This won’t be a big diatribe about how I’m right and everyone else is wrong. I won’t go saying that no money is being made off this latest social media ‘craze’ because maybe money is being raised – and I won’t tell you that your selfie sucks because every one I’ve seen (and there have been plenty!) have been naturally stunning people. I won’t lie about it though – I don’t understand it. There is plenty of awareness about cancer. Walk up to any person in the street and say ‘have you heard about cancer’ and they will probably tell you they know three people who have had it, had a scare with it or sadly died from it. Cancer doesn’t need awareness.
I get lost with the whole no makeup selfie “thing”. The implication that taking a photo of yourself without makeup is ‘so brave’ is just ludicrous. Brave is having both breasts removed in attempt to evade cancer. Brave is the woman I know who continues to face her life day to day, despite the diagnosis and the negative prognosis. Brave is the men and women and children who get out of bed every day and fight to live beyond their various cancer’s and their diagnosis’. THOSE people are brave. Brave are the people who are supporting loved ones with cancer – attending to their needs, taking them where they need to be, supporting their health, being the voice who says ‘you can beat this’ when that internal voice has faded to a whisper. THAT is bravery.
Taking a photo of yourself without makeup is (as far as I can tell) a way to feel good about yourself for three seconds. You ‘did’ something about cancer, and now you can carry on with your life.
If you want to help, help. Donate money towards research. FUND a cure. START a fundraiser. SUPPORT science. TAKE your hand off your camera and go and use those hands to volunteer.
Cancer doesn’t need awareness – it needs funding to be eradicated. Awareness doesn’t cure cancer.
My kids are driving me mental today. Oliver is second guessing and questioning every single thing that either Matt or I say, and then completely ignoring us. Lucy has been asking questions all day, questions which are just irritating me – questions like ‘can I have a drink’. You know, normal kid stuff. And I just can’t deal.
There are things going on in my life which I can’t talk about but they are big and scary and awful and I am hating almost every minute of every day as I work through them. The kids are fine and healthy but completely kids, and consequently, inconsiderate of my need for complete isolation and silence while I process and get things addressed. On this end, life looks normal, but come a little closer and you’ll see sleepless nights, lots of tears, emotional breakdowns in very public and humiliating places and so much angst I can’t hold it in. Matt has been amazing – the cupboard is full of comfort food, the fridge full of non-alcoholic drinks because if I go down that road right now I might not come back.
And then today, I got the most beautiful message from someone who knows all is not right, but doesn’t know why or how, but just wanted to help enough that she sent a message which made me cry.
” You have the best smile, you have the best laugh and you make my world worth living….”
That’s my light. To get back to laughing. To feel that I can face people again. To be able to interact, and find my joy again. To be that person that she sees in me, even when all I see is frustration and helplessness.
There is a light at the end of this long black tunnel. I just have to reach it.
Most people who stop blogging for any period of time and then come back usually have a triumphant return story, or a life affirming message, or a new lease on life or have been through a big change in their lives – separation, divorce, death in the family. My return to blogging isn’t nearly as exciting, or important. I don’t have a big secret to tell, there is no launch into something new and I’m not here to tell you that finally my long suffering husband got sick of me and bailed.
The truth is, in the past month more than a few people have asked me why I stopped writing. At first I didn’t really have an answer because it wasn’t something that I consciously decided to stop doing. Much like a new season sneaking in and before you really notice you’ve gone from wearing shorts to jeans the transition to not writing about my life happened and then one day I suddenly realised it had been months and I didn’t miss it at all.
I had started to feel like I had to write because some expected me to have something to say. When I realised I didn’t have anything to say, then it became really hard to write because everything felt mediocre and I have always had such high expectations of myself. So I just shut up. A crisis of writing confidence, as it were.
I’ve always believed that if we listen to our inner voice, we know what we need. Could I have forced it? Sure! I could have sat down, and recounted the day I took Oliver grocery shopping and he told me that his willy was up, and when I looked down at him, not only was his willy up, but he had it OUT and the lady next to us looked like she was three seconds away from a heart attack….. but then I wondered why? Why bother? Who is that story going to help?
And then, that’s the crux of it. Because I used to feel like when I wrote, it helped people. When I was raw with grief and hurt and loneliness I felt like I could write so others would understand. When PTSD threatened to ruin my relationships with my children and my husband I wrote because it was an outlet into which I could vent my anxieties and frustrations and not spew those venomous thoughts at the people I loved dearly but felt completely disconnected from. When Oliver was sick, when my hundred thousand dollar baby wasn’t meeting milestones properly, was diagnosed as failure to thrive and had surgery scheduled and performed I wrote because it got those thoughts out of my head and into the world where other parents fear and struggle and worry.
But now, I wonder what this next chapter of my life will bring and what the motivation for writing once again will become. I know it won’t be grief and anger and longing because I have largely moved into acceptance and belief that everything does happen for a reason and my reason was greater compassion and understanding. I know it won’t be depression, anxiety, anger and PTSD because aside from some very small moments where a trigger knocks me, I have become calm and centered and mostly at ease with myself, and my list of neurosis and mental instabilities. What will come next will likely unfold only as it happens. The focus has shifted and its a new and unusual situation for me to sit, in front of a laptop which is on it’s last legs, in a new job which has seen me return to work full time doing some very long hours in a very challenging environment, with two children who are blessed in their good health and neurotypical ways, with a husband who continues to be the most supportive and understanding best friend I ever could have hoped for…..
I have no idea what is to come. But I’m ready to take it on, with open arms and sometimes, i might even write about it.
For the first time ever, in the almost three years since he was born into my arms, there is silence. Machines are beeping, other kids are crying, and refusing their medicines. The air conditioner is humming and wheels are rolling across the floor in the nurses station. but from where he is, on his side, fast asleep, there is only silence. This is the first night since he was born that he has slept peacefully. For the first time since he arrived earth side, he doesn’t have his head back, his shoulders arched and his mouth wide open. He is sleeping, and his oxygen levels are amazing. He isn’t tossing, he isn’t crying, he isn’t snoring.
He is just… Asleep. And it’s wonderful.
I feel like I have to post this, as a sort of public safety announcement to anybody who like me, is trying to kill themselves on a semi regular basis in the pursuit of ‘healthy’. (I can’t in good conscience use the world happy here..)
If you should happen to buy a treadmill off eBay for $80 so as to convince both yourself and your husband that this isn’t another passing ‘gonna’ phase, (the ab king pro, the slidey-leg shaper thing, the protein shake diet and the eating dinner at lunch thing.. there are so many..) you might surprise yourself and start to like it. You might start to get up early to get on it before work, and send the kids to bed a little bit early at night so as you can use it before Big Brother starts (What? I’m not totally reformed!) and then you might use it so much that you manage to break it. You might think it was the one time you dared to run on it which finally sounded it’s death knell, but it’s most likely because you spent $80 on a treadmill from eBay…
Don’t make my mistake. Don’t assume when you buy a fancy new treadmill to replace your not at all fancy piece of junk that the speed settings are the same. Because that is how you find yourself on the garage floor, with a little bit of skin missing off one knee, wondering what the hell just happened and how you suddenly learnt to fly.