Sunday, December 18, 2016

On Gratitude and the Gifts of This Cancer

I know it has been a while since I posted. Part of that was simply recovery and exhaustion. Part of it was struggling to find the words I needed to explain myself coherently. I am pretty sure I am still without the right words, but I am going to give it a shot.

Glennon Doyle Melton author of Love Warrior, founder of and
has become a hero to me of late. I have been binging her videos and stalking her website for several reasons. She is all about love. She speaks the language of loving each other. The language of love always winning. That is my language. That is the language which I aspire always to speak. She emphasizes the importance of facing our fears, showing up, being honest, and loving the awkward messiness of being human. She also happens to be the love of my beloved Abby Wambach, soccer's G.O.A.T., and author of her own amazing book, Forward: A Memoir.

I have been hiding behind my fear of saying the wrong thing. My fear of falling apart in front of you, when I have spent so much time focused on finding and showing the positive. I am Still and Always focused on finding the positive, but I need you to know that I feel tremendous fear, and I feel shame for  feeling fear, weakness, and sometimes for being weak. I feel sadness for all of the time in my pre-cancer life that I took for granted, even though I told myself I was living every moment, and I feel fear that none of this will make a difference when I want so desperately to do something bigger than myself with this whole damned experience.

I am rewatching The Hunger Games series this weekend, and was particularly struck by one of the lines, "The only thing stronger than fear is hope." I have hope that by talking about my fears, and yours, together we can all overcome them.

To that end, I am coming out of my fear closet. I am afraid, on some level, every waking moment of my life. I am afraid that the cancer will come back to kill me. I am afraid that cancer, illness, accident, or violence will come to take someone that I love. I am afraid of all of the things I cannot control. I am afraid that I will go back to existing without really living. I am afraid that I will go back to work full time in January and suck at my job. I am afraid I will let down the people who believe in me. I am afraid for my students, afraid that I won't be there to help them through the pain and difficulty that they will inevitably face in their lives. I am afraid of heights. I am afraid of crowds. I am afraid of going to parties where I don't know everyone. I am afraid of speaking in front of people, but if given a script, I can do anything on stage. Isn't that funny? I am okay being anyone else on stage, but I am terrified to be just me. I have been afraid to show you all of my fear and vulnerability, but fear does not get to win. Fear Does Not Get To Win. Hope Wins. Love Wins.

This video is as real and raw as am today. I will use my words to overcome my fears, and if you let me, I'll try to help you overcome your fears, as well. Together we can raise each other up out of the darkness of fear and despair, and into the light of love and hope.

Gloves up, my loves.