I pull up beside an abuelita. She eases out of her seat bone by bone, careful not to catch one on the rest. Taking her time, she shuffles into the isle, so I can pass. I shimmy in, and carefully tuck my reusable shopping bag under the seat. I gaze over, to see its doppelganger at her feet. We shift around and settle into space.
She pulls out an over-sized object; it is encrusted by bubble wrap and inside a pillow case. Behold, she unveils ... her laptop; gingerly kept secure, cherished like the Russian Doll of seat 12A. I look down at my own computer en-capsuled by my colorful shawl.
How is it on a flight to Miami, where there is one of EVERYTHING; from bachlorette to bossman, housewife to hobo chic, tattoos, Dr. Dre Beetz, Dolce and Gabbana, Louis Vuitton, and all in between, that she is my mirror.
Birds of a feather FLY together.
We are the two place holders, the margins that allow the median to exist. Except, she has a cane. And I don’t, my little secret is quietly tucked away...hidden for now. The Russian Doll of seat 12B.
I don't look sick. Because, on paper I am clear. But this doesn't mean the game is over. I could be sick again if I don’t do everything I can to make sure it's not invited back. The Regimen: nutrition, naturopath, chemo, sweatlodge, social worker, psychiatrist, energy worker, therapist, poison, medicine, acupuncture, massage, vitamins and exercise. All in hope that it receives the memo to the chemo party. Attn: All cancer exit stage left! Auditions CLOSED!
I look to the elderly woman by my side. She has lived her life and it shows with age. She has been present for the battles. The cane, a purple heart, a talisman hanging, warranting her to take her time. To be soft. To walk her Truth with ease. A banner that waves. She did not take the easy way out. She forged her way. She is HERE. She isn’t disabled at all, she is EMPOWERED. Because she MADE IT THROUGH!
The difference between her and I, is that we are on two different sides. She carries the wisdom of years. She has lived her life and I have a second shot at mine. This time, I can't run. This time, I can't hide. I can't swipe it under the rug, push it into the corner, or box it on a shelf. No, I can't close my eyes and wish it by. I have to be here, I have to talk about it, I have to say what I could not before. I have to look at all the parts. To become conscious of each choice and SEE why.
Like I said -- cancer, sickness, DIS-EASE is a bi-product of LIFE. Like aging. Except, the difference is you can't SEE it, until you do. I didn’t EXPECT it (Life) to come up so soon . I thought I had time; because time looked like years. I thought I was in my prime; because prime was gauged by a job and a place. I thought I had it all figured out; but figured out was another costume. I thought I was on top, until I was knocked back down to size. Humility. Humanity.
What? Did you think you could be whisked away to the Ball, to dance all night with Prince Charming, while the Step Sisters sit in the bleachers and the dress is on loan?!? Think again Cinderella, you can hop back in your pumpkin because that flight has FLOWN!
The pilot comes over the loud speaker, the forecast has put landing on hold. I panic as the window to catch the next flight is small. I would hate to miss the next plane. Hey! I will wish my way to clear skies! I am devoted! Look at me try! I will travel through and smooth out the clouds! I will tell this storm to quiet down. I have got it under CONTROL. Yes, perfect! Problem solved!
Spirit, please forgive me. As I see the ere in my way. I see the shadow in my sky. Please take my hand, and guide this flight. Please keep this path clear and I ask that all portals be smoothly navigated. Please keep hold when turbulence is near. Help me to find silence, so your words, I can hear. Please keep me strong in sobriety so that I can see with clarity. Please keep this path illuminated and mark the feet as I follow the foot prints. I hear that the schedule has changed. And that is OK, for I have Faith. I hear you now. And I ask for your forgiveness. Please forgive me for ever thinking I could move this storm on my own. I feel you, I hear you, I see you. And so it is, and so it always will be.
You may unfasten your seat belts, the DETOUR has led us to our DESTINATION.
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