Monday, January 6, 2014

{Monday Inspiration} Lesson Learned

The past year was a crazy one, there's no denying that. I found myself fighting battles I never even dreamed about and in spite of it all I managed to not only survive 2013, but accomplish some really wonderful things. Being diagnosed with breast cancer and then managing treatment, the emotions, and just life was more than I could handle sometimes. If I was complaining about juggling work and a social life before, this year turned made that struggle sound like a vacation. I was constantly exhausted and still, a year later, haven't fully recovered from surgery and radiation. Sharp shooting pains and sensitivity still occur and my medication gives me hot flashes that makes it hard to get a good night's rest.

I could have driven myself into a hole, but I had a life to continue living. It's funny, I handled cancer so much more calmly than I handled my breakup with Mr. First nearly six years ago. Maybe you do learn a thing or two as you grow older. Maybe I realized how silly it was to spend so much energy focusing on what went wrong rather than throw my hands up and reach for the next rung.

In the beginning, I was dead set against crediting my cancer to any good in my life. I didn't want to justify it or have anyone calling it a "blessing in disguise." I was too stubborn to let it change me even if it would be for my own good. In fact, a part of me would deliberately refuse to make changes (say to my diet, fitness, stress levels, etc.) just so that no one could say that cancer made my life better. Cancer sucks through and through, but it did turn out to be a giant lesson for me. I might have accomplished the things I did regardless of what my health was this past year, but the fact that I did the things I did while fighting cancer just proved that I can handle much more than I thought I could. I'm not really the sensitive weakling I keep portraying nor will every bump in the road throw me out of the race. I launched and grew Porcupine Hugs; traveled to the Dominican Republic, Burning Man, Cameroon; confronted the negative relationships in my life; had my income slashed in half just as the medical bills started piling up; struggled financially all year until I landed a new gig; worked on a struggling relationship over and over until we finally learned to live, let go, and love. It's an amazing realization to discover that you have this big capability to thrive in disaster when you've no other choice.

This past year might have been full of tears, but I think I still laughed more than I cried. I experienced some powerful moments, ones made all the more important to me because of the cloud looming over my head. I think it's because of that darkness poking about my life that I relished those rays of light even more. That's something I hope I never forget. And now when someone finds themselves in the same shoes I wore a year ago, my heart hurts in a way it couldn't before because it's a familiar terror.

In the next months, I want to keep carving new paths in my brain, ones that reinforce that I am strong, that I am capable of doing so much, that I don't have to succumb to the fears and the doubts that try to creep into my mind. I want to continue creating joyful moments for others and at the same time be okay with creating them for just myself. I'm important, I'm deserving, and I need to remind myself of that every day until it's no longer met with hesitance.


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