Saturday, February 13, 2016

You go bald and see how it feels. It's like being naked

My latest via Divorced Moms. Have an amazing Valentine's weekend!

 

Bald and Naked. The Power and Beauty of Vulnerability

By Lizzy Smith                     

liz9.jpgOne of the bright spots of my cancer diagnosis is that, over the years, I have met the most amazing people. Cancer warriors generally rock because it changes you and your entire life focus in an instant, and that’s usually a good thing. One such person I met during my journey is Pat who blogged at www.multiplemyelomablog.com. I took a lot of comfort in Pat’s writings because he gave knowledge, hope and cheer. Pat was often interviewed and during one, he teared up and said that he was on bonus time and that every day was a gift. He no longer feared things he once did—like walking down dark allies or airplane turbulence. No more sweating the small stuff. I am sad to report that Pat lost his battle with myeloma earlier this week due to complications from chemo. His powerful life and lessons remain.

Like Pat, I, too, fear life less these days. Pre diagnosis, turbulence terrified me, I hated birthdays because I was getting older and a step closer to death, heights made my palms sweat, and I approached life with an abundance of caution. I stayed in my dysfunctional and abusive marriage too long because I was afraid to leave it. I never did open my cupcake shop or doggy daycare center because… you guessed it, fear. Fear of failure. Fear that I would become more dependent on my husband, a man I grew to loathe more each day. I obsessed with the number of increasing grey hairs and wrinkles, realizing that I was getting older, which meant that employers would like me less, if I left my husband it would be harder to attract a date, and what if I didn’t have enough money to retire. Fear literally ruled everything I did.

And then cancer. Just like that, changed from fearful to fearless. True, I feared cancer, to an extent, except I knew in my gut I would beat it. I no longer was afraid of my husband. I left him, nothing was worth living another day with a tyrant. I didn’t fear the divorce. I stood in truth and courage and I looked forward to my day in court. I had a birthday (actually, I’ve had four more birthdays since cancer) and I celebrated each one joyfully (including the birthday I spent in the hospital). I might be getting older, I told myself, but, yay, I was still alive. On a flight to Copenhagen, we hit horrible turbulence. I didn’t even flinch. When I started dating again, I was just ME. I didn’t try to hide who I was, not my illness or my past, nothing. I was proud of my warrior status. I thought I was kind and honest and thoughtful. I was hardworking and loyal, sarcastic and demanding of myself and others. It was all there, like it or leave it, I was done pretending anything.

Liberating it felt. And it was good. Make that terrific.

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