When I said at the end of my last post, that I don’t want anything else, I didn’t mean I don’t have desires or dreams or ideas for more.
Sometimes, I feel as though there isn’t more, will never be more, and so I have come to accept it… in a way…
Desiring more, and going after it, means one has to feel as though they deserve what they desire and work towards achieving. That word “DESERVE” is a word which can contain so, so very much more than anyone beyond ourselves can truly understand when they try to convince someone that they ‘deserve’ something, no matter what it is. If a person does not feel worthy, then a wall is created which blocks one from feeling as though they ‘deserve’ anything. Thus the challenge is presented to one’s self of finding a way towards feeling worthy.
This is my dilemma. I have known this all of my life.
I once heard a friend say the hardest thing for her to do was to forgive. I commiserate with her. I can and do forgive others, and can reason out ‘why’ they may do or say things that hurt but when it comes to myself, I am the worst critic and the last one to forgive. Even after I forgive myself, I wonder if I really have, for I find my critical thoughts returning again and again. How do you know for sure if you have actually forgiven someone or yourself?
I can explain away many of my decisions in life. I can and do understand why I made them at the time and why now those decisions are not what I would make if I were to make them now. I know this comes from learning from my past experiences but knowing this doesn’t mean I forgive myself of the choices and consequences.
The most amazing thing is, I have this life, regardless of my mistakes of the past, regardless of whether I have forgiven myself, or others, regardless of whether I feel I am worthy of it. I should feel grateful but instead I find myself looking back over the years and instead of seeing what I have accomplished, I see all the things I missed out on. I see decisions I made which took me down so many different paths which brought me to where I am today, while at the same time I can clearly see how certain decisions if made differently could have led me to a completely different life. Would it have been more satisfying? Would I have felt worthy of it? Or would I feel as I do today and not appreciate what I have? I will never know the answers to those questions because it isn’t my life. My life is what I have now and appreciating it is what I need to learn to do.
When someone does not show appreciation for what another person does for one, we disrespect them and who they are. Why is it I disrespect myself every day of my life, by not appreciating what it is I do for me? The root of my problem is I don’t respect myself. I don’t see the value I bring to my life for me. I can see what I do for my daughter and yet even in that I question if what I am doing is really what is best for her. And I allow myself to focus on that instead of on me.
It may seem selfish to say such a thing. We are taught, or at least, I was taught, to be considerate of other people and their feelings and yet never as a child was I taught to be considerate of my own feelings. I was taught how to act, what to wear, and how to decide what choices were proper or not, but not because it was right for me but because it was right for others. I was taught being selfish is wrong and being selfless was something to aspire to. What no one ever taught me was it is not selfish to attend to your own needs and feelings. It was assumed this was selfish or rather I was taught it was selfish to do so.
How does this equate to what I said at the beginning of this post? I believe this is the crux of my problem. Out of desperation I let doctor/surgeons/oncologists mutilate my body, something I have to look at every single day. I don’t see it as a war wound against cancer. I see it as a desperate act of a desperate person who doesn’t feel she deserves to survive, that cancer was a punishment and not just something that happened to her.
I am so good at projecting myself as someone strong, smart and self-assured, that even the family counselors bought my story and told me I was being realistic and honest with myself. Deep down I denied my feelings of feeling fake, while on the surface I was so proud of myself for being right that I could solve my problems without the help of a counselor. Not once did they ever ask me if I forgave myself or accepted that cancer was and is just something that happens to us.
A friend of mine has expressed a question a couple of times, as to why it is she and I have had cancer when we live such healthy lives. I try to tell her there is no rhyme or reason, there is no reason why one person’s body allows cancer to take hold while another person’s body doesn’t, whether they live a healthy active life or don’t. I don’t tell her how I think cancer is an emotional disease and the reason it took hold in me was because of all the anger and hate I feel inside. I deny that hate and anger is directed at myself and pretend it is directed at certain individuals in my life, but in truth it is at myself.
When I look at the mutilation of my body. When I feel pain where there should be only numbness, it allows me for a split second to hate myself before instinct takes over and directs it elsewhere, towards the doctors and nurses who convinced me to do this to myself. I deny that I was desperate to escape punishment for my crimes against myself. And in doing so, I am committing the most heinous crime of them all. I am imprisoning others for my own crime.
It has been a year since I did the only thing I knew I could do which was to stop all treatments. In some ways I thought I might be committing myself to a death sentence. In other ways, I hoped I wasn’t. I told myself I could live a long and healthy life because they, the doctors, had no way of telling if there was any cancer in my body. When in fact we all have the potential for cancer it is just whether it will find a weakness and utilize it to take root.
I need to change. I have no idea how to make that change. I need to stop being disrespectful to who I am and what I am. I need to know who she really is and embrace her flaws and all. I need to believe my daughter when she tells me I’m pretty or beautiful because in her eyes I am but in my own eyes, all I see is ugly. As long as I believe that, then that is what others will see too no matter how many masks I wear.
I have been working on various projects and in doing so of late, I have begun to wonder if I am using them to hide behind, to keep my mind occupied from hearing these thoughts I have only just now dared to write down. Usually, I would only put them in my private journal because then I could close it and pretend I never had those thoughts. Today, I don’t know why, maybe with another year ending, and a year after my last chemo treatment, I am ready to face the truth and putting it out here is my way of no longer hiding.
I used to think my level of happiness was determined by those around me who loved and cared for me. But then I find myself throughout my life constantly faced with the fact that I have always been the lone ranger. I have friends but I could probably count the number of hours I have spent with them on my hands and feet. I always found a reason to blame them for that, they had a boyfriend or girlfriend or were married and had families and therefore they had no time for a single person hanging out in their lives. I need to face the facts and admit to myself, I am the reason, not them, not anyone else. Just me.
Will that change? Do I want it to change?
Those are the questions, aren’t they?
What will this New Year be for me? Will I learn to respect myself? Love myself? Feel worthy of what life has brought me and will bring into my life? Or will I continue to run and hide?
When I sat down to write this post, I had no idea it would take my thoughts in the direction it has. This happens quite frequently when I write. Obviously, this past year and a half has had an impact I may only be seeing the tip of. Like an iceberg there is so much more under the surface even I can’t see right now. As I told my doctors when I was diagnosed with cancer… I don’t want platitudes… In fact, I would prefer it if people didn’t say anything because right now, I’m not sure I would believe what anyone says. I have to first believe in myself before any good intentions from others can be heart felt and accepted with open arms. And… I don’t want to disrespect anyone and their good intentions.
I feel as though over the past couple of years I have been traveling down a very dark tunnel on a self-destructive path. Some things I am not proud of, and others I waver back and forth between as though I were balancing on a tightrope. I am hoping in time, I’ll be able to find real forgiveness within myself. In the meantime, my projects help me stay connected, and are very representative of me moving forward and facing what challenges lie ahead. To anyone reading this, thank you for reading. For anyone wanting to post a reply, thank you for the desire to do so but please don’t. For those who have been silent followers, thank you too. Everyone’s support is appreciated.
Take care and may the new year be all you want it to be and more.