and while i know for a fact my tolerance for drama, insignificance, hurt, poor behavior, malicious intent or any other foolishness is pretty low; i know i don’t have to carry space for that. i am allowed to draw my circle in the sand around me. and i am allowed to get real when you do something or say something that doesn’t hit right. because after fighting for my life twice in the same year, everything inside me changed. i became hyper aware of how different everything was going to be going forward. that everything about me had changed. that the trauma i had experienced had changed everything, forever. and there’s a lot to unpack about my trauma and my experiences facing death and making life altering decisions alone. those kinds of things force you into this really overwhelming space. this place where it’s very real. it’s very black and white. it’s very straight forward. option one or option two. life or death. and the decisions are there, in front of you, with waivers and a pen. no going home and sleeping on it. it’s real and it’s now. and maybe my mind circles around those decisions too often and it brings on this immense feeling of loneliness. but that’s also real. my feelings, my trauma, everything that i have been through. and what i am going through right now is very real too. there are shifts in a friendship right now. there are career shifts happening. there are shifts within my body dysmorphia that are happening. and even shifts with my identity. and when things start to change, it can be hard for me to process. adjusting accordingly is not always my strong suit.
but what i need and what i want is for the real stuff to be accepted. for it all to just be valid and okay. and i don’t have the energy or the time on this earth to navigate through ugliness, mean text messages, petty stuff, being left on read, poor communication, low efforts- i cannot spend my remaining life moments taking all of that in at face value. and here’s the reality of it all- someone recently said something to me that really hurt. and normally, i would hold onto it. i would process it over and over again. dissecting the moments leading up to and away from that ugly and hurtful moment. it would eat at me. and sure, in the weeks since it came through in a text, i have thought about it but i have not given it more energy than i give to turning the ignition in my car. because that would be giving more of myself to something that doesn’t match who i am.
and who am i? well, that’s a loaded question. because i continue to find myself in an identity crisis that is likely to last the better part of a decade. but i do know a few things that are certain- i am as loyal as they come. ask anyone. my friendships and relationships and the roles i carry in this lifetime are the most precious to me. i am one of the best friends you’ll ever have. i love with my whole existence. and sometimes that’s to a fault. i cry when i am mad and when i am sad. i try hard to think before i do. but it’s not always a guarantee. sometimes the pain that i have been through peeks through the cracks. i have the memory of an elephant- since they never forget. i remember every single time i have been betrayed or have been hurt. i don’t keep score but i also don’t offer more than a chance or two. my more recent experiences have taught me that i know myself better than anyone ever will. and that i can be whoever i want to be. it has taught me that while life is short, whatever happens will happen. there’s very little i can control when the universe is driving everyone forward. and that it’s better to be real, be honest, be truthful and hold on tight. because the version of me that exists now is one that has truly been molded and framed by near death experiences, trauma, pain, loneliness and the honest will to live to see the next sunrise.
and it’s about as real as it gets. and i just don’t have the space or place for anyone who cares to knock me back a few pegs. i worked too hard to be here today. and i deserve the same energy and love and respect that i give.
on the day i was diagnosed with cancer, i walked into my neighbor’s backyard to share the news with my family. i never cried that day. i simply said ‘match my energy. i am not afraid.’ and that holds true today. match my energy. be real. and allow me to be real.