Today I was talking to someone about speaking about cancer.
As I am seeking opportunities to speak, I am finding an
interesting array of responses. In this particular case, I
would have to be careful not to be a "downer."
There is a part of me that is reacting to this, and not in the
best way. Given what is being created, I get it. At the same
time, I had someone else tell me today that it was wonderful
that I was willing to speak about my experience - that not
I would never want any of my talks to be a "downer." That
certainly would never be the goal. At the same time, I do
not want to be up and sugar coating things, either. That goes
against the core of what I am looking to create.
It occurs to me that the opening here may be better placed
in a hypnotic conversation with a "by the way I dealt with
cancer" piece. In that way, those who would hear me talk
would get value from the hypnosis conversation and get
value in seeing me living my life.
There is such a dang stigma when it comes to freaking
cancer. It has the potential to come into the room and
scare people off, scare them silent, or put a happy face
on everyone in regard to everything.
People say that the conversation of cancer is not one that
many want to entertain. The "problem" is that cancer will
likely touch most people's lives in one way or another.
Statistics that I heard say 1/2 of all men and 1/3 of all women
will be diagnosed at some point in their lives. That is a whole
freakin' lot of people.
In some ways, I understand. I really do. I was there. At
the same time, I want to help close the gap between thinking
that one has an awareness of an issue and having comfort
with the reality of what it really is. It would have been
a good thing if someone could have done that for me before
I entered the gaping hole that is the disease.
When it comes to
cancer, the gap is so
large you wouldn't
there was one.
There are a lot of people who need help who are avoided
and neglected because society as a whole, and the people
around them, don't have a clue of what to do, or say, or
know how to be.
One day a person that I am looking to address/touch might
be one of them. If that is the case, they will be in a much
better place if they have some awareness and openness and
understanding than if they stay away from the "downer"
that is cancer.
A part of me is really annoyed right now. It is the part that
wishes that people can understand things better without having
to have a first hand experience of them. (I know I am one
of those "people," by the way, but it still doesn't help).
There is a form of discrimination that I face as a result of my
situation and diagnosis, but it isn't labelled as such so many
people have no problem with it. Their avoidance of the
disease has them unaware that there are other problems
attached to it, and since it doesn't personally touch them,
why care or do anything about it?
It is no wonder people dealing with cancer don't want to
talk about it. And when they do, it is only through whispers,
and silent cries.
The one Rotary talk I have done so far was VERY well
received. Those who attended thanked me for my insights
and information. One person told me that it helped her to
better understand how to be with a friend who was newly
I KNOW I have something to offer.
I just have to figure out
how to get past the guards.
One day I really want people to have a whole different
relationship to this thing called cancer. I want the silence
to end and I want cancer to get down off of the pedestal
we put it on.
It does not belong there.
Acknowledging the life sometimes sucks is not a downer,
it is the REALITY of the experience we call HUMAN.
Now if we could just add the "E" at the end of that word,
it might just take off some of the edge that cancer has.
It is way too easy to go through life on autopilot. It is
way too easy to find diversions so we don't have to look
at things. Things like cancer that help us to take a look
at the things that we call important. Things like cancer
can be helpful, but they can also hurt like heck in the
process of getting wherever we are going.
To put a happy face on it is to take away some of its value.
To point to the lessons learned, while slighting the process
of getting there, is to take away something that others can
It is no wonder people have problems with self-helpy stuff.
It is always focused on the fix and making things right and
being optimistic and positive and full of wonderful things.
They do not often talk about the mess that one needs to go
through to get there.
There is a big missing step. No wonder people think they
are doing something wrong. No wonder people have a
hard time. They compare themselves to this self help ideal
that has nothing to do with the reality that life often offers.
There was an expression I heard recently about how we
compare our inside with other people's outsides. It is one
way of looking at things. So many wear a public mask,
and you'd never know what was going on inside. You
would think them successful, happy, and confident. They
may be none of that. And yet you think you can't measure
up. But the fact is, neither can they.
It is quite possibly an illusion.
Many times it is nothing but an illusion and much of life
is spent protecting that illusion at all costs. Heaven forbid
we should talk about the reality of life, especially if it is
something we consider a "downer."
In actuality, the thing we call a downer could be the very
thing that takes us to new heights. But we just have to
go down to get to the heights we need to to get to it.