Giving IN

Throughout my entire career as a professional cancer fighter I have pushed the limits. I have performed, taught yoga, continued to socialize, exercise, write and be as "normal" as possible. Pushing through exhaustion so that I may have the gift of experience. My perspective on the need for experience is beginning to shift though and I feel as if I'm entering a new phase. Leaving the need to prove that I could live and experience life despite a cancer diagnosis behind, and nuzzling into the comfort of staying home, resting and HEALING. The anxiety of missing my life has begun to ease and I have found myself craving sleep, quiet and some nothing-ness. My mom has been here staying with me and taking care of me-making sure my every need is fulfilled, cooking my food, taking care of my dog and supporting this entire operation. Which has allowed me to give in and let go. Notice I did not say give UP. I said give IN.

Giving IN. It's such an interesting concept, I didn't even know I wasn't giving in. And wait what am I giving into? Allow me to explain.....

When I was diagnosed Stage IV and I started doing my research I made a decision with how I was going to fight this. And like everything else in my life I was going to go balls to the wall, I like a challenge, that's no secret, so this was going to be the biggest challenge of all. And I've taken it on full force, pushing myself to limits that maybe I should have backed away from a bit. I have attempted to live the life of a normal woman in her mid 30s but that's pretty much impossible when I look at what I'm going through. And who wants to be normal anyway? To quote my favorite witchy movie, Practical Magic; "What's so great about being normal anyway? It rather denotes a lack of courage." Normal. What does that even mean? For most people I feel like it means not showing the world your true self. It means putting up a facade and aligning yourself with political parties or sports teams so people know who you ARE. But showing your emotions/pain/hurt/struggles/heart....that's weird, lock that shit up and be NORMAL. Well I am tired and I am certainly tired to trying to be normal. I struggle, I hurt, there is pain, there are tears, there is anger that comes out in ways that I dislike, and there are things that make me look utterly insane. But you know what? That's ok, because that's MY normal. And I've had to come to terms with and give IN to my normal.

Making the choice to give IN to your experience instead of just wanting to give UP is big. Giving in means you stop fighting so hard, which scares the hell out of me. To me it sounded like letting your guard down. And it is-but not in the way you think. Throughout this entire journey one of my biggest anxieties has been trying to stay ahead of this cancer, trying to outsmart it and trick it into going away. And maybe that was my biggest mistake; trying to fool it and send it packing. It is growing inside me after all, I think it's probably privy to my plan. Clearly it's been here to teach me something so I better start learning and paying attention instead of turning away from it and calling it evil because I don't understand it. Humans do this constantly out of fear. I'm not saying we should make best friends with cancer and not have disdain for it, I'm saying that maybe fear shouldn't be the deciding factor. I mean isn't that what's at the root of  racism? Fear (and general assholery) Oh they're different and I don't understand them and they're probably going to try and take what I have so my instinct is to HATE because that's how I'll defend myself. Of course I'm not suggesting you invite cancer to tea or anything I'm just saying my first instinct was to throw a WHOLE BUNCH of fear and hate in it's direction and I'm not sure that's the most productive way to live. Giving IN to it has allowed me to have a sense of calm. Giving in to the lessons I continuously learn along this journey, giving in to the love I am shown by family, friends and complete strangers, giving in to the entire experience. Because honest to God it is a really interesting journey. And if I keep trying to escape the journey then I can't be fully present on it.

Currently I'm giving in in a way that's traditionally been incredibly uncomfortable for me. Staying home, being quiet, sleeping and allowing almost EVERYTHING to be done for me. Usually even if it's happening a part of me is fighting it hard, constantly apologizing, constantly trying to get myself things or do things for myself and not just giving in to letting others do it for me. I am strong damnit, and I can do it myself. Except why is it so bad to have someone who loves you do it for you? I kept fighting it. And what a waste of energy that can be! Have I felt useless? Yup. Have I felt like my value is measured by what I can accomplish in a given day? 100%. Have I had a guy I was dating tell me that I just "had so much more time on my hands" as I'm battling cancer and trying to keep my head above water? (That guy is named Steve and he's a real asshole). YUP! I have put these feelings of worthlessness on myself well before I was ever diagnosed with cancer though, so why would they have changed now? Well they have changed or have started to change and that's because I changed them. I hate when people say-just change the thought and it's changed. It isn't that simple. Feelings of worth and value can be deeply ingrained in us. I have had to work almost every single day to get myself to the point that I'm not crying out of guilt that people donate to me financially. I have been concerned since day 1 about what people would think about the choices I made because opening yourself up and asking for help also opens you up to criticisms in how you decide to accept that help. I've heard people make comments about other people (namely friends talking about another friend) and how they decided to spend the money that was raised for them. As if because people raised money for her because she was sick that she wasn't allowed to experience joy. She should stay home and be doing what other people wanted her to do because they helped her financially.  It's HOGWASH. If people want to support they do so without conditions. One of my favorite things I ever heard, and honestly I can't remember where I first read it but it stuck like GLUE is: "Giving help and expecting something in return isn't help. That's a job." That's the thing with help if you're going to offer it you offer it without conditions. When you're sick and people donate to you then you get to decide what's appropriate for your care. I've been putting this guilt on myself for not working, or being as productive and it's all SO SILLY. If I was watching a friend go through this I would tell her to relax and rest and heal so why shouldn't I be telling myself that? Well I've started to and I gotta say it's working for me right now. I am excited for when it will change but right now I have to live in the present.

That means I was supposed to perform last Wednesday night, and I had to cancel. That means that while amazing friends of mine threw a benefit for me on Friday night I was unable to attend. I was unable to attend my own benefit. Like UGH come on! I slept for about 40 out of 48 hours and ya know that's ok. I cried hysterically last week for what I hope was one of my last guilt cries. I have to accept that I am strong but I am not SuperWoman. I am tough but I am not WonderWoman. I have limits and my body needs rest. Period. The. End. And giving in is part of that. Accepting that I can throw my hands up and not live up to what others' or MY OWN expectations of myself are and just live in the day I'm in. Today could be better, tomorrow could be worse and so on and so forth. And if tomorrow is worse but I planned to go to a party well then I guess it just stinks that that's how it happened doesn't it? Then moving on. I've been called a flake, I know I'm not my most reliable right now. Because I can't be and that just is what it is. But I'm still here and I believe I'm healing and that's the most important part. I can't return to the reliable person I once was if I die. I can't return to my insane levels of productivity and allow that productivity to be rooted in my creativity if I'm not alive. And the only way I stay alive is by RESTING and caring for myself. So I'm here, resting, reading, writing, watching movies, snuggling my dog, drinking celery juice, eating vegetables and HEALING. I'm looking forward to the new year and everything 2019 will bring. Maybe these treatments are going to hold for a while, I'm releasing an album with my bandmate for our band Roses & Cigarettes and I want to play as much music as possible and heal as much as possible.

2019 you better watch out......I'm coming for you....I just may be napping while I do it...

XOXO,

Jenny

Comments

  1. Well said Jenny! You got to do what's best for you!

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  2. Your relationship to Cancer changes as you progress through your journey. These changes are very personal, but also very normal. Thanks for sharing your journey with us. You never know who is reading and how much it may help them with their own journey.

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  3. Dearest Jenny!!! I'm so inspired by you, and I want you to know how many beautiful lessons are in your blog for all of us. Please hug your wonderful mom for me and tell her (as if she doesn't already know) that being able to care for you will be her greatest gift, and that she will always carry that gift for both of you in her heart. I love who you are! I love my memories of you, and I love the courage and hope and "letting go to what will be," part of you, which is the most courageous of all.
    And never forget, miracles are all around you, and you never know what they're up to until they show up! You and your mom are in my heart and in my prayers. I love you always. Blake's mom
    (Annie)

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  4. I'm still laughing over "I'm not suggesting you invite cancer to tea or anything" - bwahahahaha! I absolutely LOVE how you write. Your writing is so colorful and vibrant - thoroughly enjoyable! I know how you feel about giving in. When I was having treatment, it was so hard to let go and be okay with my mom taking care of me... mainly because I felt I should be helping HER out, not the other way around. It wasn't long before I realized I needed to accept her help and support graciously, because not only did it help me, it helped her, too. She didn't want to just sit around and watch me have cancer. She wanted to be there, fighting it alongside me. Also, there is a point where you just need to let go and be okay with being a couch potato. Your job is just to get through all of this, and it doesn't do you any good to pressure yourself to do it with any type of class or style. All of that goes out the window pretty early on. Just take it easy and let the chemo do its job. You are such an inspiration, whether you're horizontal or vertical, so just relish being taken care of and know we all love you!

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  5. Holy crap you are wise! That’s all I got but....I Just read this the other day and now you can say you are living on the plane with the likes of Rumi!
    The Guest House
    This being human is a guest house.
    Every morning a new arrival.
    A joy, a depression, a meanness,
    some momentary awareness comes
    as an unexpected visitor.
    Welcome and entertain them all!
    Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
    who violently sweep your house
    empty of its furniture,
    still, treat each guest honorably.
    He may be clearing you out
    for some new delight.
    The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
    meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.
    Be grateful for whatever comes.
    because each has been sent
    as a guide from beyond.
    — Jellaludin Rumi,

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  6. You're such an amazing and STRONG woman you're giving so many people strength in your words. I just remember our friend Stacie who went through what you are going through she also put that fight up but hope hope she lived they way you just put in words that we all just read. I just want you to know I am thinking about you and praying for God to watch over you if anything give healing to you in anyway possible. I so glad I was able to meet you when you came to Cape Cod and hope I can see you ladies preforming again in person. Hope 2019 is an amazing and blessed year for you and all you will accomplish. Love from me and hope to see you soon.

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  7. Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers affecting women across the globe. Breast cancer happens when the cells of the breasts grow abnormally. Awareness about breast cancer symptoms like a new lump in the breast or armpit, change in the breast size and shape, dimpling, inverted nipple, nipple discharge can help in early diagnosis. Visit breast cancer specialist in Noida for prevention and treatment.

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  8. Love, light, and sing in heaven Jenny. Xo. R.i.p

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  9. Amazing fight young lady! Thank you for all that you've written and for your inner feelings that you shared. RIP sweet girl.

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