This Infernal Racket | my life, after cancer

A Toronto-based lifestyle blog by a 2x cancer survivor

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Feeling your feelings.

It's so hard to let myself feel my feelings. Detaching and avoiding emotions is easy. It's less painful in the moment. It's also cowardly. I didn't allow myself to feel anything for years. I did not know how to feel anything except hate. I isolated myself from being happy because I thought I did not deserve it. I still think, in my dark moments, that I deserve to be unhappy. It comes from my insecurity that I am never enough for myself and for others. This insecurity was born when I got cancer. It grew. I kept feeding it.

Someone recently said to me, "It's sad that you came so close to dying with your cancer, only to throw your life away and still have no self-respect or dignity. You should get a new therapist because clearly you are not any better and will end up alone." 

That comment (from people who are no longer part of my life) has been on my mind for the last week. Not because I believed it, but because somebody didn't like how I was taking charge by standing up for myself and speaking/living my truth. I was at the point where I was doing what I needed to create safety and set boundaries. These people decided they didn't like it. They wanted me to know that I was worthless. Because I didn't pick them, I picked myself. 

It's funny when you finally stand up to someone and stop letting them walk all over you how their narrative about you changes.

Even though I do not believe those words about myself, when I am in a vulnerable state, the cruelty from them comes back to mind fuck me. I know I am strong. I know I am kind. The problem right now is that I am not strong, I am very sad and confused.

I am trying to take back control – bring the power back to myself – by acknowledging these emotional responses I'm having and working through them instead of burying them. Like I previously did.

Living by the phrase, "it's okay to not be okay" is hard. Dealing with trauma, guilt, loneliness, and heartbreak are some of the worst feelings in the world. 

When I was diagnosed with blood cancer I don't think I ever shed a single tear for myself. During my years of treatment, the only times I can remember crying is when I have a fever and infection. My mom and I drove downtown at 3am to the hospital. I was admitted to urgent care for 2 days, and I BEGGED her to stay with me. I also remember crying when I realized I could not biologically have my own kid. But that is another story for another time. 

MY POINT IS, I think the fact that I'm able to cry means I'm allowing myself to really feel a lot of stuff I tried not to. Feeling means I am human. Feeling means I'm alive. 

I am inexplicably sad. There's probably a little sprinkle of survivor's guilt mixed into all that. I'm giving my feelings space. I know that time does help heal. Healing comes from within. The little things in life help. I am trying to focus on them. And I will be okay :)

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