Forget the Narrative
As we close out yet another month, I find myself both somberly and appreciatively reflecting on everything that has happened and that is weighing so heavy on my heart. I started out the month a nervous wreck facing another major surgery. I've somehow managed to make it 27 days later through the worst of the pain and healing that goes along with what I describe as the aftermath of cancer. I'm so grateful that my reconstruction went well. I feel lucky that I didn't end up in the ICU this time. I finally got to experience what a normal surgery and healing experience is like. Today I ventured out for my first run since I went under the knife. It was weird in that I'm still having to wear a brace around my torso as a result of the fat grafting that was done. I feel like Santa Claus on the daily with this thing on, but I'm hoping that in a week when I get to get rid of this thing, I will feel like a butterfly emerging from a damn cocoon! haha..That's my plan, anyhow. As much as this experience has consumed me these past 27 days, I'm finding that there is so much more consuming my thoughts. If 2020 has taught us anything, it's that "heavy" just seems to coincide with existing. The "Yin and Yang" of this year is a constant battle of sorts. One that is defined as a concept originating in ancient Chinese philosophy where opposite forces are seen as interconnected and counterbalancing. You have a dark side and a light side not necessarily working against each other, but perhaps somehow completing each other. I guess I've always felt that the dark makes us appreciate the light...it doesn't make it any easier to navigate or accept, but it gives me hope that something positive can come from what we perceive as negative. In Chinese Mythology, Yin and Yang were born from chaos and somehow managed to live in harmony. I find myself constantly trying to figure out peace and balance amidst the chaos of not only my survivorship, but also living in this pandemic. As I was searching (ok, doing a google search) on how to find this balance, the world wide web had several suggestions like eating well, keeping track of your macros (for real it said this), Feng Shui, and so on. What jumped off the page at me, however was this....." Forget about the narrative and focus on what works".
I celebrated my birthday this month. I was blessed with another trip around the sun and as beautiful as it was to blow out my candles, I couldn't help but realize that I almost didn't make it to 43 and future birthdays are never a guarantee. So much light....followed by so much darkness. I peacefully took some time to decorate my house for Christmas while I was on leave from work and the twinkling of the lights on the tree are bringing me some much needed peace. For a second, I felt excited about the holiday season and then the reality that my cancerversary is just a couple weeks away brought back so many memories of the hardest time of my life. Facing a cancer diagnosis and the beginning of a long road of treatment is a hard thing to deal with at any time of year, but add in the pressure of the holidays and it just makes for some sad, lonely memories. Light and Dark. It seems so simple to just "stick with what works", but honestly sometimes we don't even know what that is! Sometimes what worked before, doesn't seem to work now. So here's what I know....the Yin and Yang, ups and downs, the emotional rollercoaster...whatever you want to call it...it exists to make this life adventure mean something. Those of us willing to lean into the uncomfortable feelings and try to make sense of it all are in fact receiving a gift like no other. To be able to see beauty in both the light and the dark is quite remarkable. It isn't easy and it doesn't mean we like the dark, but I do think there are lessons and gifts to be discovered here. Doing what works, means figuring out your own way to deal with it and help you in moving forward, not just remaining stuck in the same place. Stuck means you aren't rewriting your narrative....you are sticking to the one you are used to or the one that doesn't really suit you anymore. For me, in these trying times, my narrative is being really true to myself and finding a way to connect to my thoughts and my emotions in a healthy, productive way each and every day. I love being outside in nature. I love to run. I love to read and I seem to thrive when listening to good music. I also find fulfillment in sharing my thoughts and learning from this community. I also know for a fact that there are hobbies and adventures and experiences that are going to suit me so perfectly, but I haven't even discovered them yet! Who knows, I might be an excellent guitar player or have an uncanny ability to perform Beyonce' the next time I go to a karaoke bar. Who knows! The point is that if I live by sticking to my narrative I might never discover things about myself that bring me out of the shadows and into my own light. My advice to you all is let the Yin and Yang pull you, teach you and guide you to living an authentic life. Forget the narrative and live according to your own rules and the way in which your heart guides you. You will likely go through some dark times, but the light you will be headed for will be unlike anything you've ever experienced before. I don't know about you, but I'm ready to emerge from this current state I've been in as the beautiful butterfly that I feel I am destined to become. The narrative I once held to be my guide, I let go of. I'm hoping that by following what feels right and by being true to me, life takes me somewhere I never could have imagined. Perhaps Cancer was my dark and something I can't completely see yet....but I'm getting close...is to be my light.
For all of you going through some hard, heavy (pardon my language) shit right now....I'm so sorry. As much as I wish I could take it away, I do think you will be able to see the gifts of your struggle in due time. Forget the narrative...follow your heart, connect to you soul and live your purpose. R.M. Drake wrote: "Don't forget who you are. And don't forget what you're made of-what you've been through. I know this is a dark, difficult time, but you have to remember that you're a survivor. A goddamn warrior of love and pain. Of struggle and perseverance. You'll get through this. We'll get through this. And we'll come back even stronger than before."
So. much love to you all-M.