Oh crap. This is the post that has been a long time coming but that I haven’t had the courage to write. I’ve known for awhile that I haven’t been as authentic here as I felt called to be. There are things, mostly my struggles with this process, that I have avoided. I was waiting for a time when I was beyond the hurt and pain so I could write about the triumph and glory of overcoming the worst of the worst. But that isn’t a real picture. That is selling a lie. That is waiting for the clean, convenient, polished version of a hard, icky, ugly scenario. That isn’t truth, and somehow, I am ready for truth.
I didn’t want to say that I have been panicky, at times seriously questioning whether I should continue fighting, and completely not myself for weeks. I didn’t want to be exposed for those truths because I was afraid of what you would think, and what those feelings meant about me. I was afraid that struggling so very hard meant I was weak or that I had somehow failed to be the person I wanted to be- the person who was eternally optimistic, the person who was always able to pull out the silver lining and press forward with grace and grit. I wanted to be her so very badly. I wanted to give her to you. I’m sad that I lost her to these overwhelming and crushing circumstances. But when you are facing such a sincere threat against your life, and the future (should you survive) also seems quite difficult and painful, the human reaction is to struggle. Deeply. And so I have. I have struggled deeply.
But I’m willing to be honest about it because I finally feel a purpose in the struggle. The purpose is to truly and wholeheartedly connect and to create a space where anyone can show up and see that real pain and real suffering are normal. Hurt happens and it we don’t always handle it so very well. Sadly, we don’t talk about our ugly hurt and our flubbed reactions because it feels shameful and entirely too vulnerable. But it is when we suffer alone that we lose ourselves the most. And having been there myself, I would do anything to save another human being from such devastating isolation. So I am risking being entirely too vulnerable because I believe it is worth it.
And so I will tell you that I completely fell apart. My cup had run over and the burden of all that I am going through was spilling out all over the place. I have had epic anxiety attacks. Sometimes they come in the middle of the night. I wake up and I can’t breath and my skin feels tight on my body and my chest hurts. It made falling asleep a nightmare and I turned to alcohol to dull the pain. I have also had attacks in the middle of the day. I was recently standing in a restaurant and I was suddenly surrounded by too much noise and too many people and the room felt too small so I ran out of there to gasp at fresh, uncluttered air. I later collapsed into a friends arms sobbing that I just couldn’t be in that space anymore. Worse than that, I completely lost my marbles once and screamed at my sweet husband and shoved him away from me. It was completely unlike me, felt completely out of my control, and it feels horrible to even think about it now. But I will talk about it because I know it was just pain pouring out of me. I think keeping it in and being ashamed of how fragile and wounded I feel now isn’t helping either. So I’m releasing it and putting all my chips on vulnerability over pretty. I can only hope that I’m not seen as a monster, but as a real person going through really hard stuff. And yeah, I’m doing my best but sometimes I completely and utterly miss the mark. And I’m surrendering to that, hoping to learn and improve as I go.
I know, however, that I will fall on my face again and again and again, and then pick myself up and keep pushing for better again and again and again.
I fought being in this space for so long because this blog means so much to me and I didn’t want to lose any of you. Thousands of people all over the world have read my writing and it felt like it gave purpose to this whole crappy scenario. I felt like I was doing something important with the suffering, flipping it on its head and wringing out the good. And of course it felt good to have the support and praise of so many wonderful people. I realize that being brutally honest here might make some of you reject me. I realize my readership might fall to one (thanks, mom). But I’m finally feeling like I want to shatter the glass box of expectations I’ve created and walk away from the pressure to sanitize suffering. I’m sorry friends, sometimes this shit is just too hard to clean up. But hey, we all have our stuff and I’m no longer going to feel bad about how unattractive mine is.
So I’m putting it all out there and in turn putting down the weight of the guilt and shame. I’m unapologetic about that. I’m going to freely admit that I am one lost kid right now as I’m still recovering from the epic aftermath of surviving something that was really scary for me. I don’t know how long that will take, but I know I won’t do it alone. No one does. And that’s kind of the point of writing about it.
I’m not alone and neither are you.
So I’ve finally figured out that, for me, my purpose for being in this moment is to share it and to welcome you in to this space with me. It is scary and hyper vulnerable, but it feels really good. It feels right. It feels honest. And for as tired as I am for how long I have labored and struggled under the weight of cancer and everything life has thrown at me, it feels really nice to let the expectations go and unburden myself just a little bit. If that sounds like a place you want to be, stick with me. I’m going to keep on this track. (And please, if you like it, share it. I want to be in good company here!) But if it’s not your thing, I send you lots of love as you leave. Real isn’t for everyone, I know, but it is for me. For now and always. Finally.
Give ‘Em Hell