Trying Hope & Worthiness On For Size

Sometimes I forget I have cancer. Like, hours will go by and I didn’t think about it. Those hours are a liberating while they exist but when I remember, I feel a metaphoric gut punch.

So that’s probably why I’ve been operating in a closed off mindset this past week. I’m not really allowing myself to feel anything about my cancer or my upcoming surgery. I’m on auto-pilot. It’s almost like I’ve settled into this new normal in which I am a person who has cancer. It’s still weird to say, “I have cancer.” It feels a little like cheating because I’m not sick outwardly. I don’t feel like I deserve to go around claiming it when there are people hooked up to chemo, losing their hair, battling fatigue and puking and not being able to work or play with their kids. I know I said we shouldn’t compare our worst things and here I am doing just that. I never said I wasn’t a hypocrite.

The surgery next Wednesday isn’t scaring me like last time probably because it’s a known thing to me now. I know where to go, what to expect, trust the hospital to deliver great care, and understand the process. I wouldn’t say I am looking forward to it but more that I want to move through this next part of surgery and recovery to get to the results part. As much as I am terrified of what the results will be, I have to face it.

But still, I’m having trouble really feeling hopeful. I feel like saying that out loud is a total jinx but it’s my current truth. I learned growing up that hoping just got you hurt. I’m trying to learn that you can hope and still get disappointing news and that doesn’t mean the hoping was hopeless. Does that make sense? Hope is a powerful tool to keep ones spirits afloat. It gives lightness to a heavy thing. It’s important to have, especially when shitty things are happening but the hardest to grasp when you’re in the muck of all the shit. I’m working on this daily though I don’t know if I’ll ever be “good” at it.

Another thing I’m not sure I’ll ever be “good” at is fully grasping that I matter to people just by being me. Take a look at this:

Cards of love and encouragement.

These cards that hang in my meditation room are a constant reminder that people care about me. Each one lifts my spirits and makes me pause to consider how I’ve been living under false assumptions.

In therapy, I work a lot on my sense of self-worth. I’ve operated under the notion that I had to do certain things or behave in particular ways, and hell, even look certain ways (thin) to be worthwhile. I’ve struggle with feeling worthy of love pretty much my entire life. And then the doctor finds some cancer in my cervix and WHAM! I’m flooded with love from friends near and far, friends that I only known through the internet, old friends I haven’t spoken to since elementary or high school who somehow remember me so clearly and so fondly – all which forces me to look at myself in a new way.

Sometimes I feel like Stuart Smalley with my “gosh darn it people like me!” realization. Other times I joke that this must be what attending your own funeral is like. I know it’s morbid but seriously, when else do you get to receive this kind of outpouring of love? It’s bigger and deeper than any birthday celebration.

I’m trying to digest all this. That I do impact people in a positive way. That I do matter to people (some of whom I’ve never met in person). That I am important in this world just by being little old me. I hate that I had to get cervical cancer to learn some of these important life lessons but I’m grateful nonetheless to be able to see myself and the world with new eyes and a more open heart.

I will always have fears, but I need not be my fear, for I have other places within myself from which to speak and act. -Parker J. Palmer

18 thoughts on “Trying Hope & Worthiness On For Size

  1. Sizz….love your writing….always entertaining & thought provoking….I would say that most of us are unaware of what we mean to others, except on a surface level. Nice to know, hard way to find out! You’re doing great!

  2. Once again your blog changed my day. I’ve been sitting here anxious as hell and you write a beautiful post that made me think and in a matter of minutes you’ve lifted MY spirits.

    Your writing, as always, is an inspiration.

    I am going to say the most awesome thing I’ve ever said: YOU GO, GIRL!!!

  3. I think a little bit of our brains are spending time together this morning. I am struggling with some of my own hope and fear issues and you said essentially the same conclusion I had: Love and being loved are part of hope. I think that must be what reassures us that hope is there? I am trying to carry that throughout the day better, and live less in the moments of fear because fear is so uncertain and such a liar. Hope is telling us the truth.
    Okay, I will shut up now. πŸ™‚ I know we are in different situations, but I hope you can see that even through expressing this part of your life, you are giving someone else reassurance.
    Love to you, lady. xo

  4. Sizzle, you ARE worth it, and you have an even larger community of people who care about you than you’re even giving yourself credit for. Don’t feel shamed for having a cancer that seems “less than” another case of cancer. Cancer is hard for anyone, no matter what kind of form it is. The fear and anxiety is part of the process, but I know you’ll get to a place where that will dissipate. Until then, we’re all here for you.

  5. Everybody has their own struggle and typically that is plenty bad enough for them. No need to tally up some supposedly objective measure of awfulness because we can barely ever know about our own life at a given moment on any given day. To think we can know about anybody else’s? Really know? I just don’t think we can. Or at least, not very often.

    At some far reach in your life you may look back on this and realize it was not your lowest point but rather your strongest, the place where you began to appreciate how courageous you can be.

    For now, clear margins-clear margins-clear margins. Waves of love, Ms. Sizzle…waves of love.

  6. This is a beautiful post, Sizzle. Like Emily Dickinson said, “Hope is the thing with feathers…” I think you are in a place with your medical results where you can allow yourself to have some hope.

    I don’t mean this to sound funny, but I really like the way you look. πŸ™‚

  7. Hi Dear: I have LOTS and LOTS and LOTS of Hope for you, so just dip into that great big Bucket-O-Hope I’ve got for you and drink deep.

  8. Here’s what I think about hope (and what I sense you understand, too).

    Hope is not a result, not a happy ending, not an outcome of any kind. It is an attitude, a flavor of faith, a guiding light. Hope doesn’t guarantee anything, but it’s certainly not wasted if things don’t turn out like we “hope.” In fact, hope is probably what sustains us when things don’t turn out the “right” way. In your youth, you connected the dots between “hoping” and “things going bad anyway.” You were too young to connect the dots between “hoping” and “finding the strength to make your way through the bad things” but you see that greater relationship now.

    I have unyielding hope for Siz and Darcy’s future.

  9. it’s so hard for me to reconcile the fact that you have to work on your self-worth or are hesitant to let hope in, because your personality just EXUDES light and love and warmth – how on earth could you not see all that in yourself as well? πŸ˜‰

  10. See, I just don’t understand why you don’t see what we all see – that you are a wonderful, beautiful, caring, loving, smart human being. How can anyone NOT adore you and wish you ALL good things??

    If you are having trouble finding the strength, that’s a-ok. Just know that we all love you and have your back!

  11. Sizz, I’m glad you’re accepting this because you do matter and you are very loved indeed! Glad you have those cards up as a reminder and a pick me up because we all need a little love sometimes. xo

  12. You are good enough, you are smart enough, and doggonit, people like you! (I just realized…The Help totally stole this and reworked it. Hmmm.) Hang in there. Keep your mindset strong. There are a lot of us sending you love and happy thoughts every day!

  13. I’ve had a similar experience as I go through a divorce. Ironic that it took a divorce to remind me how loved I am and how important I am to people. Also, I’ve experienced some guilt when comparing my relatively peaceful divorce to those that others are going through that are much more contentious. Makes me wonder if those two experiences are relatively universal when dealing with major struggles in life.

  14. You have some great insights here. cancer is one of those things that even to those who haven’t had it, they know someone who has. I don’t know that I know anyone who hasn’t been affected in some way.

    I’m pretty sure there’s no right or wrong way to find your way through this other than doin’ whatever you do to get through each day.

    As far as hope, the one thing I’ve experienced in my life that has me hanging on to hope is having been witness to a miracle. My uncle, and Godfather had cancer when I was a teenager. My dad at the time took me in the car because he wanted me to be able to say goodbye. There I was at teh foot fo his bed looking at what was left of my uncle after cancer and treatment for such had it’s way with him turning a baig burly long shoreman into a barely recognizable skeleton.

    I said my goodbyes not sure it made any difference and my dad and I left. Sometime later, we got a call from my cousin, his daughter saying he was gone. We assumed that meant he had passed away but what it actually meant was he was literally gone, missing from his room. Police and family looked everywhere and found him later sitting in his church. He got up out of his hospital bed, which had to be the chore of all chores given the condition I saw him in, found his way to his church, miles away and just sat there and told God that he knew it wan’t his call, but that he needed to stick around for a while longer.

    My uncle was cancer free or more than two decades after that and saw his great grandchildren. This is a real story about my real uncle.

    Good thoughts to you Sizzle!

  15. I would never have wished this situation on you at all, but I think it’s kind of cool that there’s this unforeseen blessing attached to it. It makes me really happy that you’re feeling so much love and realizing what an incredible person you are – and what an impact you have.

    I can also tell you that the overwhelming feeling of love that surpasses birthday will be ever present on your wedding day. When I walked down the aisle, I felt like I was stepping into a bathtub of love. It was the warmest day, emotionally, I’ve every experienced. You’re going to love it. πŸ™‚

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