In the spirit of being authentic (how come nobody else is writing about this s***?), the holidays are not just a tough time because of family stress and money. For me, the holidays are about the oh-so-popular holiday cards. I seem to get at least one in the mail every day between December 15th-January 15th, and each one makes me wince just a little bit. I know that it’s not PC to say, I know that it’s not going to go over so well, that I’ll seem angry or bitter (perish the thought), but here I am shouting from the rooftops about how we can only get in touch with true happiness when we live authentically. So when I write about where I find joy or my travels or recipes or being with friends and family, that’s all totally legit. But understand, not all days are like that. There are some days when I just want to pull the covers up over my head, and pretend that I don’t have cancer.
I gratefully enjoy the days where the “C” word doesn’t pop up that much in my head. Of course it filters through my brain in one way or another every single day, but thankfully, some days I can skate by with being focused on work or fun or both, with only a few flickers of remembrance (anything can trigger it, from a word that somebody says to a smell to a commercial on TV, and then it’s like being re-traumatized all over again. Anytime I hear the words of the former hospital who misdiagnosed me or I see a commercial where a mother is giving away her daughter the bride or I drive past a funeral home). And it all just comes rushing back to me– I like to think that we’re the same. That I’m on the same path as everybody else. But the truth is, what others have are children, and not cancer. I know that we’re not supposed to talk about it. I know that people just want cheery, inspirational, motivational, rah rah rah… (Or is that simply what I think is tolerable?). But that’s not my authentic self in this very moment. And if I can’t share who I really am with you, and with the world, then how can I be dispensing advice or building momentum for health and wellness? It is because I am trying to get in touch with the painful truth that perhaps then I can heal. Perhaps then I can continue to g-d willing create a healthy soul that can kick cancer’s ass. Perhaps then I can invite others to be real. Genuine. Can we say what really scares us and open up to one another and be there for each other, in sickness and in health?
I’m still trying to figure out what my life will look like, one day at a time, but the holidays are a tough time to be able to do that when so much of the focus are on holiday cards plastered with grinning and beautiful children and Facebook posts and TV ads where children hop around with their toys and eat cookies underneath their Christmas trees. I love my friends and I adore their children, but little reminders of how different my life is from theirs are also so, so hard to bear.
That is my truth. For now. And I carry it with me wherever I go. It doesn’t mean that at times I’m not authentically happy. It doesn’t mean that my life isn’t joyous or wondrous. But my truth has never looked so different, and I have never felt it as much as I do now.