Take Me Someplace New
Right off the bat, I want to reassure you that the irony blindly glaring at you in title of this entry and the current state of the world is not lost on me. In all honesty, I have about a handful of entries that I had started at one time or another, but abandoned because I just couldn't make sense of what I was trying to say at that time. Lately my mind has been a constant storm of thoughts and emotions and filtering through them feels a little exhausting to be honest. I revisited my "draft" pile in order to hopefully help me focus and this one jumped out at me. For whatever reason, it was finally making some sense.
By now if you've read my previous posts, I may sound like a broken record in regards to what I'm about to dive into, but it's worth mentioning in order to make my point today. 22 months ago I came tragically close to losing my life. I can't even count on two hands how many times someone has told me "I didn't know you were that sick". Part of that was because at that time, I was just too sick, fighting for my life in the most literal way possible, that I didn't talk about it until I could even talk. The other part of that was leading up to that day, I didn't really go around publicly talking about my cancer diagnosis. I was embarrassed. That sounds weird, but I was. I hated the attention that I thought would go along with it. I didn't want the world watching me and analyzing me under a microscope. I had enough to process and figure out on my own, that dealing with everyone else and how they approached me was just too much. Stage 3 cancer, losing my hair, chemotherapy, surgery, radiation, treatment potentially not working....death....it was so much to process. My Instagram was like subtle clues that I was not in a good place, but I didn't really come out and say "look at me, I have cancer" until about 8 months into the whole ordeal. Obviously close family and friends knew, but I actually had some really special people in my life that I didn't even tell. Again, it wasn't because I didn't love them or appreciate their concern, I just didn't know how to navigate the whole thing for ME. I was slowly drowning and some moments it was just hard to even breathe let alone care about anything but my narrow focus which was to survive and not leave my children on this earth without me. Being true to me, I was focusing on trying to save myself. With that, I had no choice but to keep my children going down the path that was "all is good" and "mommy is just fine". I didn't let up. I literally ran the marathon (albeit a half marathon), I climbed the mountain (Spartan Sprint Minnesota) and I worked full time leading up to the event that changed me forever. Looking back, that was a really tough job to take on. Pretending like everything is just fine, when it clearly is not, takes its toll on you after awhile.
While some of my experiences and moments in the Intensive Care Unit are fuzzy at best, there is one moment that is clear. Crystal Clear. It was dark, probably night, but time didn't really exist to me then so I'm not sure. It was as quiet as it could be with the beeping from the monitors that surrounded me and the pressure from the high flow oxygen that was pumping into my body. I was alone (I think) and I was scared, but oddly calm and focused. The message I was receiving from the universe, my subconscious, God....(I'm really not sure which), was I hadn't really lived enough. I was disappointed in myself. I've done a lot of honorable and remarkable things in my life, but in those moments, for me, none of it was enough. It's kind of hard for me to admit that without tears streaming down my face as I write this. I hadn't traveled enough, loved enough, parented well enough, challenged myself enough, been vulnerable enough or even believed in myself enough. With that realization came complete silence and complete stillness. It's a moment etched in my mind for all eternity. I know the day will come where I will be back there, in my final moments, but the ending will be different. My only job is to write a different ending.
I find strength in being ok with keeping my cancer diagnosis to myself when I did and now strength with being completely fine shouting it from the roof tops! It is, after all, my story to tell, my journey to navigate. Maybe I didn't do it the way others expected me to or how others would have, but I'm so damn proud with what I'm doing with what I've learned and continue to learn now. I'm growing, I'm changing and I'm excited about where life is taking me....to someplace new. I'm passionate about helping others... on their terms... and my heart is wide open for experiences and life changing conversations that will ultimately leave me, this time, feeling like I created and seized every opportunity that meant something to me. That. Is. Something. Perhaps revisiting these feelings right now is important for me as a reminder as how to move forward once we are safe to do so in a world that is honestly needing to be analyzed and repurposed. This pause we find ourselves in due to the invisible threat that is leaving us still and able to reflect is an opportunity. It is a chance to rediscover ourselves and make intentions for how we want to live moving forward. For me my second chance has been kind of busy. I thrive off of going and doing, but take solace in the moments where I can rest, reflect and feel this consuming amount of gratitude all the way down to my core. I've heard and read repeatedly that the need to stay busy and rarely settle down is a trauma based response to not wanting to acknowledge something deeper. In some cases, maybe, but I have to disagree. For me, it's a beautiful spark and a high, really, that makes me feel like I'm in the middle of writing my story in the way I should have to begin with. I'm fully willing to deal with everything I've been through and I see this need, this Wanderlust, if you will as passion. It fuels my spirit, my soul and fulfills my desire to live life in this big, loving way. I want to love, laugh, travel, cry, challenge myself, parent, and do as much as I can with however many days I have left. Right now, "Take me Someplace New" isn't really about a destination. You see, it's a mindset. It's saying 'I love you" to others and also myself in a way that feels different, deeper. It's reaching out to others authentically, expecting nothing in return. It's a grace that is more honest and pure than you can imagine. It's a belief that redefining my mission, my purpose here on this earth will take me to new places, new conversations, new people, new moments, new and more beautiful horizons than I ever could have imagined had I not been knocking on death's door. Same shit different day? Not for me. Seize each moment as the gift that it is...even in quarantine, the new places I'm visiting while being still is fulfilling the vow I made to myself that night in the ICU. Although, once this pandemic is over....I'd really appreciate a different view for fun (wink). Stay safe, stay healthy...challenge yourself to dig deep and determine if there is anywhere new you'd like to take your soon to be post pandemic self in body, mind or spirit. -M.