I signed up for a dating app. Something I said I would never do. There are a lot of firsts now. It was sort of the last attempt to feel normal. Like the last stand that said… Hey, why not? Sure I’m just like any other girl! Hey, I’m cool! It doesn’t matter if I have Cancer, that doesn't change a thing! Except it does. The small lies that don’t hurt … until they do.
It’s funny how you begin to SEE yourself, when it can all go away. I have never thought I was so beautiful, I've never been so in love. I have never seen such clarity in my eyes or in my face. I have never caressed my hair with the same touch. My boobs have NEVER been this perfect. And my hips, they are abundantly beautiful.
I AM PERFECT. And what sucks even more about exuding radiance, is that other people can feel it too. They smell it, they see it, and you can no longer hide. Over and over again people tell you, “Gosh, you look gorgeous today”. And all you can do is shake your head and say … if only I knew before, if only I knew.
And now, I sit behind the screen. Shining with a light that once hit the floor; FEARLESS. What does it matter, I’m just a normal girl, this doesn’t change a thing. A casual chat, there is no harm. You can wait until you meet in person….the Cancer thing is really more of a person to person conversation, I guess. And if you don’t make it that far, at least it was FUN! Yes, this is true.
But all the while the foreign device that has been planted opposite your heart stretches against the skin with each short breath. The Port. You think if you don’t breathe as deep, you won’t feel it – that it won’t exist anymore. That it will all be a bad dream, and you will wake up tomorrow whole again, unscathed. Trying to ignore that this device that you willingly had buried within your body, will be the same hand that administers the poison. The poison, YOU will release into your veins. Trying to ignore that you are finally able to embrace the woman who you are, just in time for her to fade away.
No, this isn’t just a conversation you can have over a quick chat, or even over a cup of coffee. Not with a stranger, and not even with a loved one…no, this is a conversation you have to have over and over again with yourSELF:
What you see now, she will no longer exist in 6 months, or ever. I don’t know what is going to be waiting for you on the other side, I don’t know what will be left. But I do know, you will make it. I do know, it will be far from the girl I see today. And I will walk with you each step of the way. I will pick you up. I will keep you intact. You are allowed to rest, because I will fight. You are allowed to let go, because I am holding on. Where there is absence, there will be growth. And that which is not needed, will be transformed.
So, now, that it is real. Inhale. That there is a reminder of each choice I have made. Exhale. A reminder that I can no longer ignore. Inhale. That this flesh is not invincible. Exhale. That this life is not a dream. Inhale. A reminder of the effort it will take for me to be WELL, to STAY WELL. Exhale. A reminder, that in spite of all the vernacular surrounding this disease…this indeed, WILL BE A FIGHT.
This new piece of me, snuggled into my collar bone is my new armor. But not an armor to hide, instead, an armor to guide.
A reminder that I am ALIVE.
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