Don't Get In Line Just Yet...


This was always one of my favorite pictures of Lucy, because she seemed completely oblivious to the fact that she had a monkey on her back! This picture came to my mind when I was thinking about this post! I guess my Lucy will always inspire me!

So, the other day, someone who shall remain nameless, said to me, "I love you to death, but I just don't get it. How, just how, with all of the crap that has been thrown your way are you still smiling? Sometimes, I just wanna smack the crap out of you." Before any of you, my loyal followers and friends get in line, let me explain a few things. And let me also say that the person who made this comment to me is not buried in my back yard...

I am human. I do have bad days just like the rest of you. I know, maybe it does not seem that way to those who are looking in from the outside. But, I swear to you, I do! I get down sometimes and sometimes I scream a little bit, cry, kick things, and curse and then I pretty much move on. I don't really know where it comes from sometimes.

Frankly, it's a bit shocking to me that the hand of cards I'm playing doesn't frustrate the living crap out of me! Because my life, is nothing like it was before cancer. I know my brain is still in there, it's what is holding my head up, but most of the time when I really need it, it is nowhere to be found. As if that is not enough, there's this lymphatic problem brought on by chemo, surgery and radiation. I try not to dwell on it, but I will tell you that there are days when it is so painful I can barely stand it, so I just try to keep busy and occupy my mind (which is a challenge in itself). On top of that, I have not had a good nights sleep in over two years.

If anyone tells you that having your boobs, and all of the muscle and tissue around them, cut off your body isn't going to hurt for a long time, they are yanking your chain and I've got a really amazing ocean in the middle of the United States that I will sell you for a steal...While I've clearly come a long way, there are still a lot of things that I cannot do. If you are thinking, "she probably tries", you would be right. I do. I have a hard time accepting that I can't do something. But, I pay and sometimes quite dearly.

Some days, I have no idea where the smiles come from. Yes, being a boxer mom helps. It's hard not to smile when you are living with clowns that can wiggle so hard they fall over... But, there is more to it than that because even though I've lost my little sunshine, Lucy, I can still find a reason to smile. Actually, as odd as it was, in the moments that I said goodbye to Lucy, touching her head, I smiled.

I can't honestly admit that challenges do not float my boat. God has certainly given me enough of them in the last couple of years, so maybe I just flourish under pressure. But, really? I'm not going to say that isn't a part of it, but if I had to wager a guess, I would say that my smiles are coming from something a little bit deeper than that. Maybe I had it in me all along but it was buried underneath my skewed way of prioritizing my life.

A cancer diagnosis changes you. While I don't look any older on the outside, mentally I've grown up a lot in the last couple of years. I see a lot of things very differently, and emotionally, I am definitely older and I don't think it's a bad thing (unless we are discussing the 98 year old brain in my head and the ridiculous family bags under my eyes... but we aren't!)

First of all, hearing that there is something thriving in your body that is capable of taking you down in a big way is something that I can't even begin to describe. While I've come out on the other side, there is that constant reality that it could come back to haunt me at any given moment. I could also get hit by someone who has no business behind the wheel of the a car walking into Publix to get that wonderful raspberry delight cake, that I love so much, but really do not need.

However, as long as I am here and not being scraped off the pavement at Publix, I'm not going to waste a lot of my time on bullshit! I've got no interest in being judgmental or critical of people's life choices or decisions. (That is not to say that for some brief moment I don't wonder what you were thinking, I am human!) I do have time to listen and be compassionate and try to understand what you're going through, because after all, it's what you did for me. I will be the best doggone friend I can possibly be!

I'm not really interested in letting the grass grow under my feet. Not only do I not particularly like cutting grass, but starting the lawn mower frustrates me just a tad, and unfortunately while cutting grass used to be therapeutic to me, as you might imagine it hurts my chest intensely to push the lawnmower. (It's okay, I can still pull weeds which is a good thing because those evil spawns have taken over my back yard!) While I won't be initiating any corporate take overs that will make the front page of the Wall Street Journal or adding my name to the list of all of the billionaires in the country, I'm doing things. Things that make me smile and things that I enjoy!

Sharing my life, in a seriously public way, has brought me a lot of joy! Not that my life is overly exciting, and People Magazine won't be on my doorstep any time soon, but I know that my words have in some way helped others. That has been a gift in itself. My blog posts take me a lot of time, some of them get worked on for days, some of them fall right onto the page. But, I always speak from the heart, and I'm always honest. And I know, I get myself in a lot of funny predicaments, so there's that...

At some point, I discovered that I have no desire to dabble in the ridiculous. Actually, the need to get the monkey off my back was overwhelming. The conversation with myself went something like this:

Stop wasting time, get your life together as if you are going to be hit by a car in the Publix parking lot tomorrow and live a little, but live the good life. Live with compassion, empathy and most importantly live with joy. Allow yourself to dine on the milk chocolate of life. Love and be loved, allow yourself the potential of getting hurt. Be a good friend, allow yourself to be a part of someone else's world and care passionately about what happens to them! Revel in the little things. Use your God-given talents and abilities to make a difference in the world! 
And for God's sake, woman, sit still....

So, there you have it. I'm not in myself a corporation, but I've got a mission statement that like all other mission statements before it, will be a work in progress. I know you've read this whole post because you too are probably attempting to figure out how I can possibly still smile... And I'm not sure I have really done anything other than pique your curiosity. I don't have the answer, but I do know that it's a lot easier to smile when you don't have a monkey on your back...




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