The moment everything stops and there is just enough space for the thought to come in….you have cancer. Hahahahaha. What is life? You can only laugh, because you can’t cry. What is this life? Haha. No matter how much research/preparation you do, it will not change the truth. Ha. You. Have. Cancer.
Jesus take the wheel…it’s real.
Allergy attack, panic attack; who knows what is moving through. You can’t breathe. There is no space to even take a sip. You are standing still, yet crumbling. The mind reels. You have left your base, a place you have built to secure yourself, to anchor your life. To make sure your feet meet the Earth. Yet, the body speaks the TRUTH that the mind ignores.
Chicken little, your world comes crashing down. You go over in your head, the words you have heard a thousdand times, “be strong”, “you got this”, “you’re the strongest person I know”. But, why do they feel so empty? What do they mean? Not able to grasp the weight of these words until it is coursing through your veins. Not knowing what you will encounter…until you do.
Coddle. Soothe. Give self a hug. Hold her hand.
There, there my dear. I am right here.
There is always the moment when you feel crushingly alone, and there is no one there to hold your hand. It is in that moment that the fierceness arises. When the STRENGTH comes rushing in, and watch as she penetrates the surface. Durga, swinging her hips, riding high on her tiger. Kali, stepping on the skulls, frothing from the corners of her mouth as she climbs her way to the top. Thrashing, gnashing; blood, sweat and smiles.
Then look back, and there is a file in line behind. You feel the hands at your spine. You will not fall.
The support is real. To feel ALL who are holding you. I can feel each hand at my back when I am alone. I can feel each prayer vibrating through my cells. I can feel the magik. When the days are easy, weaving from one thing to the next; I can feel it. When the days are hard, and I am sitting at the bottom of the rabbit hole that is the internet (trust me, don’t GOOGLE it!); I can feel it. Whatever is to come, whatever is to be; I know I will FEEL the support and not just the words.
Yes, life is crazy sometimes. It circles in a BLUR. The reality in front of your eyes is a lie. One minute in the trench, and the next in the sky. As the pendulum swings heavy, you do your best to ride each side. Like a rubber elastic being pulled back, brace yourself. Hold on to the idea that equilibrium will one day be a possibility. These heightened states make each moment more visceral. Make you aware that life is happening now. Hold on.
The truth is, this strength is already real, and it is working silently. For example, when you tell people you have cancer, (I’ve gotten so good at it now, the best place to practice is on a plane) you have to be decided. You have to be so strong in yourself, so anchored to your core; because most often it will not be your own fears to face, but theirs’. Take one for the team. A mirror reminding you that you are holding a space where no one wants to be. Unless they have been there, then you hang on to every word, taking notes of the path that lies ahead.
I was preparing to enter an Inipi (a sweat lodge) and I asked a woman to help me cover my incisions. She looked down to my breast and nodded her head, “You’re going to be OK.” My ears perked, my body told me to listen. She continued. She pulled down her shirt to show her scar. There was silence and joy and relief and grief all sitting there between. There she stood, 16 years clean. “It will be hard….cut your hair first, it will hurt less…take your time….get some weed….you’ll be fine.” The details of this encounter, too special to release. But those words were filled with faith. Their meaning, priceless and their strength, implied.
The most cherished words of this journey, a message received….”you will be FINE.”
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