During the first few days of my diagnosis, when only Super Bro, 2 of my best (and doctor) friends who went to my appointments with me and I, knew about my cancer, I was dodging calls, ignoring people I loved and did all I could to stay positive and upbeat when in their presence. Nothing prepares you for having to tell the people who love you most in the world, that the doctors think you’ll probably be dead within a year. A few knew there was something wrong when I was sent home from tour but most people didn’t, since I didn’t have the space, physically nor mentally, to tell them. Then I told my dad, my sister and mother and watched as their worlds fell apart and I wondered where I could find the strength and time to break the news to each of my friends who I held so close to my heart, re-live the story over and over again, watch their faces and hear the pain in their silence as they understood what I was telling them. So I sent a mass email, still the one thing I wish I hadn’t had to do, yet the only thing I could, given the surreal version of my new, overwhelming reality. In it, I told them
“As most of you know, writing is my therapy and whilst it’s not really my thing, I will be starting a blog to help me through this, to keep you all informed and hopefully be a source of comfort/support/information for anyone else going through something similar… Feel free to deal with this however you want/need to, you’re part of this too now. It needn’t be a secret. In fact I would prefer that people know so that we can all just get this stage over with and get this shit show on the road.”
… and with that I felt freedom, not just for myself but for everyone else because I have long been a fan of honesty and know only too well, the dangers of keeping the truth buried inside.
Since then I have enjoyed many of the benefits of sharing my story so publicly; the extended family and friendship it has created, the freedom of sharing how I feel and the inspiration it has meant for others who need it but then suddenly it all got a bit too much for me and I checked out.
By nature, I am a warm and sociable person but I am also very shy. I have never been one to enjoy the spotlight, always being behind the lens rather than in front of it, and so have been caught off guard with all the attention I have been receiving. Suddenly everyone wants to visit me, everyone has beautiful words to say about me, my phone remains full with messages and my inbox with emails, both beautiful and haunting. Suddenly everyone thinks I am an inspiration, friends are leaving their jobs as they fear not living their true purposes and I’m the new guru in town, the vessel through which valuable lessons are being learnt. I don’t mean to belittle the sincerity of any of this, the happiness this has brought me and the gratitude I feel for such friendship, but now I find myself in a position I am not comfortable in as I feel myself drift more towards fulfilling people’s expectations rather than honoring my purpose for sharing in the first place.
When I made the decision to share my story, it was with the sole intention of finding liberation through honesty, of allowing myself the freedom to be and allowing those I loved to share in my story, without the burden of keeping my secret. What I did not necessarily want nor anticipate, is how far an audience it would reach and how people now look to me for insight, positivity in the face of adversity and inspiration. You see, the truth is, whilst I am and have always been honest in everything I have posted thus far, I have been really down lately and have withdrawn from social media and even my friends to some extent, because of the pressure I have been feeling to remain positive for them and it is only I that I blame for this feeling of entrapment.
Yes I am a positive person and yes I do count my blessings everyday but I am also human and the truth is, I am scared, not so much of dying but of leaving those I love behind to pick up the pieces. I have nightmares about it frequently, my sleep often peppered with dreams I want to wake from. The truth is, messages from people I don’t even know, like this one, stay heavy on my heart and never escape my memory. The truth is, through my own determination to ease the pain, I feel the pressure to stay positive so that those I love can stay positive too and forget the possibility that they may lose me. The truth is, I don’t like so much fuss being made of me. The truth is, I have long been a ‘people manager’, where others’ emotions and needs matter more than my own and all it has ever resulted in, is sadness and frustration. The truth is, the self-imposed pressure of needing to be too much to too many people, has left me exhausted and I don’t want to do it anymore. If cancer is, as I believe it is, a gift to me, I want to accept that gift and let go of that which does not serve me.
So with these admissions of truths, comes a lesson (re)learnt…
To accept my whole self as I accept others and be as compassionate towards myself as I am towards them, as accepting reality leads to change that denial never can.
#PermissionToBeMe #JustBe #Balance #IAmHuman #BeGoodToYourself #Acceptance #HighsAndLows #PleaseDontSendMeShitLikeThis #OnlyTheWholeTruthFromNowOn #ThisWritingIsForMe #Truth #TeamSlugSlayer #Blessed #NeverForgetToSayThankYou #ThankYou