I guide my mom to a parking spot, and we walk out to Access 40. She remarks, “Hah, funny I never come down to this part of the beach”.
Hah funny, this is where we grew up….
This was our problem solving spot. No matter what was going on we would drop everything for each other, jump in the car, make the rounds, and head to the conference room. This was the spot where we could let it all spill over. The spot where we cried, where we cursed to the sky, where we laughed till our bodies were sore, where we gazed speechless over the grandedness of the ocean.
Nothing else mattered. We had each other, and we knew it would be alright. We had something to anchor to, through breakups, rough spots, boys, divorce(s), cancer(s), death(s)….you name it; the sea saw it all. She held it, while we held each other tight. The footprints left in the sand felt a little lighter on those nights. It always ended with gratitude: for our friendship, for our ocean, for our home, for release.
“What do you need to solve tonight?”
Absolutely nothing. I just need to come and be. I need to feel her breathe, I just need a moment that will fill me.
I need to feel life coursing through my veins. Prana.
We sit silent in the hollow of the night. Only the stars and the bouies mark the difference between sky and sea. Beacons, signaling the line.
No limits, no rules. How liberating, and how scary.
It seems that there is no more planning, just perfectly timed conversations and series of events. There is nothing more to distract with…my planner is empty, my computer dead, my mailbox vacant. No more tasks, just time. Time to sit, time to feel, time to think. Time to make friends with myself again; the task I have kept at the bottom of the list.
Now, to observe the highs and lows of the process. You never know what you’re going to get; the treasure or the tyrant. Here! Take the keys, I am just along for the ride. She sticks her head out the window and melts into the breeze. Delighted by the turn of the leaves. Lives at EASE.
I thank the miracles and honor the troughs; I hold on at each bend because I know there is another side, no matter how much it hurts, just hold on. Eyes glued to the horizon, find the beacon, the light as your guide.
The days can fly or they can drag; a second equals a minute, that equals a meter, that equals a millennium. Time holds you captive to “the plan”. There are no more limits, there are no more rules, there is no more plan.
Enjoy. Live. Simply. Release.
I close my eyes, I breathe in the semi sweet, semi salty air of the cool porch night. The moon beams overhead. I lay my head back, kick my feet up, and let go.
It feels like it will not end…the touch and go. I almost made it through half way, but there is also another half to know. It doesn’t feel like a success point, or a resting point. It feels daunting. It feels too big. It feels unbearable. The last one took me out. Humbled me. Reminded me of the poison pumping through my veins. My body throbbing in a pain too deep to explain. I can feel my organs going into overdrive. I gaze in the mirror, the muscles retreat. What is left, is soft and lumpy, hanging off the bone.
Almost overnight my body morphed into something foreign. The outside beginning to match the sickness. Reality coming into sight. And a fear creeps over me. A fear that time will stop. The fear reassured by what feels like deterioration. Not now. Too soon. I am sad, I am ANGRY. I feel like something has been STOLEN from me; my youth, my maiden AND my motherhood, my fertility, my cycles. That which is SACRED to me, that which I have longed to feel and embody; that which aligns and connects me. The blood that is my RIGHT, the blood that anchors my fight.
And the moon still smiles. Holding the light in the night sky.
Swiped by circumstance, stolen time. There are no backsies. But that is life. Life is NOTHING like I thought it would be. Life is REVEALING itself TO me; despite the constructs of my mind, of my projections.
Is this even REAL?
Real is that I have NO CONTROL, real is that the ledge is a scary place to teeter on, real is looking into the unknown, real is not a time-line, real is shaky, the real is…NOW.
My heart tells me not to be afraid, because living in fear only breeds fear. My heart says, “you will be fine”, my heart says “you can do the hard things”, and my heart says “you are STRONG”.
I trust my heart. Im not sick…I am healing. It is a process, that has layers; each building on the next. Each door waiting to be unlocked by the hidden key, a level up.
This life contains a menagerie of cycles and patterns. They are here to be SEEN. I am the scientist and the experiment. I am the exhibitionist. I am the student and the teacher. The classroom — in front of my eyes.
As I flip through my journal skimming the pages, my eyes fall on these words written weeks ago. The words that were tucked away until TIME was right.
“Today, I stood, proud of myself. Proud of the woman I have become. Strong to my core. With the ability to shift and to flow. To give myself what I NEED. To listen to my body, to know when I need a place to rest. To know that I don’t have to PUSH IT to the max to prove anything to anyone else. I felt a strength surge through my being. There was no effort to convey. I feel absolutely beautiful, even bald. I feel so confident in the two feet I am standing on. I hope this vulnerability can translate to a soft strength. A key, a peep hole. To encourage other women to be raw. To be REAL. Not to hide.
I am not perfect. And that is perfect. I stand here in the buff. Baring it all, and none of it is perfectly designed. It is messy. It is a process. It is work. I stand here holding on to this moment of pure strength so that I can remember what it feels like when I am fighting in the depths. These moments bring light into the darkness that moves in waves through the days and nights. They spiral together. They dance. They are one in the same.”
Goodnight MOON, you have my HEART, my CYCLES are yours now.
I was getting ready to go out the other night, I looked in the mirror, checking to see if everything was “in place” — best foot forward. I grabbed the tweezers and began plucking away. The yelps ensued, “TRAITOR, TRAITOR, TRAITOR!” they accused.
I stopped, shamefully; reminded that WE (the brows and I) have a pep talk, joined by the eyelashes every morning, “YOU HANG IN THERE! We’re in this TOGETHER!”. I felt like I was failing them. I concede. Yes, any place on the face is the “right” place, I guess; live where you please.
The air hurts my skin, the blanket swallows me whole. There is no in between, one second I am freezing, the next it’s as if Satan has grabbed hold of my bones and is blowing fire from top to toe. Hot flashes are officially UNDER ADVOCATED for, it is HELL ON EARTH.
Nothing seems to be JUST right, there is a constant fluctuation. The true test of stability….can you ride the tide?
Today, I head into my third treatment. The wave of panic promptly started last night, and was expelled by 10:30 this morning. Not bad my friend, not bad…every time learning.
I can smell them coming when order grabs the reins of my domain. Aligning, touching repeatedly; needing everything to FIND ITS PLACE. Then the mania. One hundred and sixty miles a minute, the winds whirl. Within the mania, the blackness, blank space; the vast nothingness in my brain. Then the exhaustion from the storm, my eyes can not focus, disconnection from the body. Wanting to take leave.
I went to get my port accessed, and realize I forgot the numbing cream. One of those hints they HINT TO in all the blogs, but you don’t understand the validity until it’s your reality! The sheer penetration of needle to skin sends shudders through my body and tears emerge. The nurse try to comfort. And I try to explain, it’s not the pain. These dew drops are the icing on the cake, they just need to escape.
The cherry? The NOTEBOOK, or lack thereof. I travel with baggage, to be exact — three totes, at least. Within those totes are smaller bags to compartmentalize it all. My world, my thoughts, my creation.
Somewhere resides the list below:
an old journal (to be transcribed)
a new journal
a medical journal
a food/medicine journal
a daily calendar
an additional quick look monthly calendar
a medical notebook (seperate from medical journal)
a business notebook (also separate from business journal -- that is the flip side of medical journal)
Each holds different materials and ideas. Also, there are different pens to write in different journals, but no need to bother you with my TOTAL neurosis.
On this day GOD FORBID the medical journal has escaped. LITERALLY the ONLY DAY that he is needed, when he gets his moment to shine. That jerk called in sick to the doctors’ appointment. Oh what a luxury, the balls on THAT guy…
That was it. The moment of sheer panic. The small scale of the bigger theme at hand. I lost a piece of me in the structure that I felt held all in place. Keeping order. The escapee mocking my failure to CONTROL.
Not an easy task, my heart peels back as I extract a sheet of loose leaf paper from a binder. I grit my teeth as I find the pen to do the deed. I coach myself through the steps that will come next. You will go to the appointment, you will meet with Dr. P, you will write your questions on this sheet, you will write the answers below. Then you will put it directly in the Waiting File (an actual file that holds the papers waiting to be worked on, and receive a gold star when complete) then, you will transfer it to its home.
Whew life becomes bearable again. There is a solution. There is a form. There is a way. Now I can navigate. I can breathe.
I feel the exhaustion in my body, the energy it takes to call myself back to act. To rationalize. I place both feet on the ground and feel my rib cage expand. I place my hands on my thighs and feel the breath puddle into my pelvic bowl. Gently filling my belly, massaging my sacrum and organs inside.
I close my eyes and look a dentro, where I find the little fear child. Actually, I catch her by the hem of her dress as scurries away. My darling, wait! I need you here. Come sit, and watch. I will hold your hand. We will do this together and then you will understand. There is nothing to be afraid of, we can do scary things….but we don’t have to be scared.
I have spent years on the search for what it means to be FEMALE, for what it means to THRIVE, for what it means to be ALIVE. This path has lead me all over the world, drawn to women and their children, to communities, to SPIRIT, and ultimately BACK to MYSELF. Here I will share my most recent adventure, navigating a diagnosis of triple positive BREAST CANCER and each step of the way I figure out how to be a little more ME. I am Catherine-Ayer Gresham a 30 year old woman