Here’s the truth: You suck. You are taking away my precious time and energy. You are taking up space in my head. F**k you. I’m done with ruminating and perseverating over the whens and ifs. I could care less about why me? And how did I get you? You are a monster that refuses to leave. And I need to deal with you on so many levels.
I’m a fuzzy pink muppet of nerves. I’m distressed. On a scale from one to 10, I’m a five. Or maybe an eight. My shirt is inside out again.
Reading “When Things Fall Apart” by American Tibetan Buddhist Pema Chödrön, her wisdom takes hold of me. Instead of moving away from a painful situation, Chödrön shows that becoming intimate with it can open our hearts. When nailed with the truth, there’s no choice but to accept what’s happening or push it away.
My truth is shaky, dark, and palpable: Breast cancer. The story of these past few weeks runs inside my head over and over again like a dream. I want to step through a portal and go back to blissful ignorance. But I know I can’t. I need to face the reality that I will lose a part of myself to cancer. I will lose tissue, blood, and skin. Panic blooms: I will lose my breasts. Gut-wrenching sadness comes over me, and I want to push it away. This truth is an obstacle, a bump in the road. Anger, despair, and disappointment are arrows piercing my heart, but I need to stop struggling and look into the eyes of the monster.
I know I’m not alone. I look around my writing “studio” and see loving kindness. Thoughtful cards and notes from friends and family. Books to read. Notebooks to write in. Colored pencils. Art. Pictures of my family. Comfort, love, friendship, and creativity surround me. I hold these things close to face the truth of cancer, surgery, and recovery. I need to learn how to become more tender with my vulnerability. Every moment is precious.
What you seek is seeing you. –Rumi