“So how’s chemo going?” she asked. “How are you feeling?” I told her the truth. My truth. We all have one. They are the stories we live.
From the start, it was easy to see that around 90% of the people going to this support group are telling themselves all the same story.
It’s comprised of elements of what’s reflected to them from an external world. A world that says, “This is truth.”
The world’s story about [breast] cancer goes like this…
[ intentionally left blank so you can just be with your own thoughts and watch them race by like Malibu Grand Prix drivers in the finishing straight away bearing down on the checkered black & white flag. ]
Thank god the world’s story is not my story.
When I was pregnant with my now 18-year old daughter, I felt like it was a required initiation ritual or something, to listen to each and every other woman who had ever had a child, tell her story about it.
Each personal story filled with… well you know, horror! And terrifying “OMGs!”
Secretly I consoled myself, “Women have done this forever Mynde. It’s built into my nature.” And, always, most certainly, I would smile at each woman to honor whatever was true for her as I repeat in my head, “Not my story.”
This mantra has become my optimystical shield of sorts. Protecting a private sanctuary within. The place inside myself where I tell different stories about my life, about cancer. In fact, I’m not even focused on the cancer as much as I’m focused on where I’m going. Toward wellness.
My truth about chemo was startling to hear. For the other women gathered around, it made them stop and look at me, clearly seeking more information. More clarity. Maybe even questioning what they heard me say…
“Was she kidding?”
“Is she in denial?”
“Is she for real?”
My truth. My reality. My story… are very different from the world’s. From the story they know. Different even from their personal journeys, if we had sat down and compared notes (which is something I refuse to do because it doesn’t support me and my wellness).
“I am wonderful. I feel really good. Thank you for asking!”
I looked directly into a woman’s face I had never seen before. Two of the other women sitting between us I met at last month’s meeting. All three of them were staring at me like I had four henna-crowned bald heads instead of just one. 😉
I let the silence linger as I stared into a pair of sparkling blue eyes peering out at me over the top of her reading glasses. Three chairs away. She’s probably 10 years older than I am. Beautiful, looks physically fit. Her boobs looks nice from what I can see.
“Hi!” I finally say out loud to her, breaking the awkward stillness of everyone’s gazing curiosity.
To tell a new story in our today, in this now moment. Is Power. To realize in your next now moment, the kind of story you’re telling and, if it suits you better, changing it. Is Magic.
Imagination is our super power.
And our imagination, or the stories we tell ourselves, about the way it is and the way that it goes, have power. I talk more about the power of storytelling on my About page.
My truth about chemotherapy is that I am wonderful. There are things I could focus on that would look like a list of complaints but I refuse to go there.
“Wow, you really are so positive” says the first woman who asked the original question.
What are the alternatives? None of them I see so far are better than choosing to be positive. To be optimystical. I choose to see it no other way. It’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it.