souvenirs

P1000724

This morning I am wearing my breast cancer souvenir t-shirt. It was given to me by the HCMC Cancer Center, along with a frog statue wearing a pink ribbon, when I was 24 years old and newly diagnosed with adenoid cystic carcinoma of the breast. This is a form of cancer that less than 0.03% of the population has gotten over the past 60+ years. So, um, what the fuck?

What I think was really going on was the the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure run had recently ended, and they needed to get rid of pink ribbon shlock. To this day, I hate that stupid pink ribbon, but I still wear the t-shirt because who I am to turn free pajamas?

I started writing a memoir about my experience getting diagnosed with breast cancer at such a young age, and after two years of working on the proposal, realized that if I was ever going to move on with my life and heal, I needed to stop thinking about it all the time. So that’s what I did. I turned down my 15 minutes of fame and opportunity to make a huge impact on people because I needed to keep my sanity. I think this was a very brave thing to do. People like my parents would disagree with me, because if a tree falls in the woods and no one’s around to hear it, you might as well be dead. A life without public recognition is not worth living. This is one of the many reasons why I’m simply done interacting with assholes. Too draining and a waste of precious time.

I’ve been thinking a lot about narcissism lately, what with that lunatic running for president and all. I’ve been thinking about how my mother said if her own cancer came back it would be my brother’s fault, and how incredibly pointless it is to hope that people full of bile would ever purge themselves of their hatred and misery.

It’s important to have compassion, but it’s also vital to know when to step away, to know when to throw away the breast cancer frog that serves no purpose whatsoever, when to detach from the things and people that are no longer a part of who you are. It’s not easy to get rid of 36 years of verbal abuse seared into your psyche, but you can do it. I don’t have to be defined by my own illness or anyone else’s. Neither do you.

Likewise, this country does not have to be defined by a narcissistic demagogue. We are better than that. We deserve to surround ourselves with good people, loving people, people who don’t preach hatred, threaten, lie, or hit with words. I believe I already said this in a previous post, but if you’re 1) going to vote for Trump, or 2) not going to vote, or 3) voting for a 3rd party candidate, you’re an idiot. You can’t choose the family you’re born into or the illnesses you get, but you can choose, as an adult, to be around sane, safe people who have your best interests at heart.

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