Episode 19: Little Up, Little Down

It’s been a while. Mostly because for the longest time I figured that if I didn’t write about cancer… why bother writing? Now I realize that the phase I’ve been in, the treatments I’ve been experiencing, even the fears I walked through during diagnosis… all those experiences and moments will come out in time. The time that they need to, not when I think they need to. So, for the time being, I’m going to write about the parts that what I want to (which may or may not include cancer). This part does.

One of the most difficult parts about being sick for me has been wanting to know where my life is going. For most of the fall, I couldn’t focus on ‘getting well’ because I was too busy stressing myself out over stuff I couldn’t control. It may not be cancer related in your case, but I know most of us can relate.

I wanted clear, precise directions and answers. What would my body look and feel like at the end of these 6 months? What jobs could or should I consider as I transitioned out of treatment back into ‘real life’? Where would I live? How much should I baby myself? And how much should I jump and dance and plan all the trips and do crazy things because I survived cancer? Was I supposed to have had this spiritual awakening that would change everything from here on out? What should I do with my life, now? (You know, the little questions).

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Episode 18: Paddle Out

“Don’t give up in your mind something that your body hasn’t even attempted yet.”

That thought popped into my head this morning.  I was just sitting in silence, enjoying a quiet morning. Or trying to enjoy it, I should say. Way back, in the recesses of my mind, nagging fear was doing a number on my peace.

I took a deep breath in, and a deep breath out. I counted my blessings. I stretched. I even walked to the ocean and just marvelled at its beauty. I didn’t look at my phone. I didn’t check my emails. And all this before 8am. I’m telling you, I did everything right. Or rather, I did everything that today’s ‘mindfulness’ gurus tell you to do.

Yet there it was, the anxiety. The unknown. The dull panic that somehow, somewhere, in some way I was failing.

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Episode 17: Take a Hike

I’ve been dwelling on fear lately. Wait, I should rephrase that. I’ve been mulling over the reality of the word again, but I haven’t felt particularly afraid in some time. That’s a kind of cool thing to brag on isn’t it? I’m not afraid of anything. Except it isn’t true, and I actually don’t want it to be. Because I’ve realized that without a bit of healthy fear we aren’t truly living. Without a few butterflies in our stomachs every now and then, we aren’t really taking risks, are we? Without the knowledge that you are stepping into a situation of which the outcome is unknown, you’ll never leave your comfort zone.

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Episode 16: (Ir)responsibility: (a verb)

I haven’t written here in forever. It’s been strange, because for a certain period of time this blog was an incredible motivator for me. It was the only space I was able to get feedback, and essentially it became my personal cheerleader, reminding me that writing is indeed a viable career. (Yes, I crave validation as much as the next person). Not saying I still don’t have my dark, fearful, unmotivated days… but it’s been beautiful to see how creativity, as with any skill, thrives when you practice it. I haven’t been writing here because I’ve been writing elsewhere, which is basically the best reason I could ever find. It didn’t happen intentionally, yet it happened. I’ve really been learning the value of having a singular focus, but that’s probably another story for another time. So as the book has taken up more of my thoughts, time, and creative energy I started to realize how far I have come with this whole idea of dreaming.

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Episode 15: Truly known and deeply loved

Who knows me? Who understands me? If everything I did, everything I am known for, and all of my dreams of the future suddenly disappeared one day – who would stick around?

I think one of the most challenging aspects of moving or transitioning is that your community shifts and changes. You suddenly find yourself in a new place with new people you need to somehow convey yourself to. People joke all the time about how hard it is as adults to make new friends; you can’t just walk up to someone new on the playground and start a game of tag anymore (I mean technically you could… anyone game to try it out and report back?) But beyond the lack of accessibility of new friends, (everyone is hiding out in their office buildings or Netflixing alone in their homes!) there’s also the fact that as we grow older our needs change. No longer is the pinnacle of friendship defined by finding someone who also loves Barbie’s or Pokémon, suddenly we find that our expectations of relationship have expanded.

What I mean by that is simple: I desire friendships with people who track with me, are on my level… or in other words, people who know me.

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Episode 14: But now we’re stressed out

Stress.

It’s such a dirty word in 2018, hey?

We prefer to talk about sleep hygiene, self-love, meditation and minimalism. We strive to rid ourselves of this demon that wreaks havoc on our mental, emotional, and physical health. Yet we don’t really like to talk about it. I’ve often wondered how many people answering the question, “How’re you doing?” with “Oh I’m just so busy!” should really just cut the crap and say, “I’m stressed.”

But maybe that’s just me.

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Episode 13: What are you so ashamed of?

“Shame is a soul eating emotion.”
― C.G. Jung

I could not help but notice that people really freaked out (in a good way) when I wrote about shame in my previous post (Epi 4) last summer. That post had infinitely more responses and reaction than any other topic I’ve written about. Honestly, I don’t think it was because it was my most phenomenal writing, I think it was because shame rarely gets called out. Now, I realize I’m not Brené Brown. (But I most definitely will quote her).  I’m not any sort of research expert in the slightest. But I think its safe to say that shame is something we all want to talk about. So I’m gonna keep talking.

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Episode 12: The Art of Creation

I couldn’t sleep last night. Yes, one factor was the venti iced coffe that I pounded way too late in the day (I blame the longer hours of sunlight and the friend who brought me the coffee, but hey that’s life). The other factor was a natural buzz. The kind that keeps you up at night, riding the high of anticipation of whats to come! I was daydreaming, but at night. A process which, for anyone who has tried it, does not easily transfer to “night dreaming, ” instead it just keeps you awake all night long. But I’m not complaining. The buzz was a natural response to the things I’m beginning to see unfold in my life. The buzz (while somewhat due to caffeine) was my body’s response to the excitement that is currently bustling around my brain.

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Episode 11: The Hardest Part

A couple of days ago I was sitting around catching up with a group of friends, and someone began to get real about fear. She had been experiencing some abnormal health symptoms, had gone for tests, and now had an upcoming doctors appointment looming over her head. She summarized her fears about hearing her results quite simply, “I just wish I knew whether it was good or bad.”

Almost immediately, another friend nodded her head in agreement and said, “That’s the hardest part though – the unknown.”

Everyone in the circle nodded in agreement.

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