I had cancer. I had cancer, did the treatment, had bits of my body hacked off and lived to tell the tale. Yes, I am grateful. It’s not like it is in the movies though, or how some celebs would have you believe. There is no parting of the heavens or an Oprah Aha moment that makes all your worries and insecurities magically vanish because you had cancer and now you don’t and you are so eternally happy that you never do anything bad or mean or harmful to yourself or anyone else for the rest of your life because you are just so grateful to be alive. Well, there wasn’t for me. I am happy to be alive and be cancer free, of course I am. I am acutely aware that is not the case for countless others but this post is about me and how I am trying to be honest about how I feel, so I will just stick with that.
I have always hated my body, and because of this I have hated myself. I have a deep envy for those who read this and not get what it feels like, and an even deeper sadness that I don’t know what it feels like to be one of them. I have suffered with a binge eating disorder for as long as I can remember. What I had didn’t even have a name years ago.There was anorexia, bulemia and whatever the hell I had. I knew mine was different and so because of this I felt a huge sense of shame, like I couldn’t even get my eating disorder right! When I felt bad, which was most of the time, I consumed large quantities of food until I physically hurt. I swore I would never do it again, and then I did. Then came the shame and the hate and then for years this was all I knew. Shame, hate and pain. A never ending cycle. Over and over and over and over and over……
I have tried every diet known to mankind. I have a gold card, I am a target member, I have sat in Over Eaters Anonymous meetings, I stopped drinking for 3 years, I have run a marathon, 3 half marathons, countless 10kms. I have drank maple syrup and cayenne pepper, had nothing but slimming shakes for weeks at a time, stopped eating after 6pm, stopped eating more than 3 meals a day, taken diet pills, anti-depressants, every single thing you can possibly think of I have done. To no end. Every single time I have fallen and every single time I have had to claw my way back up off the floor to begin again and every single time it gets just that little bit more difficult to do so.
It is eroding my spirit. It is hurting my soul. It is seeping into every single relationship that I have, this need to be better that I am. This desire to look a different way, be a different way, act a different way. I kill myself with the thought that because I had cancer I should be more grateful, like somehow my cure was wasted on me because I read of others being so much more grateful than I. So much more comfortable in their own skins, so much more happy, evolved, enlightened, skipping off down the yellow brick road when I am stuck under the house that fell out of the sky on top of me and I don’t know how to get out from under it.
Someone that I admire (that’s you Lorraine, btw), suggested that I write down how I am feeling and post it to the page. She has been where I am now and she is not there anymore. She is not here because she kept getting out from under her house, every day she wriggled out, and today she does not wriggle so much because she is no longer stuck. I asked her how many more times must I get back up? How many times must I get out from under my house and she told me until I stop allowing myself to fall, to get stuck, to stay where I am.
I don’t want to be here anymore. It is too lonely under the house when all the people I love are on the yellow brick road and I want so very badly to be with them. Maybe I didn’t get an awakening from the cancer, the kind you see in the movies, but what I did get was an incredible survivor instinct and the ability to really fight hard and maybe that is all I need. I suppose this post is, in a way, a recommitment to myself, witnessed by you. I lost my way. I got stuck somewhere I do wish to be anymore and I am going to fight like hell to get up and stay up this time cause where I am tonight is nowhere near that yellow brick road.