Wednesday, February 4, 2015

How Dare I?

Hmm. Where to begin this post? I actually just re-read one of the posts in the images below, and saw something I did not originally see. I had said previously that it was likely that no one who jumped on my posts had an intimate relationship with cancer like I did, with the exception of the woman whose husband was dealing with cancer. I was wrong, and I was right.

I say this because it seems to me that each person who deals with cancer has their own experience with it. There is no "one-sized fits all" experience that a person comes into with a diagnosis. Different cancers have different effects on the body. There are different surgeries and different treatments, and different treatments affect different people differently. And that is "just" the medical side of things.

A person who has a husband or a supportive family and/or friends is going to have a different experience than someone who does not. A person is not going to beg for help unless they have run out of options. A person who doesn't beg likely has some means of support to help them without ever having to ask for additional help. My guess is that the woman below who mentions she is dealing with breast cancer has very different circumstances than I do.

There are so many things that went "wrong" with this thread. My intention was to awaken awareness, and encourage a conversation. The first response was quite supportive. The second, a bit confusing, and it just went downward from there. It got to the point that I felt there was a bandwagon that people were jumping on, and it no longer seemed that there was a helpful reason to keep the comment up, so I deleted it.

I thought about it before I did the deletion, and wondered if somehow the deletion meant they "won." I almost imagined some in celebratory poses, if they noticed it was removed. 

The thing is I felt from my first post it might not quite have "fit." However, it was a Facebook thread, and I was discussing the man from Michigan, in a greater context. I felt like I was attempting to expand the picture and conversation. I was seeking an AND conversation. However, it seemed to be a theme of those who posted to tell me it was HIS story. How DARE I say the things I said. 

Had it been his wall, had he posted it, would I have said what I did? In all likelihood, no. I was on a public forum, and I had no idea that there was only one type of response that seemed to be allowed - a cheerleading one. Everyone seemed to be defending a man that I wasn't even attacking.

The point of the thread went so far astray, and I tried to bring it back closer to where I had intended, but others weren't having it. I don't think I took it astray, but I know there will be those who would most certainly disagree. If you read what most wrote, the blame for their idea of what I meant, and where the posts went were most assuredly my fault, as I wasn't seeming to get just how jealous and apparently ridiculous I was being.

I decided to do screen shots of the postings, as I thought I might share them at some point. I am not sure that I thought this point would be as soon as this one, or that it would even be in this way. However, it feels, like many things, to be important to raise this subject. I hate it, in a way, as it feels like I am raising a bull's eye in front of me, encouraging others to take their shots.

I am actually grateful for those who have raised the "jealousy" conversation with me previously, as it has made me look. Am I jealous? Could I be missing something? Could it be unconscious? The fact is that I have come to truly look at it, and have determined that the answer is no, and not just a small one, a BIG FAT NO.

Would I love the kind of help that he has gotten? It would be crazy for me to say no. It would also be dishonest. Of course I would. Who wouldn't?

But just because I would like and appreciate it, and just because I raise the topic, it does not mean that I am jealous. In thinking about this, I thought about how my original post would have sounded, had I been talking about someone else who was dealing with what I am dealing with. It has a different feel, and somehow I wonder if it would have been met with a different reaction. I have said countless times that I feel that what I said comes off in a biased way because I am in the midst of it.

Today someone pointed out a Bible verse to me about how Jesus said something about people having eyes to see, and ears to hear. In other words, a person has to be in a certain place and mindset to be able to hear and experience something. If you're not in "that" place, whatever that place may be, you're not going to hear or experience anything other than what you want to/expect to experience.

I don't really understand why I am demonized for my experience. There are some who would disagree about that statement. They would say it was all my doing, and my perspective that has that be my reality. I am not going to deny that I have a role in my experience, however, after dealing with things for almost 3 years now I have been shown that what I believe is true for the experiences others have with cancer - and myself - are not so far off from what I say they are. And I am NOT saying it is true for everyone dealing with cancer (see above), just that there are others with similar issues to myself, and that my experience is not as unique as some may think it is.

For the most part I try to respect where people are in relation to their beliefs. I just wish I could have some of that back a bit more often. I realize that I rub people the wrong way by being so open and honest and direct and passionate about things that aren't normally expressed in such a way. It isn't my intention, exactly, to upset people. At the same time, my experience is my experience, and many times it is negated by those who just don't want to hear about it. 

Well. I'd rather not hear about it, either. Unfortunately I don't have a choice, though. I don't have a choice, in part, because I desperately need people to understand what I am dealing with, hopeful that if they do, they will actually see a reason to help, and think me deserving enough. 

I also don't have a choice because when things like this happen, it makes me more than ever want to speak up for those who don't feel they can. I always say I am not the only one, and I am not. There are likely many more than you realize. But you'll never know to what extent there are those dealing with stuff if no one ever says anything.

I have been very uncomfortable stepping out this way. VERY. It is not a place I ever would have seen myself in before cancer showed up. I have been quite happy to blend into the background much of my life. But the thing is that the more I step into who and how I am, despite what people say and do and believe, the harder it becomes for me to even remotely consider turning back.

Ironically, I know, from speaking to many over the years as a coach and hypnotist, that many people want what I have in regard to speaking my mind. We all want to be ourselves, and many find it next to impossible to be who they are, finding quite justifiable reasons to hold themselves back.

This is not said as a judgment, but rather as an observation from someone who used to be "there." When I was there, it all made perfect sense. It made sense not to upset the cart, and instead let the upset live inside of me. 

It is amazing to me the difference that cancer has made in my life. When you realize that the clock really is ticking, and your time may run out sooner than you hoped or thought, it has a way of affecting everything in your life. Or, at least, it can. It tends to shatter many things you thought and believed, if you are willing to pay attention.

People like the Vows of Silence we take. They like it when we don't question things. They like it when we let things slide. They like it because that means at some point we may be able to be the one who doesn't get questioned. Letting others off the hook often means we get off the hook, too.

I have often said if something works, it works. So I am not going to tell you it doesn't work. I am not going to tell you to change it. But what I am going to say is that I am not sure it works as well as we think it does, and that there is a hefty cost attached to it. That is *my* thinking, though, and your mileage may vary.

As far as the posts go? I am sharing them with avatars and names blanked out. The images could have been cropped better, but I don't really have the time to do it. I think you will be able to get the gist, though. 

I share because I want to be open about my experience. I want people to see what happens in regard to me and my situation. Some will think me jealous and definitely agree with many of the posters. Some will think me stupid for showing my perceived ignorance/denial. There will be many glowing thoughts about this; I am sure.

All we ever have is what we have in the moment. And in this moment I know my heart and my intention about this, and if others are not able to see it, or do not care to see it, well, so be it. It is the stuff of life. It happens all the time. The world is full of stuff like this, and it creates life-endangering conflicts and differences of opinion. Thankfully this isn't one of those more extreme moments and that the life and death conversation is more an internal one, as my life very much feels like it depends on me speaking my truth.

We are all just doing the best we can at any given moment. And at those moments, there are others doing the best they can, too, and it will be at odds with our best.  The most I can hope for in sharing this is that a conversation is stirred up that might encourage some thinking about how things are for others outside of one's own sphere of life experience.

If you want to have a conversation about this with me, great. Feel free to ask questions, or ask me to clarify something. I stopped adding to the conversation when it was apparent it wasn't one, and those posting didn't seem to be interested in what I was expressing. As a result there were things that I did not address, despite wanting to.

I am at the point now that I see that no matter what I say or what I do, there will always be people I will be damned with. I will just never be able to win. I just wish there didn't seem to be so many of "you." I hate to say it, but I really think there are those who just wish I would go away.

My heart is in the right place, and you would know that if you gave me a chance, instead of thinking that you know who I am based on one sliver of information, and whatever it is that you read into it.

Perhaps this will provide a view into a perspective you didn't even know existed. Perhaps it will have you consider being kinder to someone in need. 

Perhaps it will just justify everything you believe about someone like me.

If you have gotten this far, I hope it offers you something helpful.

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