I took my kids to school this morning and I actually needed a sweatshirt! Fall is my jam and the cool, crisp air made me hopeful that I'm entering into a new season...not just autumn, but rather out of this place of gray and into a world, once again, with a bit more color. This last surgical hurdle was a little harder and more intense than I had imagined it would be. When you've been juggling one medical issue after the next for what's going on four years pretty soon, one feels like there isn't much more to experience! Well, I was wrong. I lived through another hospital stay, middle of the night emergency room visit, infection scare and somehow, 4 weeks and 2 days of two freaking surgical drains hanging from my body. Hell....that is the word to describe that. But even in my misery, I acknowledge moments of bravery, strength and grace. Of course, there was plenty of weakness, tears and this overwhelming self sabotaging, self conscious view of myself that left me feeling like I will never look at myself as beautiful or whole again. (That's some deep shit to deal with right there.) HOWEVER! in the last week or so as I continue to heal, I'm seeing more glimpses of how my strength, bravery and resilience are guiding me to a place where I once again am hopeful. Where I once again think I can actually find my way back, no forward, to a version of me that honors the past yet embraces a potential that isn't even quite clear. In the words of one of my favorite authors Glennon Doyle...I am a mother fucking cheetah!!!! (if you know, you know...and if you don't, I strongly suggest you read her book Untamed! You're Welcome ...wink! ) Feeling the warmth of a light that has been so dim for such a long time is a pretty great feeling. There is still a little fear that it could all go so wrong and that the light might burn out, but I'm finding that my hope and optimism are somehow once again bigger than that which has been holding me back. My wings, they are a stretch-in! They are getting stronger and more capable of leaving these old demons behind.
A few months ago, a group of my high school friends started chatting. We all live in different places, living very different life circumstances and as a group we haven't been together in at least 20 years! We decided to plan a weekend getaway. The mere idea of this filled my heart up. When we planned it, the whole idea sounded fun and completely doable for me. As the months passed, surgery happened and healing slowed, I didn't think I was going to make the trip. A last minute Hail Mary came in the form of me getting my surgical drains removed just six days before the trip and my surgeon giving me the green light for some "fun that you really deserve"-his words, my green light. I was excited, but nervous to go. My endurance for even walking more than a few blocks was dismal. The discomfort I was feeling in my chest was unfortunate and the frumpy way I was feeling about my post surgical body left me feeling ashamed, embarrassed and probably a little outcast ish. These aren't really the emotions that are considered desirable going into an adventure with people you haven't seen in decades! Nonetheless, I felt like this was an opportunity and I was ready to seize it. Here's the thing about putting yourself out there when you're feeling so vulnerable...you will grow! You will learn, you will evolve and you will become and experience something quite remarkable.
These past several years, I have felt like I have completely lost myself. Meaning, I've been mourning the loss of my old self, my old life and the pre cancer Mia. Cancer undoubtedly took her away despite me holding onto her for dear life. Seeing these beautiful souls that once knew her from many moons ago, I was reminded that they too haven't forgotten some of her silly antics, loving gestures and ambitious spirit. They also see and embrace this newer version of me that I honestly didn't quite know if she would fit in. I stumbled upon some balance and the hope that it brings is the most optimistic I have felt in a long time. Through the lens in which I now see life, I viewed each of these women as inspiring, hilarious, caring, witty and all around beautiful. Not that I didn't back in the day, I mean we were a squad for a reason! But, the authentic nature of our interactions was soul quenching. The energy of the city of Chicago, the laughs (oh so many laughs!), the real conversations that involved some shedding of my tears (imagine that), the strong shoulders that were there for me to cry on, the dancing and literally not caring who was watching, the lovely Summer Old Fashioned cocktails (and even the daring tequila shots), and so, so. much more that I really probably can't share, haha! ......it was an adventure of a lifetime. Thank you for loving me. Thank you for remembering me. Thank you for supporting me. You serve as both my forever time capsule and my crystal ball. I'm forever grateful for not only our time together, but for the glimpse of hope that I will hold onto with steadfast arms. Lots of love my silly, beautiful angels. -M
"Sometimes the strength within isn't a big fiery flame for all to see. Sometimes it's just a tiny spark that whispers ever so softly ....keep going, you got this." -Women Blazing Trails