Tuesday, April 22, 2014


A person could be wounded by a knife. It could be because someone else wounded them. It could have been intentional. It could have been an accident. It could have been self-inflicted in some way. Any which way you slice it, it is a wound. The person has been hurt. The fact that the wound occurred at all is likely the most important aspect to the person suffering.

And yet there will be those who will try to tear it apart. They will attempt to assign blame as a way of understanding it and in order to hold a person accountable. Depending on what the picture is perceived to look like when everything is said and done, there may be a greater or lesser amount of sympathy and/or empathy.

But there is still a wound.

I am writing about this because I am finding something very interesting as I go through this journey. I am finding people are resonating with what I am dealing with - even when they are not dealing with cancer themselves.

For some it may be another type of "hidden" physical ailment/illness. For others it might be something else. One person was talking about his emotional wounds that were ignored and discounted by others. Deep wounds, and wounds that had been inflicted over time, and happened a long time ago.

It doesn't seem to matter how we get to a point of discomfort and a lack of compassion or understanding from others, just that we do. We have more in common than most people realize, especially when they're so focused on what is different. If someone can't overlay my situation on to something they're dealing with, they likely will not be able to understand what I am going through, or why I react as I do, or say the things I do. But if they can see the similarities in how what they feel is ignored or denied, it would matter whether we share a diagnosis, or not.

What is interesting to me is that while what I have said is often the case, there are times in which people will go the other way. They will look at my situation and think they know exactly how I feel, and that it is exactly like theirs, when it really isn't. A wound is a wound, but some are superficial, and others go much, much deeper.

As I sit here, I wonder which is more annoying, as I have found myself annoyed at both ends of the spectrum. It really doesn't matter which is, but it didn't stop me from posing the question.

What I do, however, think matters is that if we were to be able to get to the most basic parts of ourselves, we might have better understanding and compassion for others. If we can get past how things seem to be, we can see the "wound" more clearly. Often what all of the other things do is distort what we think we see.

You could easily wear clothing and a bandage over a wound and no one would ever know it was there, unless there was some sign of pain. But even then, it couldn't be too bad, right? You're sitting. You're talking. You're breathing. You're doing. It can't be that bad, at all. So stop complaining, and just get back to the place that held the illusion that things are as OK as they appeared to be.

I often say that what I write about is more about life and living than it is about cancer. The illness just seems to be the filter that I speak through. It is the perspective that I create my conversations around. There are likely to be some people who are so focused on the "c" word, they're likely not to hear another single word I say. They're too busy being afraid or judging what they think they know about me or my situation.

There is nothing more profound for me when another person tells me how they connect to me or my situation. It speaks to me in a way that little else does. It tells me that I am speaking in a way that others can hear. There are many more times it feels like no one hears a dang thing I say.

A wound needs a community to heal. I have no idea of what the actual mechanics of the body are, but if the necessary parts of the body and the cells did not act in a certain way, and in some form of unison, healing would not occur.

It seems to me that there is a metaphor there. It seems to me that we are all the Walking Wounded in one way or another, and when we pull in, cover up, or deny things, we aren't really allowing ourselves to heal. Maybe it is through the sharing of our wound that true healing occurs. The thing is, though, we have a culture that encourages us to do the opposite. There are so many things that are not supposed to be shared. There are so many things that aren't shared, for fear of the stigmas and the resulting ways people will act.

Could it be the reason we are so disconnected and hurting is because we are all trying to act like everything is fine when it's not? If we could let our shields down we would discover how much we really share. It has only been through my willingness to share what I am dealing with that I have learned about the things that others deal with, and hide, too. It connects us on a much deeper level as a result. We can speak to each other in a way that might put others off. We understand each other.

There is so much of my situation that sucks. Immensely. But there are moments in which I am so incredibly grateful for the perspectives I now have because of where cancer has taken me. I would like to think I could have found them some other way, but if that was the case, perhaps I would have.  Through showing you my gaping wounds that I am able to connect with you in a way I never could have while I was trying to pretend that I had it together and all was right with the world.

We think we are somehow better served by being someone we're not than being true to who we are. The problem is that when we don't allow ourselves to be who we are, we are denying ourselves, and creating a wound that we might not see until cancer shows up. It could be that the denial is actually the cancer. We gave it a home by not filling the space within ourselves with who we really are.

I don't say this to say that all cancer is self-inflicted. Maybe none is. It sucks when we are always trying to find someone or something to blame. In a way it makes sense. If you can find it, you can fix it. If you can't find it, then you are victimized by it.

But what if you can't find that thing, or you blame the wrong thing or person? It may temporarily give the illusion that it is better, but it will more likely be a mirage, and will be no where near fixed.

Maybe what I said is more a metaphor to consider than a reality. How much of you is filled with YOU? How much of you is the you others think you should be? How much of you is living in the shadows, afraid to be seen or acknowledged?

Up until a couple of years ago, who I truly was was in hiding. I never really felt like I could be who I was, and say the things I really felt. I always felt off-kilter. I always felt like there was something missing. And despite trying on some level to be who others thought I should be, I failed miserably, and wasn't feeling any more satisfied for the on-going attempts.

It is now a day, or so later...Not sure where I was headed with this. As often is the case, I was just sharing all that was on my mind. So I am just going to leave this where it is, in this unfinished place.

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