I know I've been telling you all along about the amazing people I've met while on this little journey of mine. Funny story- at my job, a client we have been working with for a few years, Alala, is big supporter of the Breast Center I go to. The leggings I got in the mail while I was in chemo were from them. I had no idea they were so involved and they didn’t know I had cancer and was being treated at the center they support. After the leggings showed up, we made the connection. I can’t say I’m surprised since this whole year feels like it’s been a series of amazing coincidences and lucky breaks.
Alala is selling a special collection called “Battle All Day” and 30% of the proceeds will go directly to the Breast Center, specifically to support the free therapeutic services offered to patients- the one that helped me (and is still helping me) prepare for and recover from surgery with yoga, reiki, and meditation.
To promote it, they did a little interview with me and it went out in an eblast. Check me out.
And, here’s a link to the Battle All Day collection in case you want to do a little shopping. I have the Ace Seamless Tights in black & rose and I just bought a few other things that got me so psyched to start moving my body again. I’m really inspired by my friend Melissa. She’s the lovely lady who sent me those tights. She also did a Q+A with them here. She was really into fitness before her diagnosis and wasted no time getting right back into it as soon as possible. Like, seriously, ASAP. She was back in the gym as soon as her drains came out. I think it was 6 days after surgery? Push-ups and handstands after a bi-lateral mastectomy? No problem. Amazing. She’s another strong woman in the incredible new club I belong to, who I never would have met if it weren’t for cancer. She documented a lot of her journey on Instagram.
The weather's getting cold and dreary. Fall always makes me a little sad. I'm a summer girl through and through. So, while lots of you are all excited about pumpkins and sweaters, I'm usually mourning the loss of long days, warm nights, and flip flops. I start questioning if I spent enough time outside, got enough sun, went to the beach enough (I didn't), if I took full advantage of the season. I start dreading the cold and the sad, sad day when we all push our clocks back.
This year, Fall marks the anniversary of The Day I Found Out. And, I guess I'm a little extra down because this time, it feels like I missed out on a whole year of my life, not just a few beach days. It makes me think of this thing my sister told me once. Some of you know my sister, LauraLea, is a rockstar. She's a musician and makes a living full time out of it. I don't know too many artists who've managed to support themselves fully on their craft, without some sort of side job to supplement income, but she 100% financially supports herself with her talent (and brains). And, she's not a "struggling artist" either. She owns a house, drives an Audi, and her daughter is in private school. She's a hero to me. (So's my little sister, btw. I have good role models on both sides of me.)
I might have this story wrong. It’s been a while. I remember LL was working full time in corporate sales for a hotel chain. It was a solid job. She was making good money, good benefits, and was able to stay for free at any of their hotels all over the world. She was singing on the side and teaching herself how to play guitar. The job was getting to be less and less important to her while her music started to dominate her spare time. She said one day she was having a conversation with someone. He was saying how he’d never run out of sunsets to watch because they were infinite. She realized immediately how wrong he was. That, in fact, one day we will run out of sunsets. There is a finite number of sunsets that will happen in her lifetime and how many she had left directly corresponded to the number of days she had left on this planet. After her last day on earth, she’ll look back and count all the sunsets that passed while she was here.
In Key West, everyone gathers at the end of the day in Mallory Square to watch the sun set over the water. Sailboats glide back and forth creating these postcard-worthy scenes. When the sun finally dips below the horizon, everyone claps and cheers as if it were a show. It’s beautiful. The first time I went and heard the crowd break out in applause, I thought, “This is what God intended.” He puts on these shows for us every day. Sunrises in the morning. Sunsets at night. Am I watching them? Do I take enough time to appreciate them? Am I grateful enough? If I’m being honest, no, not usually.
Back to LL- She went into work the next day and quit. She had nothing lined up, no idea how she was going to pay rent. She only knew that she couldn’t waste any more time losing days to an unsatisfying job, missing sunsets. By the end of the week, a full-time lead singer position had opened up for a well-established band in the PA area. They came to see her play at the now-closed Abilene on South Street in Philly and she was hired. When you show the universe you’re serious, it will move mountains to meet you where you are. About a year and a half later, she started her own band and ran it like a business. She handpicked her band mates, got sound guys, hired a management company- truly built it from the ground up. LauraLea & Trippfabulous has been alive and kicking for 15 years. So, you know, when LL offers advice, you take it.
Anyway, the whole point was losing days. It feels like I spent a year in bed. That’s an exaggeration, but I definitely lost time. I used to say that about my drinking days I lost a lot of time. I remember when I first got sober, I hated going to sleep. I felt like Rip Van Winkle. I felt like I had finally woken up from years of sleep and I was alive again. I was afraid I’d go to bed and when I woke next, another 10 years would have passed, so afraid of losing more time. Vlad once told me that of everything in this world that can be lost, broken, or taken, the only thing you can never find, mend, or get back is time. It’s the one thing you can truly steal from another person that cannot be replaced.
David and I listen to Dr. Jordan B. Peterson podcasts. They’re really dense, filled with so much information. I say that as a disclaimer in case I got what I’m about to say wrong. This is just a snippet of a much bigger conversation and it’s very sloppily condensed and oversimplified. (If you want the real conversation, listen to his series of lectures on the Psychological Significance of the Biblical Stories. It’s mind-blowing.) One of the things he talks about is how self awareness is understanding mortality and time. In the story of Adam and Eve, when Eve bit the apple, the knowledge we gained was awareness of our own mortality- there is a future and we will die in it. So, now we have the concept of time. He uses zebras grazing as an example. When lions are nearby, in sight, but lying down, the zebras are not afraid. They don’t run until the lions stand up because to an animal that cannot grasp the future, a lion lying down is not a threat. But, we humans know that a lion will stand up eventually. We know it can kill us, so we have to take precautions. We have to prepare. Being kicked out of Eden was not necessarily “punishment,” but a natural progression. We are no longer living on instinct like animals so we can no longer play all day. Now, we have to “toil in the fields.” No more Eden.
And I’m thinking, we’re over here, toiling away for an uncertain future we’ve completely projected- made up in our minds because who really ever knows what’s going to happen. Meanwhile, my sunsets are getting ticked off on some list somewhere, one by one. Maybe that’s why dogs are so awesome. They are always living 100% in the present, no clocks, no calendars.
Speaking of the future, my final implant surgery will be the day before Thanksgiving, which coincidentally is a year to the day I started chemo.
I’m really good at ruining Thanksgiving.